Skills and Abilities

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The martial arts in wuxia stories are based on factual wushu techniques and other Chinese martial arts. However, the mastery of such skills are highly exaggerated in wuxia stories to fictitious and superhuman levels of achievement and prowess. For example, ordinary blows such as kicks or punches can have devastating effects on characters in wuxia fiction, and certain characters who are formidable martial artists can even project streams of energy at opponents to knock them down or stun them. The projection of these energy streams and their impacts can even lead to explosions.

The following is a list of skills and abilities a typical fighter or martial artist in a wuxia story might possess:

  • Martial arts (Kung fu, WuShu– fighting techniques in a codified sequence called zhaoshi (招式) which are based on actual martial arts. Most common and appliyed skills in all martial arts and Wuxia movies.

  • Weapons and objects – combatants use a wide range of weapons in combat. The most commonly used ones are the dao (broadsword or saber), jian (sword), gun (staff), and qiang (spear). Everyday objects such as abaci, benches, fans, ink brushes, smoking pipes, sewing needles, or various musical instruments are also used by characters as weapons as well.

  • Qinggong – literally means “the ability of lightness”. Characters can move swiftly and lightly at superhuman speeds. They can glide on water surfaces, scale high walls and mount trees. Qinggong is based on real Chinese martial arts. Some real-life martial artists such as those who practice baguazhang, train in qinggong for years by attaching heavy weights onto their legs. However, its use is highly exaggerated in wuxia stories and films in which characters can circumvent gravity and literally fly.

  • Neijin, Neigong or Neili (内力) – the ability to build up and cultivate mystical “inner energy” (qi) and utilise it for several purposes. Characters use their inner energy for attack and defense purposes when combined with their martial arts. They may also use this form of energy to heal internal wounds or even purge venom from their bodies after being poisoned, or use it to attain superhuman stamina. In the context of wuxia stories, this kind of energy is a prerequisite for practice of qinggong, dianxue (dim mak) and other superhuman feats of speed and strength. The more neili one has, the better one can perform those mentioned feats. Neili is gained by many years of special breathing and physical exercises, consuming (sometimes accidentally or unknowingly) rare herbs, fruits or other substances of legend that are beneficial, or in some cases by deliberate transference from one to another, such as master to student. Neili can be used as a source of power for mystical skills such as projection of energy (i.e., energy blasts), toughening the body to take strikes, increasing physical strength to superhuman level, and other paranomal effects. Fighters who possess these powers draw them from the use of qi originating from the body rather than black magic and wizardry however.

  • Dianxue (simplified Chinese: 点穴; traditional Chinese: 點穴) these stories are most likely the source for the Dim Mak (點脈) and are based, in part, on the real-world techniques of Chin Na (擒拿). Characters use these techniques to kill, paralyze, immobilize or control opponents by attacking their acupressure points (xue 穴) with the bare hand or weapons. A victim may be immobilized for hours after being hit on the acupressure points. Such techniques may be used for healing purposes, when excessive bleeding may be halted when certain acupressure points are pressed. Real-life martial artists do use such techniques in martial arts to paralyze or stun their opponents. Their effectiveness is highly exaggerated in wuxia stories.

In wuxia stories, characters attain the above skills and abilities by devoting themselves to diligent study and practice. The instructions to mastering these skills are often found in “hidden (secret) manuals” known as miji (秘笈). In some stories, specific skills can be learned by spending several years in seclusion with a master or gathering together with a group of fighters to assist each other . (Source)

There is also a significant difference in these talents and skills from other cultures or litratures (esspecially western); these talents and skills is not won coincidencely, they are earned with hardworking. Opposite from super heros from modern western comics, Wuxia heros don’t get the powers (either natural or super natural) like mutated coincidencely or inherited family wealth for getting these skills and abilities. They learn the technics by the master or self teaching, then after lots of paractice, they can get some super-natural powers thanks to their hardworking.


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