The Code of Xia

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The code of xia (俠) can be likened to the Anglo-Saxon myth of Robin Hood. The hero of a wuxia story keeps his honor by upholding justice and helping the poor, just as Robin Hood robs the rich to help the poor. A typical follower of xia has considerable martial arts abilities that are used not just for personal gain, but employed to achieve the greater good. However, just as Robin Hood is an outlaw, the swordsman may not necessarily submit to higher authority. When part of a larger group, the code of Xia requires the group to maintain social justice within the best of the group’s abilities.

The code of xia is composed of two main virtues. Yi (義; righteousness) and xin (信; honor). The code also emphasizes the importance of repaying benefactors after having received deeds of grace (恩) or favor from others, as well as seeking vengeance (仇) to bring villains to justice. However, the importance of vengeance is controversial, as a number of wuxia works stress Buddhist ideals, which includes forgiveness, compassion and a prohibition on killing. In this ideal, it assert that grudge and feeling of vengeance only brings harm, and forgiveness to mistakes in the past is the greatest wisdom. Past is already in past, and vengeance can not bring back the loseses in past, it only provide some ill satisfaction. Therefore, to learn lessons from past mistakes and to ensure to not repeat them are the most virtuous way.

In the jianghu, most fighters are expected to be loyal to their martial arts teacher or shifu (師父, sifu in Cantonese pronunciation). This gave rise to the formation of several complex trees of teacher-student (master-apprentice) relations as well as the various sects such as Shaolin and Wudang. If there are any disputes between fighters, they will choose the honorable way of settling their issues through fighting in duels. This is similar to the one-on-one sword duels adopted by knights in medieval Europe. Only two fighters are involved in each duel and they are usually of the same level or status if they belong to any sect. If the one side outnumber then the other, or he challage to low level fighter, it shall be deemed dishonor; this is generally done by evil fighters.

But sometimes, fighter challange to more than one opponent or high level fighter to prove himself or for gaining glory and fame. The goal here is to prove and confirm his own martial arts ability and level to everyone, and become best fighter and,or famous.

Source; wiki


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