What Makes a Wuxia Hero? We sat down and put together a list about what qualities are the most essential to us when it comes to good Wuxia heroes, or heroines. A hero does not have to have all these traits, and they may have many other good qualities besides the ones we picked out. What qualities do you look for in your heroes?
1. Altruism – caring for others even when you must risk yourself to do so; helping someone without reward is morally right, helping someone and refusing any reward is altruistic.
2. Justice – doing what is right even when those you care for are in the wrong; an unassailable sense of fair play.
3. Individualism – not following the conventions of society, but instead making your own path.
4. Loyalty – having faith in those that believe in you; standing by your friends, even when your family tries to tear you apart.
5. Courage – knowing that the dangers involved may be more than you can handle, knowing you may be risking your life, but doing what’s right regardless.
6. Truthfulness – you say what you mean, and mean what you say; you keep your promises, and will not betray someone’s trust.
7. Honor and Fame – you want others to think highly of you; you want to be renowned, but only for your good deeds and character.
8. Generosity – living humbly while giving sacrificially; for your friends, and those in need, “what’s mine is yours.”
Essential Wuxia Checklist. We've also put together a list of our favorite essential elements of Wuxia stories! Again, a Wuxia story does not have to do all of these to be a good story, and similarly there are many other elements that are commonly found in Wuxia stories; these are just the parts we felt were essential. Take a look, I bet there’s a lot more Wuxia-inspired stories out there than you'd think:
1. Everyone can be a hero! Male or female, young or old, able-bodied or disabled, everyone can be a Wuxia hero. You don’t have to be a Chosen One, you don’t have to be born with special powers.
2. Empowerment & self-discovery – Our heroes work through internal hardships to overcome mental obstacles and social hardships. They realize their potential to be a hero through the acceptance of their own selves.
3. Hero constantly improves – By overcoming external trials, our heroes work step-by-step towards their goals. Even if they fall, they pick themselves up and keep going.
4. Weapons & martial arts – Whether with a sword, a fan, a chain whip, or your fists and feet, sometimes you need to take a stand for what is right.
5. Chi or life energy – This force is within everyone, and with training it can be used to do incredible things. Wuxia heroes can use it to walk on water, or fly across mountaintops.
6. Cultivation & sorcery – By honing your inner energy, you can reach godhood. Or you can summon demons, whatever floats your boat.
7. Deals with hidden worlds & secret societies – Sometimes you need to withdraw from the world to train, and sometimes you need to defeat a secret group trying to take over the world.
In the coming weeks, we are going to be reviewing some popular modern movies and TV series to see how much they overlap with these elements of Wuxia. Please send us your suggestions on which titles we should do, and take a look at the badges below:
James J.Y. Liu. The Chinese Knight-Errant. London, 1967.