What is Wuxia?
It might sound unfamiliar, but Wuxia has influenced contemporary pop culture's most impactful stories from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to The Matrix to Star Wars.
Wǔxiá which literally means martial hero in Chinese, is the name given to the thousand year old literary tradition that encompasses Chinese martial arts, philosophy, virtue, history, romance, poetry and legends.
In recent time, the cultural and literary tradition spawned the cinematic genre which most people know it by. Wuxia is a martial arts fantasy genre of romanticism and poeticism from the East. It is the realm of the outsider, the wandering hero, who is compelled by circumstance to stand against injustice and champion the common person.
While stylized and fantastic feats in unique Kung Fu combat is a major component of this genre, as symbolized by the word Wu (martial), it is grounded by the word Xia (knight errant-hero) which speaks to the aspiration of the genre toward virtue and compassion exemplified by those who live by this tradition.
What is the Importance of Wuxia?
Aside from being one the world’s oldest and most popular story genres that is deeply integral to Chinese culture itself, Wǔxiá is an ode to a noble archetype of the 俠 Xia, the selfless warrior-hero who has first mastered self, and then standing up for justice through action that transcends cultures. This is evocative of a deep desire we all have for heroism, mastery, adventure, meaning, service and victory in our own lives.
For Immortal, Wuxia offers a resonant calling for our time and generation where meaning is missing from much of our popular entertainment.
"'Wu' means martial arts, which signifies action, 'Xia' conveys chivalry. Wuxia. Say it gently... 'whooshah'... and it's like a breath of serenity embracing you. Say it with force, 'WuSHA!', and you can feel its power."
— Samuel L. Jackson, "The Art of Action: Martial Arts in the Movies"