Wuxia

What is a Wuxia Story?

Simply put Wuxia, on the surface, to a Westerner's eyes, is a martial arts set of stories that take place in ancient China. The heroes in the stories possess exceptional martial arts skills, bordering on paranormal. Unfortunately that view is finite and gives the impression of one fight after another and not much else happening.

Broken down into its two parts the word: Wu = Martial, armed. The second part, Xia = chivalrous, hero etc. Thus martial arts hero. There are many different types of Wuxia stories; from wandering heroes to settled men and women.

 

The stories take place in the Jianghu which translates to rivers and lakes. But, not physical "rivers and lakes." It is more of a concept of being away from the political structure of the land. (It begs further study, this is a "nutshell" explanation.)

There is so much more than a wandering fighter in a Wuxia story. There can be love and romance, revenge and redemption, family loyalty and betrayal, side quests of side quests, brotherhood and enemies, etc. 

From what I've learned (which is an ongoing process and, I feel, woefully minimal) Wuxia stories were first developed roughly 2,000 years ago in China but weren't really called "Wuxia" until the early 1900's. The 1950's and '60's saw a resurgence and with the popularity of cdramas are experiencing a new resurgence, both filmed and written, with serialization adding its own new twists as it captures new audiences worldwide.

Bright Morn, as I call it, is inspired by Wuxia, but I am, after all, a Westerner so the stories do lean a tad toward Xianxia (Wuxia with a little extra, click on the word for a link) and they do have Western influences. I am not that yet steeped in China's history to be able to divest myself completely of my own heritage. I continue studying the genre and relaying how I interpret a great deal of what I read and watch, so I encourage you to do the same and check out the links below.

I try to remain as true to the concept of Wuxia as possible and I do incorporate small customs, names, and a variety of other features I have learned in my meager, and ongoing studies.

In these troubled times across the world we need heroes and for me, Chinese Wuxia provides them, whether I read, watch or write about them.

 

You can find Wuxia film and TV on Rakuten , Netflix, Prime and other channels. To read more stories, classic and new, look under Wuxia at your library, favorite book stores or online booksellers.

Here are some sites for more study that are basic, and I encourage you, if you're interested, to find more. I'd love to hear about them.

Please look into the following:

First and foremost, author's JF Lee's comprehensive explanation can be found at JF Lee Wuxia. This is a link direct to his What is Wuxia page and I urge you to check out his other pages with his books, blogs etc. 

China Fetching

Yilin Wang, author article

Immortal Mountain