Yue Nü Jian (the sword of the Yue maiden)

II found an interesting resource yesterday, Wuxiapedia. Wuxia is a genre of martial arts novels. Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon the book. I’ve been reading Yue Nü Jian, by Jin Yong. It tells the story of a war between the states of Yue and Wu during the Spring and Autumn period. Apparently, Yue was overmatched by the armys of Wu, led by Sun Tse (author of The Art of War). Their cause seems hopeless until the chief advisor to the king of Yue meets a young peasant girl, named A Qing, with superhuman sword skills. The advisor begins courting the girl in the hopes that she will lead him to her teacher, whom he hopes can teach the armies of Yue. Well, the ‘master’ isn’t quite what he expected. I don’t want to give anything away, but legend credits A Qing’s sword method as the basis of all the internal styles! Definitely worth reading!

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~ by aedhcarrick on September 12, 2009.

8 Responses to “Yue Nü Jian (the sword of the Yue maiden)”

  1. I like the fact that she’s doing battle with a white ape. How weird is that?

  2. I push hands with giant white apes all the time!

  3. What is the symbolism of the white ape? Hanuman, the monkey god?

  4. Oops, Hanuman is the Hindu god. I meant Sun Wukong, the monkey king.

  5. I couldn’t find a lot of info, though what I did find is very adamant about it not being related to the Monkey King. I found this on a chen web site.

    Information on “ white ape”: A white animal in Chinese mythology has lived a long time and has gained the wisdom and knowledge that nature has to teach. There is a famous story about a white ape teaching swordsmanship(swordswomanship?) to young woman having status like a princess. She then became a great practitioner. Some of the white ape terminology naming of postures comes from this story. This white ape differs from the martial art style tongbei (tong – ape, bei – white) of Northern China, which is named for its cimean limb movements.

    The part of note is ‘gained the wisdom and knowledge that nature has to teach.’ I think the white ape in the story is a ‘hint’ if you will, of where to look for the ‘true source’.

  6. In “Taiji Ancestors”, Douglas Wile quotes this passage of the book as the first “totally articulated” pre-theory of internal styles. I recommend you read his book, it’s chock full of interesting stuff, and makes fascinating reading about what the evolution of various styles in China has been.

    I never bought “too much” (just a little) into the division between internal-external, and Tongbei is one of those styles that blurs the line, so to speak. The Bayuan (White Ape) of Tongbei is supposed to be a Daoist hermit who was transformed to atone for some sin, if I recall well (I’ll check it out).

    By the way, shouldn’t it be “simian”?

  7. From Wikipedia:

    “….Gibbons in the traditional Chinese culture

    The Sinologist Robert van Gulik concluded that gibbons were widespread in Central and Southern China until at least the Song Dynasty, and furthermore, based on an analysis of references to primates in Chinese literature and their portrayal in Chinese paintings, that the Chinese word yuán (猿) referred specifically to gibbons until they were extirpated throughout most of the country due to habitat destruction (circa 14th century). In modern usage, however, yuán is a generic word for ape. Early Chinese writers viewed the “noble” gibbons, gracefully moving high in the treetops, as the “gentlemen” (jūnzǐ, 君子) of the forests, in contrast to the greedy macaques, attracted by human food. The Taoists ascribed occult properties to gibbons, believing them to be able to live a thousand years and to turn into humans.[8]
    Gibbon figurines as old as from the 3-4th century BCE (the Zhou Dynasty) have been found in China. Later on, gibbons became a popular object for Chinese painters, especially during the Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty, when Yì Yuánjí and Mùqī Fǎcháng excelled in painting these apes. From Chinese cultural influence, the Zen motif of the “gibbon grasping at the reflection of the moon in the water” became popular in Japanese art as well, even though gibbons have never occurred naturally in Japan.[9]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbon

  8. source found.
    Yuenü = Yue lady; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuen%C3%BC

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