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Sunday Word: Wuxia

wu·xia [ˈwo͝oˈSHyä/]:
origin: (770 BC) Chinese; = "military" + xiá= "knight errant"

noun or adjective|
Are you a fan of the popular animated show Legend of Korra, or perhaps Hong Kong films, or Korean period dramas? Then perhaps you're already more familiar with this word than you realize. It may also interest people who enjoy fantasy such as Lord of The Rings, the outfits and lands may be different, but topics like sword & sorcery, and good vs. evil, are all delightfully similar.

The direct translation of wuxia is "martial hero", a type of warrior, which can apply to males & females, as well as the entire adventure & chivalry genre that such characters appear within. I suppose it makes sense then that Marvel artist Carmine di Giandomenico had the inspiration to re-vamp the hero Longshot in such garb (despite his lack of Asian origin).

The true origin of these real-life knights stemmed from clashing feudal systems and evolved, as well as re-evolved, much like the Samurai of Japan. Confucianism saw them as a threat to social harmony and as a challenge to Han authority during the reign of Emperor Liu Bang. Many retreated, became obscure and were useful leaders among peasants (though uneducated beyond warrior skills). A new wuxia arose though, in the form of Shaolin monks, a much-needed force of justice in the countryside where bandits and invading barbarians caused great suffering.


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"He is honest in words, effective in action, faithful in keeping promises, fearless in offering his own life to free the righteous from bondage." - Sima Qian

"He treasures the state, friendship, duty, promises, kindness, vengeance, honor, and righteousness more than his own life." - Liang Qichao
Tags: adjective, chinese, noun, religion, w, wordsmith: theidolhands
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