Dugu Qiubai

Dugu Qiubai
Dugu Qiubai
Created by Jin Yong
Novel appearances The Return of the Condor Heroes,
The Smiling, Proud Wanderer,
The Deer and the Cauldron
Nickname(s) "Sword Devil" (劍魔)
Gender Male
Disciples Indirect disciples:
Yang Guo,
Feng Qingyang,
Linghu Chong
Skills and abilities
Unarmed combat skills "Unarmed Swordplay"
Weapons Four unnamed swords
Dugu Qiubai
Traditional Chinese 獨孤求敗
Simplified Chinese 独孤求败

Dugu Qiubai is a fictional character appearing in three of Jin Yong's wuxia novels. He is considered to be one of the most powerful characters in Jin Yong's wuxia world. He is nicknamed "Sword Devil" (劍魔) to reflect his prowess in and devotion to the practice of swordplay. He attains the philosophical level of "swordsmanship without a sword", which means that he uses swordplay techniques in combat without the physical existence of a sword.[citation needed]



Dugu's surname, Dugu (獨孤), is made up of two Chinese characters that literally mean "single and lonely" when placed together. His given name, "Qiubai" (求敗), literally means "to seek defeat". His full name is thus roughly translated as "The Loner Who Seeks Defeat". It represents Dugu's status as an invincible swordsman who is haunted by solitude as no one can defeat or equal him in swordplay.[original research?]


Dugu never made any appearances at all in any of the three novels. He is merely mentioned by name only as he lived in an age long before the historical settings of the novels. In The Deer and the Cauldron, Dugu is only briefly mentioned.

The Return of the Condor Heroes

In this novel, set in the later years of the Song Dynasty, Yang Guo inherits Dugu's "Heavy Sword Technique". Yang encounters the Condor, a giant bird-like creature that once accompanied Dugu. The Condor saves Yang after Yang lost his right arm and leads him to Dugu's Tomb of Swords. Yang learns the technique with the help of the Condor and uses the Heavy Iron Sword to practise the skill.

The "Heavy Sword Technique" has a rigorous requirement on inner energy. It emphasises simple swings and moves accompanied by potent inner energy exertion.[original research?] Although it lacks the fancy and stylish movements of typical swordplay styles, it is more effective than the most complicated form of sword attacks.[original research?] When Yang was learning this technique, he commented that average swords would be broken immediately when he channels his inner energy into the sword during swordfights. The sword's weight would also boost the power of his swings and thrusts. Yang mastered the inner energy technique used by Dugu and fulfilled the requirement.

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer

Dugu's swordplay technique Nine Swords of Dugu (獨孤九劍) was featured in this novel. The protagonist, Linghu Chong, learns this swordplay technique from the recluse swordsman Feng Qingyang.

This form of swordplay has nine forms, each of which can be used to defeat and overcome a certain type of attack. It is based on the principle of "no pattern can follow any other pattern". One is unable to predict (and counter correspondingly) a move which does not follow any pattern or sequence. Theoretically, the forms of the Nine Swords of Dugu do not follow any fixed sequence or pattern and hence the moves are all unpredictable.

The nine forms of the Nine Swords of Dugu are all offensive moves. They revolve around the principle of "defend oneself by forcing an enemy to defend himself". In simple terms, it means that those moves are used to attack an enemy and force him to take defensive moves, thus the practitioner does not need to defend himself from the enemy as he is attacking. Although each move is just one stance, it has endless variations. The more the swordsman learns, the more powerful his moves become as he comprehends the connections between the stances. The last three stances are the most difficult ones to master.

The key to mastering these techniques is to comprehend them and not simply rigidly memorising them. Once the essence of the swordplay is grasped, the swordsman can use it in endless forms and variations, hence the swordplay is said to take no fixed sequence or pattern. During combat, the less the swordsman remembers, the less restricted he is by the original stances. He is thus able to use his own customised form of the swordplay.

Nine Swords of Dugu

The "Nine Swords of Dugu" (獨孤九劍) are nine independent sword stances created to overpower all sorts of weapons, including swords, spears, clubs, whips, and arrows, as well as barehand attacks.

Nine stances

# Name Description
1 General Index Stance (總訣式) Has variations to implement the General Index Script
2 Sword-defeating Stance (破劍式) Used to counter swordplay styles from any sect
3 Saber-defeating Stance (破刀式) Used to counter single-blade weapons such as the broadsword, willow-leaf cutlass, demon-beheading saber, large cleaver and pudao.
4 Spear-defeating Stance (破槍式) Used to counter pole-arm weapons such as the spear, halberd, staff, wolf-head cudgel and monk's spade.
5 Mace-defeating Stance (破鞭式) Used to counter short weapons such as the club, mace, dianxue[1] peg, tonfa, Emei piercer, dagger, axe, octagonal hammer and awl.
6 Whip-defeating Stance (破索式) Used to counter chain weapons such as the whip, three section staff, rope dart, chain whip and fishing net.
7 Palm-defeating Stance (破掌式) Used to counter unarmed styles of hand-to-hand combat that utilize the fists, legs, fingers and palms. The stance include techniques to overcome boxing and grappling, joint manipulation and dianxue.
8 Arrow-defeating Stance (破箭式) Used in defense against missiles and projectile weapons. The first stage of mastering this stance involves the practitioner learning how to identify the type of missile by listening. Upon mastery, he is capable of blocking the projectiles with his sword, and may redirect the missiles back to the enemy.
9 Qi-defeating Stance (破氣式) Used to counter opponents who have strong internal energy reserves. It is not clearly explained in the novel on how this stance actually works.

Tomb of Swords

Dugu's final resting place is known as the Tomb of Swords. In The Return of the Condor Heroes, the Condor leads Yang Guo to the Tomb. Yang reads Dugu's personal statement at the latter's tomb:

"Having roamed the jianghu for more than 30 years, I have killed all my foes and defeated all champions. Under Heaven no one can be my equal. Without any other choice, I could only retreat and live in seclusion in this deep valley, with only a Condor as my companion. Alas, all my life, I have sought a match but in vain. Unbearable loneliness is my destiny." - Sword Devil Dugu Qiubai [2]

Yang read this from the Tomb of Swords:

"The Sword Devil Dugu Qiubai has become the invincible and unchallenged swordsman under Heaven, hence he buried his swords here. The heroes of the realm bow before me. Now, my Long Sword is of no use anymore. The agony!"[3]

The first sword (present)
"My first sword was so sharp, strong and fierce that none could withstand it. With it in hand, I strived for mastery by challenging all the heroes of the Northern Plains in my teenage years."[4]
The second sword (not present, represented by a wooden tablet)
"My second sword was violet in hue and flexible in motion. I used it in my 20s. With it, I have mistakenly wounded men of righteousness. It turned out to be a weapon of doom that caused me to feel remorseful endlessly. I cast it into a deep canyon."[5]
The third sword (present)
"My third sword was heavy and blunt. The uttermost cunning is based on simplicity. With it, I roamed all lands under Heaven unopposed in my 30s."[6]
The fourth sword (represented by a wooden sword)
"After the age of 40, I was no longer hampered by any weapon. Grass, trees, bamboos and rocks can all be my swords. Since then, I have developed my skills further, such that gradually I can win battles without reaching for weapons."[7]

Media appearances


  • Dugu Qiubai appears as a female character in Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time. The film is meant to be a prequel to The Legend of the Condor Heroes. The character's creator, Jin Yong, received credit as a co-writer of the screenplay. In this film, Dugu, renamed to Murong Yan, has a severe split personality of both genders. She gets involved in a love relationship with Huang Yaoshi.


  • In 1990, Hong Kong's TVB aired the television series Kim-mo Tuk-ku Kau-pai (劍魔獨孤求敗), featuring the life story of Dugu Qiubai. Felix Wong played the titular character, who was also known as "Lam Hong" (林康) in the series.[8]


  1. ^ An attack move that targets an opponent's acupuncture points
  2. ^ 縱橫江湖三十餘載,殺盡仇寇奸人,敗盡英雄豪傑,天下更無抗手,無可奈何,惟隱居深谷,以紫薇為妻,以雕為友。嗚呼,生平求一敵手而不可得,誠寂寥難堪也。
  3. ^ 劍魔獨孤求敗既無敵於天下,乃埋劍於斯。嗚呼!群雄束手,長劍空利,不亦悲夫!
  4. ^ 凌厲剛猛,無堅不摧,弱冠前以之與河朔群雄爭鋒。
  5. ^ 紫薇軟劍,三十歲前所用,誤傷義士不祥,悔恨無已,乃棄之深谷。
  6. ^ 重劍無鋒,大巧不工。四十歲前恃之橫行天下。
  7. ^ 四十歲後,不滯於物,草木竹石均可為劍。自此精修,漸進於無劍勝有劍之境。
  8. ^ Baidu Baike (Chinese)


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of The Return of the Condor Heroes characters — The following is a list of characters from Jin Yong s wuxia novel The Return of the Condor Heroes. Contents 1 The Condor 2 Main characters 3 Supporting characters 3.1 …   Wikipedia

  • Yang Guo — The fictional character Yang Guo (zh tsp|t=楊過|s=杨过|p=Yáng Guò) is the protagonist in the 1959 Chinese wuxia novel The Return of the Condor Heroes by Jinyong.Yang Guo came to epitomize rebellious youth. His love affair with his teacher Xiaolongnü… …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Hua Sect — Traditional Chinese 華山派 Simplified Chinese 华山派 Transcriptions …   Wikipedia

  • List of The Smiling, Proud Wanderer characters — The following is a list of characters from Jin Yong s wuxia novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer. Contents 1 Five Mountain Sword Sects Alliance (五嶽劍派) 1.1 Mount Hua Sect (華山派) 1.1.1 …   Wikipedia

  • Ashes of Time — Film poster Traditional 東邪西毒 Simplified 东邪西毒 …   Wikipedia

  • List of fictional swords — In Arthurian fiction [ thumb|left|ArthurExcalibur).] Excalibur is featured in every tale of Arthur or Merlin ever written, in some form or another. The examples below list two of the more distinctive takes on Arthurian swords. Bernard Cornwell:… …   Wikipedia

  • Zhang Wuji — Created by Jin Yong Novel appearances The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber Information Alias(es) Xie Wuji (謝無忌) Zeng A niu (曾阿牛) …   Wikipedia

  • Condor Trilogy — Traditional Chinese 射鵰三部曲 Simplified Chinese 射雕三部曲 Transcript …   Wikipedia

  • List of characters in Condor Trilogy — This article contains a list of characters that have appeared in Jin Yong s Condor Trilogy .= Legend of the Condor Heroes = * Bao Xiruo (包惜弱) * Chen Xuanfeng(陳玄風) * Duan Tiande (段天德) * Duan Zhixing/Reverend Yideng (段智興/一灯大师) * Feng Heng (馮衡) *… …   Wikipedia

  • Mu Nianci — Created by Jin Yong Novel appearances The Legend of the Condor Heroes Information Gender Female Date of Birth …   Wikipedia