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|Created by||Jin Yong|
|Appearances||The Return of the Condor Heroes,
The Smiling, Proud Wanderer,
The Deer and the Cauldron
|Nickname(s)||"Sword Devil" (劍魔)|
|Skills and abilities|
|Unarmed combat skills||Unarmed Swordplay|
|Armed combat skills||Nine Swords of Dugu,
Heavy Sword Technique
|Weapons||(four unnamed swords)|
Dugu Qiubai is a fictional character whose name appears in three wuxia novels by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). 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.
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?]
||This section possibly contains original research. (March 2010)|
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 events of the novels took place. He is briefly mentioned in The Deer and the Cauldron.
The Return of the Condor Heroes
In this novel, set in the late 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 the latter lost his 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. Although it lacks the fancy and stylish movements of typical swordplay styles, it is more effective than the most complicated form of sword attacks. 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 fights. 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) is featured in this novel. The protagonist Linghu Chong learns this 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 custom form of the swordplay.
The Deer and the Cauldron
In a very brief inner monologue, Chengguan, a very knowledgeable, yet naive, elder Shaolin monk ponders about two powerful swordmen in the past who performed swordplay without defined stances - Linghu Chong and Dugu Qiubai.
Nine Swords of Dugu
Created by Dugu Qiubai, 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 bare-handed attacks.
|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 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 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 utilise 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 defence 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 inner energy reserves. It is not clearly explained in the novel on how this stance actually works.|
Tomb of Swords
"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 
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!"
- The first sword (present)
- "My first sword was so sharp, strong and fierce that none could withstand it. With it in hand, I strive for mastery by challenging all the heroes of the Northern Plains in my teenage years."
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."
Appearances in media
Dugu Qiubai appears as a female character in Wong Kar-wai's 1994 film 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-screenwriter. In this film, Dugu Qiubai (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.
- An attack move that targets an opponent's acupuncture points
- (Chinese) Jian Mo Dugu Qiubai on Baidu Baike
- (Chinese) 独孤求败：孤独天才的形象活脱如画 - extract about Dugu Qiubai from Rankings of Characters in Jin Yong's Works (金庸人物排行榜) by Tan Xianmao (覃贤茂)