|Created by||Jin Yong|
|Appearances||The Legend of the Condor Heroes,
The Return of the Condor Heroes
|Nickname(s)||"Northern Beggar" (北丐),
"Nine Fingered Divine Beggar" (九指神丐)
|Alias(es)||"Old Beggar" (老叫化),
|Skills and abilities|
|Neigong||Nine Yin Manual skills|
|Unarmed combat skills||Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms,
|Armed combat skills||Dog Beating Staff Technique,
Rain of Petals
|Weapons||Dog Beating Staff|
|Literal meaning||Grandpa Hong Qi|
Hong Qigong is a fictional character in the wuxia novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes and its sequel The Return of the Condor Heroes, both written by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). Best known for his most powerful martial arts (the 'Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms' and the 'Dog Beating Staff Technique'), Hong is the chief of the Beggars' Sect and the "Northern Beggar" of the Five Greats. He is nicknamed "Nine Fingered Divine Beggar" after he severs one of his fingers to remind himself to be more time conscious as he has once failed a mission after overindulgence in fine cuisine. Hong plays a supporting role in the first novel by imparting his skills to Guo Jing and Huang Rong, and the latter succeeds him as the Beggars' Sect's chief. Although he appears as a happy-go-lucky old beggar who idles his time away, he actually uses his skills to help those in need and perform chivalrous deeds.
The Legend of the Condor Heroes
Little is known of Hong's past, except that he once mentioned that he was a slave of Jurchen officials in the Jin Empire before he joined the Beggars' Sect. He cut off his right forefinger in remorse after failing a mission, which cost a righteous hero's life, because of his overindulgence in fine cuisine.
Hong makes his first appearance in the novel during Guo Jing and Huang Rong's first adventure. Huang is preparing food and the fragrant scent titillates Hong's senses. Hong appears and asks to taste the food. Huang examines his physical appearance closely and sees his Dog Beating Staff and missing finger, which leads her to conclude that he is the "Northern Beggar".
Huang asks Hong to teach Guo martial arts, and in return, she prepares fine cuisine every day for him. Hong succumbs to the temptation of delicious food and stays for almost a month with them. During that period of time, Hong teaches Guo his 'Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms'. He was initially suspicious of Huang Rong when he recognises her as the daughter of his rival Huang Yaoshi. He was reluctant to teach her martial arts but eventually imparts the 'Carefree Fist' to her.
Hong leaves them after that and meets them again during their encounter with Ouyang Ke. The lecherous Ouyang was attempting to kidnap Cheng Yaojia and rape her but Guo, Huang and members of the Beggars' Sect save her. Hong helps them drive away Ouyang. Hong formally accepts Guo and Huang as his students and imparts the full set of the 'Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms' to Guo. Hong also teaches Huang the 'Rain of Petals' skill.
Hong sets foot on Peach Blossom Island later and intervenes in the contest between Guo Jing and Ouyang Ke. Huang Yaoshi allows Hong, Guo and Zhou Botong to leave Peach Blossom Island later on a damaged ship. The ship sinks in the middle of the sea but the trio are rescued by Ouyang Feng, whose ship coincidentally sails past the wreck. On board, Ouyang Feng uses all sorts of means to force Hong and Guo to hand over the Nine Yin Manual. However, they deliberately wrote a fake copy of the manual (with verses written in reverse manner) for him, in hope that he will be weakened after practising the skills wrongly.
Hong and Ouyang start fighting and the former was poisoned when the latter used snake venom on him, and the ship sank. Guo Jing and Huang Rong managed to rescue Hong and they settle on a nearby island. The Ouyangs also set foot on the island and the five of them are stranded there. Hong uses all his inner energy to heal himself by purging the poison from his body, but loses his powers in the process.
Hong decides to pass his position as the Beggars' Sect's chief to Huang Rong and teaches her the 'Dog Beating Staff Technique'. When Hong, Guo and Huang manage to leave the island, Hong follows them on their adventures together with Zhou Botong. They venture into the palace, where Hong says he wants to taste imperial cuisine again. When he meets his students again, Guo and Huang now have a better understanding of the Nine Yin Manual and they pass their knowledge to him to help him recover faster. Hong is briefly mentioned again in the scene on Mount Hua before the novel ends.
The Return of the Condor Heroes
Hong makes a brief appearance in the sequel. He has regained his powers after losing them earlier in the first novel, and continues to roam the jianghu as a carefree old beggar hunting for culinary delights. He meets Yang Guo on Mount Hua and is impressed with the young man's chivalric nature. He also runs into his old rival Ouyang Feng there.
Hong and Ouyang engage each other in a battle again, which lasted four days. The fight is only interrupted when Yang comes at intervals to serve them meals. The animosity between the two rivals is too strong for them to bear and they continue to pit their inner energies against each other for a full day. Both of them suffer from exhaustion but are unwilling to back down to uphold their ego. They decide to use Yang, who has been an observer for the past few days, as an intermediate. Hong and Ouyang teach Yang their respective skills and ask Yang to perform for each other to see.
Hong teaches Yang the 'Dog Beating Staff Technique'. Ouyang had apparently lost after Yang performed the last stance 'No Dogs Under Heaven'. Ouyang spends the following night thinking of a counter move and the next morning he asks Yang to perform in front of Hong. Hong is shocked when he sees that Ouyang has managed to overcome his most powerful move. Hong finally realises that there will be no eventual victor between him and Ouyang. He laughs hysterically and embraces his rival in defeat. At the same time, Ouyang seems to have recovered from his insanity as he finally recognises Hong. The two of them die together amidst laughter and forgotten past feuds. Yang buries them side by side on Mount Hua.
Martial arts and skills
- 'Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms' (降龍十八掌) is the most powerful of all external martial arts mentioned in the novels. The skill is created based on the principles in the I Ching.
- 'Dog Beating Staff Technique' (打狗棒法) is a set of 36 styles of staff techniques. The skill is only known to the Beggars' Sect's chief and passed down from each chief to his/her successor.
- 'Carefree Fist' (逍遙遊) is a set of fist techniques created by Hong in his youth. The skill is smooth and visually appealing but lacks real power.
- 'Rain of Petals' (滿天花雨) is created by Hong to counter Ouyang Ke's snake formation after he sees Huang Rong's sewing kit. It involves using common sewing needles as dart-like throwing weapons to pin down the snakes.
- Guo Jing and Huang Rong pass their knowledge of the Nine Yin Manual (九陰真經) to Hong to help him recover from his battle with Ouyang Feng. Hong practises the skills in the book and regains his powers in the sequel.