Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms

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The Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms (降龍十八掌) is a fictional martial arts that appears in multiple Jin Yong novels.


The 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' is one of the two most powerful martial arts of the Beggar's Sect, with the other being the Dog Beating Staff (打狗棒法). The technique is believed to be based on the principles of the I Ching, an ancient text from the Western Zhou period. The skill is passed down from leader to leader of the Beggar's Sect, and the leader of the Beggar's Sect is expected to have a mastery of both the Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms and the Dog Beating Staff.

Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils[edit]

The 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' first appeared in the Jin Yong novel, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. It is the main skill of Xiao Feng, the leader of the Beggar's Sect and one of the main characters of the novel. Originally, there were twenty eight palms in the technique, but with the help of his sworn brother Xu Zhu, Xiao Feng combined certain stances and movements and simplified it to eighteen palms. Following Xiao Feng's death at the end of the novel, Xu Zhu passed on the knowledge of the 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' to the new successor of the Beggar's Sect.[1]

Legend of the Condor Heroes[edit]

In Legend of the Condor Heroes, the 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' was taught to Guo Jing, the main character of the novel by Hong Qigong, the leader of the Beggar's Sect. The technique would later become Guo Jing's main fighting style, and he would use it against powerful opponents such as Ouyang Feng, Mei Chaofeng, Huang Yaoshi, and Qiu Qianren.[2]

Return of the Condor Heroes[edit]

The 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' were used by Guo Jing multiple times and by Hong Qigong against his final battle against Ouyang Feng in Return of the Condor Heroes.[3]

Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre[edit]

In Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre, the 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' is practiced by Shi Huolong, the leader of the Beggar Sect. However, he only mastered 12 of the 18 palm techniques. Shi Houlong uses the technique after he is ambushed by Cheng Kun,the main antagonist.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

The 'Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms' is one of the most well known martial arts in the wuxia genre, and has been featured in many wuxia themed movies, television, and video games, such as the Stephen Chow film King of Beggars and the popular online game Age of Wushu. It's also briefly referenced at the end of Kung Fu Hustle, another Stephen Chow film.

The Eighteen Palms[edit]

  1. The Proud Dragon Repents (亢龙有悔)
  2. The Dragon Soars in the Sky (飛龍在天)
  3. The Dragon is Seen in the Fields (見龍在田)
  4. The Swan Descends Gracefully (鴻漸於陸)
  5. Use Not the Submerged Dragon (潛龍勿用)
  6. Crossing Great Rivers (利涉大川)
  7. Tremors that Shook the Land (震驚百里)
  8. Diving into the Abyss (或躍在淵)
  9. The Twin Dragons Fetch Water (雙龍取水)
  10. The Divine Dragon Swishes its Tail (神龍擺尾)
  11. A Sudden Advent (突如其來)
  12. Timely Riding the Six Dragons (時乘六龍)
  13. Dark Clouds but No Rain (密雲不雨)
  14. With a Loss comes Confidence (損則有孚)
  15. The Dragon Fights in the Wilderness (龍戰於野)
  16. Treading on Ice (履霜冰至)
  17. The Ram Charges into the Fence (羝羊觸藩)
  18. Laughing Words (笑言啞啞)


  1. ^ Yong, Jin (September 3, 1963). Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Ming Pao. 
  2. ^ Yong, Jin (January 1, 1957). Legend of the Condor Heroes. Hong Kong Commercial Daily. 
  3. ^ Yong, Jin (May 20, 1959). Return of the Condor Heroes. Ming Pao. 
  4. ^ Yong, Jin (July 6, 1961). The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre. Ming Pao.