The Kunlun Sect is a fictional martial arts sect mentioned in several works of wuxia fiction. It is usually featured as a leading orthodox sect in the wulin (martial artists' community). It is named after the place where it is based, the Kunlun Mountains in western China, near modern Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces. Due to its geographical location, it was hardly known to martial artists in the jianghu before its rise to prominence.
The sect's history traces back to the Zhou dynasty during the reign of King Wu. According to legend, its founders were the mythological figures Laozi and Yuanshi Tianzun. The latter had 12 apprentices, who later became the Twelve Elders of Kunlun. Although Kunlun has its roots in Taoism, its members do not strictly follow Taoist customs and practices.
Kunlun's rise to prominence in the wulin (martial artists' community) only came after martial artists such as He Zudao made their names through their prowess in martial arts and by doing deeds of gallantry. He Zudao's successors led the sect towards greater heights and achieving its status in the wulin as one of the leading orthodox sects. The Kunlun Sect has the greatest strength and highest fame of all martial arts sects in the western regions of China.
Kunlun has a strict code of conduct laid down for its members, who are forbidden from associating with people from unorthodox sects or else they will be expelled. Although Kunlun is considered to be a Taoist sect just like Quanzhen and Wudang, it accepts students of both genders, and members are allowed to marry and start families, and are not bound by any regulation to maintain vegetarian diets.
One notable trait of the sect is that it has a strong desire to become one of the superpowers in the wulin, and some members are especially extreme in their plans towards achieving this goal. In Jin Yong's The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, He Zudao and He Taichong are depicted as ruthless and ambitious individuals who wish to dominate the wulin. He Taichong, in particular, is depicted as a morally bankrupt villain who resorts to unscrupulous means in his attempt to seize hold of the Dragon Slaying Saber and use it against his rivals.
List of skills and martial arts
- Note: Although the skills listed here are entirely fictional, some may be based on actual martial arts.
- Cha, Louis. The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龍記). Ming Pao, 1961.