The Wudang Sect, sometimes also referred to as the Wu-tang Sect or Wu-Tang Clan, is a fictional martial arts sect mentioned in several works of wuxia fiction. It is commonly featured as one of the leading orthodox sects in the wulin (martial artists' community). It is named after the place it is based, the Wudang Mountains.
The Wudang Sect is featured most prominently in Jin Yong's novels The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber and The Smiling, Proud Wanderer as a major power in the wulin, usually alongside Shaolin. Liang Yusheng's works also depict Wudang as the leader of all orthodox sects in the wulin. Most of its members are priests who follow Taoist customs and practices in addition to training in martial arts. However, unlike Shaolin's Buddhist monks, Wudang members are allowed to marry and start families. In some wuxia stories, Wudang has female members as well.
The sect was founded in the early Yuan dynasty by Zhang Sanfeng. Zhang Sanfeng's original given name was "Junbao", and he was an apprentice of Jueyuan, a Shaolin monk. Zhang Sanfeng accepted seven youths as his apprentices, who later became known as the "Seven Heroes of Wudang". The seven are responsible for spreading Wudang's name through their prowess in martial arts, exemplary conduct, and deeds of gallantry.
In The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, believed to be set in the Ming dynasty, Wudang has become one of the two major powers in the wulin (martial artists' community) alongside Shaolin, and both sects play significant roles in upholding justice and maintaining peace in the community. In the novel, Wudang is led by Taoist Chongxu. In Baifa Monü Zhuan, set towards the end of the Ming dynasty, the sect is led by Taoist Ziyang and another four elders.
Wudang's martial arts have their origins in the Shaolin Sect, although they are based on Taoism rather than Buddhism. Its martial arts revolve around the concept of taiji, as evident from the skills named after the concept, such as "taijiquan" and "taijijian". They also focus on the use of "soft and gentle" techniques to overcome opponents who rely on brute strength and force. Wudang's "inner energy" skills and qinggong are also among the best in the wulin.
Due to strong Taoist influence, Wudang members also spend their time making elixirs and special medicines to improve health and boost inner energy.
List of skills and martial arts
- Note: Although the skills listed here are entirely fictional, some are based on actual martial arts.
- Cha, Louis. The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (倚天屠龍記). Ming Pao, 1961.
- Cha, Louis. The Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕俠侶). Ming Pao, 1959.
- Cha, Louis. The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖). Ming Pao, 1967.
- Liang, Yusheng. Baifa Monü Zhuan (白髮魔女傳). 1957.