Xiang Long Shiba Zhang
The famous and fearsomely powerful martial art of the Beggars' Sect. It was created by the book, I Ching. The first appearance of the martial art starts from Qiao/Xiao Feng with 28 palm techniques. Later with the help of his sworn brother - Xu Zhu, Qiao/Xiao Feng created a more simple version by combining some technique's stance and movement, shorten 10 techniques. Then it becomes 18 palm styles. The 18 palm technique was passed down to the new Beggars' Sect leader through Xu Zhu. Later was taught to Guo Jing by Northern Beggar Hong Qigong (洪七公), then the eighteenth reigning Beggars' Clan Chief and one of the five greatest martial arts masters of the time. It is mentioned in the novel that this technique is the single most powerful waijia or external style martial art in the world, being unmatched in its ferocity, meticulosity, and sheer power. Xianglong Shi Ba Zhang became Guo Jing's most powerful martial art skill and his default fighting technique.
1. Dragon Sighted in the Field - 見龍在田 / 见龙在田 - The initating stroke of the 18 Dragon-Subduing Palms. This is in accordance with the Chinese adage that good things (or fortune) will happen upon sighting a dragon in the paddy fields. Based on the Chinese belief that dragons are an auspicious sign due to their divine nature, while farmers work in the fields (suggestively a common occupation in ancient China), the sighting of a dragon is believed to bring them an abundant and safe harvest for the year.
Resulting in an amazing burst of energy, this is also the strongest of the 18 Dragon-Subduing Palms. Just as its namesake implies, utilising this stroke alone will bring doom (and possible destruction) upon an opponent (hence good fortune for the practitioner).
2. Flying Dragon Soaring Through the Heavens - 飛龍在天 / 飞龙在天 - The second stroke in the 18 Dragon-Subduing Palms is based on the Chinese adage that a dragon in the sky will be able to spot men of greatness below it. This suggests that the dragon, from its elevated position, will have an overview on the affairs of the world hence being able to keep track of mortal ongoings and spot men of great deeds and virtue.
As its namesake suggests, this is a down-ward hitting stroke which may be initiated from high ground or a jump. Just as how a dragon may ride on the fame and reputation of the great men it spots to enhance its status, this stroke draws on the strength of both its practitioner and the impact from his/her fall to deliver a forceful and unrecoverable blow on the adversary.
3. Swan Gradually Lands - 龍戰於野 / 龙战于野 - This stroke in the 18 Dragon-Subduing Palms refers to the advantageous nature of the Chinese, to seize opportunity whenever it may come, in whatever form it may surface as. "The Geese Gradually Land" simply suggests that upon the return of the geese flock to land, their plumes may be utilized by the womenfolk for decorative purposes.
Emphasizing on the importance of advantage, the practitioner would bear in mind the importance of keeping an eye for opportunity, perhaps a moment of weakness in an adversary. The stroke teaches one to seek out coincidental opportunity and seize it, hence gaining the upper-hand and ultimately, victory.
4. Jumping Into The Abyss - 或躍在淵 / 或跃在渊 - Based on one of China's great classic texts by Zhou Yi. A dragon which leaps into the abyss is akin to a great person who decides to partake in a course of activity, implying a sense of awe-inspiring presence and suggestively, resulting in great achievement.
Overpowering one's opponent is an important criteria in battle. The practitioner, through his presence and awe, will be able to invoke fear and submission in an adversary. Therefore, half the battle is already won even before it takes place.
5. The Ram Charges The Fence - 羝羊觸藩 / 羝羊触藩 - Based on the theories of Zhou Yi as well. Loosely translated as, "When a ram comes in contact with a fence, it utilises its horns fully." In war tactics, this would probably refer to the use of ballistas in fortress sieges - with similar impact and result. However, the theory also states that "When a ram comes in contact with a fence, it is unable to retreat and can only go forward." 100% effort and maximum energy in accomplishing a task is required.
Believing in one's strength is essential in combat, so is pulling off one's most effective blows to injure the opponent. In using this stroke, the practitioner must be focused and confident, or run the risk of self-injury.
6. The Hidden Dragon Is Forbidden - 潛龍勿用 / 潜龙勿用 - According to the I Ching, a dragon submerged in depths is unpredictable in nature, hence its unsuitability for deployment. Just as one would not provoke a captive tiger for fear of retaliation, a submerged dragon would be best left undisturbed.
This stroke emphasises on the practitioner's reservation of energy for counteroffensive purposes. It is similar to the 4th stroke, Leaping Into the Abyss, in that it aims to cripple an opponent's confidence, but while the latter achieves this by physically overwhelming the opponent, The Hidden Dragon Is Forbidden seeks to punish the provocator by releasing conserved force upon him/her.
7. Sudden Advent - 利涉大川 / 利涉大川
8. Tremors Shake A Hundred Li - 神龍擺尾 / 神龙摆尾
9. Dragon Battling In The Wilderness - 密雲不雨 / 密云不雨
10. The Divine Dragon Swings Its Tail - 突如其來 / 突如其来
11. The Proud Dragon Shows Remorse - 雙龍取水 / 双龙取水
12. Twin Dragons Fetch Water - 魚躍於淵 / 鱼跃于渊
13. Fish Frolicking In The Depths - 震驚百里 / 震惊百里
14. Timely Using The Six Dragons - 損則有孚 / 损则有孚
15. Thick Clouds Refuse To Rain - 鴻漸於陸 / 鸿渐于陆
16. With Injury Also Comes Confidence - 時乘六龍 / 时乘六龙
17. Treading On Ice - 履霜冰至 / 履霜冰至
18. Skillfully Crossing The Vast Rivers - 亢龍有悔 / 亢龙有悔