Martial Arts Comparisons
The strong, the weak -- and everyone in between -- among the pugilists of DGSD.
To be read in conjunction with Martial Arts Skills Inventory for a comprehensive description of a particular individual's pugilistic abilities.
- In **descending order**; subject to change at any time, according to the information found/revealed as the review of the text progresses.
- Disputes will **not** be entertained until all 50 chapters of the text have been annotated in full.
Duan Yu: (internal strength only)
- Described as having internal strength that was 'second to none' prior to the appearance of Jiumozhi; and as one whose internal strength was 'matched by only but a few' after that (Chapter 10).
- Considered by Jiumozhi as a 'great and highly-skilled pugilist' in the martial arts circle of Dali, who had 'such a level' of cultivation in internal strength. Also deemed by Jiumozhi to be 'not beneath' Ding Chunqiu in internal strength (Chapter 10).
- Jiumozhi found Duan's internal strength becoming increasingly powerful the longer he (Duan) used the Phenomenal Swords of the Six Channels. The variations in the moves were unpredictable and seemed subject to new ideas at will; very different from those used by Benyin et al. In reality, these 'new moves' were the result of Duan executing the Phenomenal Swords without remembering all the complex variations that came with them (Chapter 10).
- Stated explicitly as having internal strength that was more powerful than Jiumozhi's; but did not have the corresponding impact when used (Chapter 11).
- Sent the six different streams of palm-based energy from the Sabre of the Glowing Flame towards Kurong and the 'Ben' monks, and held these streams in mid-air when they were 3 chi (99.99 centimetres) away from Kurong et al. Allowed Bencan to push one of the streams in the opposite direction until it was 2 chi (66.67 centimetres) away from himself. Did not lose any ground even after Benguan, Benyin, Benxiang and Benchen joined Bencan in pushing the various streams of energy back towards their originator; the streams of energy ended up swirling around in mid-air, as indicated by the bluish smoke of the Tibetan incense, because of the two opposing forces that were involved (Chapter 10). [Note: Kurong wanted to see how long Jiumozhi could keep up with this display, but the actual time taken was not stated. The distance between Jiumozhi's seat and those of Kurong et al was also not stated].
- Protected his chest with a different stream of palm-based energy while using the Sabre of the Glowing Flame (described above) at the same time. Deflected Kurong's attack against the right side of his chest, but could not avoid Kurong's simultaneously strike against his left shoulder (Chapter 10).
- After a second palm-based energy attack from Jiumozhi (see Events), the 'Ben' monks felt that their Phenomenal Swords of the Six Channels could not be compared to Jiumozhi's Sabre of the Glowing Flame (Chapter 10).
- Used the energy from the Sabre of the Glowing Flame to create a 'net' against the doorway of Muni Hall at the Temple of the Celestial Dragon. The 'Ben' monks could not break through this invisible net with the energy from the Single Finger of Positivity. Also broke two pillars at Muni Hall with the Sabre of the Glowing Flame just before fleeing (Chapter 10).
- Considered himself and Murong Fu to be among the few who could defeat Duan Yu (Chapter 11).
- Hurled a broken wooden pillar several zhang (exact distance not stated; 1 zhang = 3.33 metres) towards the boat that A'Bi, A'Zhu and Duan Yu were in; the pillar flew over the trio's heads. Kept on throwing various objects at the boat until the boat was totally out of reach (Chapter 11).
The Emperor Baoding (Duan Zhengming): (here?)
- Released Gan Baobao's acupoints that had been blocked by Duan Zhengchun using the Single Finger of Positivity without touching her at all; used a technique known as 'Releasing Acupoints Through Space' (Ge2 Kong1 Jie2 Xue4 隔空解穴) (Chapter 7). [Note: The distance between Duan Zhengming and Gan Baobao during this incident was not stated].
- Had a similar level in the practice of the Single Finger of Positivity with Benyin, Bencan, Benguan and Benxiang from the Temple of the Celestial Dragon (Chapter 10).
- Considered by Benyin as the top ('number one') pugilist among the secular members of the Duan Family. Considered by Kurong as having reached an 'extraordinary level in the cultivation of internal strength' (Chapter 10).
- Unable to break free from Jiumozhi's grip on his Lie Que and Pian Li acupoints despite 7 energy-driven attempts (Chapter 10).
- Known in the martial arts circle as one of its top-level pugilists (Chapter 10).
Duan Yanqing (a.k.a. The Stranger in Black, and 'Lao Da' the First Evil): (here?)
- Described by Yue the Third as 'a lot stronger' than him in terms of martial arts abilities. Yue had initially thought that he could have one or two hundred exchanges with Duan, only to find himself defeated within three punches and two kicks (Chapter 4).
- Blocked and then released Mu Wanqing's acupoints with 'unimaginable' speed (from Mu's viewpoint); also considered by Mu to be better in martial arts than Yue the Third. Took strides that were twice as long as usual with his crutches, causing Mu much difficulty in keeping up with his pace (Chapter 7).
- Highly accurate in identifying the positions of the various acupoints on the body; considered by the Emperor Baoding to be different from his own skills in the same area. Also deemed by Baoding to be more skilful in identifying the acupoints than Duan Zhengchun (Chapter 8).
- Had better overall martial arts skills than the Emperor Baoding (by Baoding's own admission), but would lose out in an actual fight because of the various disabilities in his body and limbs (by Duan Yanqing's own admission). Felt that there was a possibility of being defeated by Baoding after several hundred moves, but Baoding would find it very difficult to have him killed. Considered to be 'half a level' better than Baoding in martial arts (Baoding's own words, as recounted by Fan Hua) (Chapter 8).
- Had a more profound level of energy that was based on the Single Finger of Positivity than the Emperor Baoding (Chapter 8).
- Used the tip of his iron crutch to etch a straight line deep into a large piece of hornfels (a type of rock; see Culture and Lifestyle -> Architectural Features and Furniture) outside the stone hut at the Valley of Ten Thousand Calamities with energy from the Single Finger of Positivity. Went on until 19 horizontal lines were drawn into the rock. Together with the 19 vertical lines etched by the Yellow-Browed Monk, the whole process took as long as it was needed to boil a pot of rice (approx. 50 minutes) (Chapter 8).
- Better at chess than the Yellow-Browed Monk (Chapter 8).
- Unable to detect the sounds of tunnelling while focused on exercising his internal strength and playing chess against the Yellow-Browed Monk (Chapter 8).
- Eventually became engaged in a duel of internal strength with the Yellow-Browed Monk while the game of chess was in progress. Did not appear to be affected by the intensity of the duel or the game; seemed to be headed for victory (Chapter 9).
- Placed his hands on the hornfels chessboard for a long time before leaping away as the hornfels broke into six or seven pieces (Chapter 9).
The Yellow-Browed Monk: (here?)
- The energy from his Finger of Buddha's Warrior Attendant was weaker than the energy from Emperor Baoding's Single Finger of Positivity (Chapter 8).
- Used the hammer of his iron 'Wooden Fish' (see Culture and Lifestyle -> Musical Instruments and Other Noise-makers) to etch a straight line deep into a large piece of hornfels (a type of rock; see Culture and Lifestyle -> Architectural Features and Furniture) outside the stone hut at the Valley of Ten Thousand Calamities with energy from the Finger of Buddha's Warrior Attendant. Went on until 19 vertical lines were drawn into the rock. Together with the 19 horizontal lines etched by Duan Yanqing, the whole process took as long as it was needed to boil a pot of rice (approx. 50 minutes) (Chapter 8).
- Unable to give attention to exercising his internal strength against his opponent Duan Yanqing and playing chess at the same time without neglecting one task at the expense of the other (Chapter 8).
- Eventually became engaged in a duel of internal strength with Duan Yanqing while the game of chess was in progress; had white vapour rising from the top of his head. By then, the game of chess had gone on for a day and a night without producing a victor. Soon began perspiring in drops that were as big as beans (Chapter 9).
Duan Zhengchun: (here?)
- Used his internal strength to treat the internal injuries that Gao Shengtai suffered after being attacked by Ye the Second during a palm-based duel with Yue the Third. Had wisps of white vapour rise from his head during the treatment which lasted as long as it took to brew a pot of tea (about 15 minutes), after which colour returned to Gao's ashen face (Chapter 6).
- Found Yue the Third a token weaker in martial arts after exchanging a strike of the palm with him (Chapter 6).
- Dislocated Mu Wanqing's arm in a single move after she shot two poisoned arrows at Dao Baifeng; later, reset Mu's arm just as easily as he had dislocated it (Chapter 7).
- Found Ye the Second highly skilled in martial arts after exchanging three moves with her (Chapter 7).
- Deflected three palm-based attacks from Zhong Wanchou while laughing continuously (Chapter 9).
- Found Cui Baiquan's martial arts skills 'very good' when Cui resisted Duan Zhengchun's initial attempts to raise him (Cui) to his feet from a kneeling position. When Cui stopped resisting, the impact of Duan's internal strength on Cui's body made his bones ache. Cui also felt as if he was a small boat being tossed about by ferocious waves in the ocean (Chapter 9).
Ye the Second:
- Could move faster than Yue the Third, so much so that she looked like an evil spirit whirling through space (Chapter 4).
- Could immobilise Mu Wanqing by throwing a child's (Zuo Shanshan's) shoes at her waist and chest one after the other (Chapter 5).
- Made increasing gains in fighting against the combined efforts of Gu Ducheng and Zhu Danchen (Chapter 8).
- Could move faster than Ye the Second, startling her so much that he managed to retrieve Zuo Shanshan safely and return the child to his father (Chapter 5). Succeeded because he had caught Ye unaware, 30% of which could be attributed to sheer luck (according to Zhu Danchen) (Chapter 6).
- Ye the Second could not help but take a few steps backwards when she realised that Gao's iron horizontal flute glowed red because it had been heated by the internal strength that Gao had exercised through his hands (Chapter 5).
- Not too much better in martial arts than Yue the Third. Had to rely on catching Ye the Second unaware again in order to get her to release Gu Ducheng and Zhu Danchen from their three-person fight. Observed the moves of Yue and Ye, and rehearsed his own moves against them many times in his mind before entering the fray and doing his best (Chapter 8).
Yue the Third:
- Had better overall martial arts skills than Yun Zhonghe, but lost out on qinggong (Chapter 5).
- Began to feel afraid after exchanging a strike of the palm with Duan Zhengchun; felt that he would probably be unable to defeat Duan (Chapter 6).
- Appeared to be as strong in fighting as the combined efforts of Zhu Wanli and Fu Sigui (Chapter 8).
- Realised that he was not Gao Shengtai's match. Did not dare to pursue and challenge Gao after he was struck (Chapter 8).
Ba Tianshi: (here?)
- Followed Zhong Wanchou, Gan Baobao and Qin Hongmian from the Residence of the Prince of the Southern Garrison all the way to the Valley of Ten Thousand Calamities without being detected (Chapter 8).
- Had faster feet movements during the use of qinggong than the long-limbed Yun Zhonghe; managed to stay an average of several chi (1 chi = 33.33 centimetres) ahead of Yun during the initial rounds of their first qinggong contest. Able to use his internal strength to send the calling cards of Duan Zhengming and Duan Zhengchun flying horizontally into Zhong Wanchou's hand without stopping his competition with Yun. Remained unaffected as the qinggong contest wore on, while Yun began panting loudly (Chapter 8).
- Unable to handle the combined attack of Zhu Wanli and Gu Ducheng; had to use his qinggong to escape (Chapter 4). Felt that he was unable to handle the combined attack of Zhu Wanli, Gu Ducheng and Zhu Danchen. Able to handle the combined attack of the Sage of the Hollow Jade and Zhu Danchen without losing any ground, but soon decided that he could no longer cope when Mu Wanqing joined the fight (Chapter 6).
- Knew that his martial arts skills were slightly beneath Yue the Third's, but could escape from the latter because he was way much stronger in qinggong (Chapter 5).
- Had much better internal strength that Zhu Danchen (Chapter 6).
- Qinggong abilities were on par with Ba Tianshi's, but had too much movement in his lower limbs without a sufficient measure of stability. Could not be compared to Ba's springs and leaps that put additional force into Ba's movements. Would not be able to withstand the sudden three-stroke attack that Ba thought about launching in his path. Began panting loudly as the qinggong contest between him and Ba wore on. When Ba stopped running and struck Yun suddenly, Yun's two-handed deflective response caused him (Yun) to almost throw up blood; his vision become blurred as well (Chapter 8).
- Considered the Emperor Baoding and the Yellow-Browed Monk far above himself in martial arts. Felt that Duan Zhengchun and Gao Shengtai were also individuals who could not be trifled with. Ran and leapt along with Zhong Ling in his arms as if she did not weigh a thing (Chapter 9).
Zhu Wanli: (here?)
- Considered by Ye the Second to be rather strong in martial arts, but was still slightly beneath her when it came to a comparison of abilities (Chapter 5).
- Had, in his own words to Zhu Danchen, worked together with Gu Ducheng and managed to overcome Yun Zhonghe with difficulty (Chapter 6).
- Had internal strength that was beneath Yun Zhonghe's by a token (Chapter 6).
- Found Yun Zhonghe very quick-thinking in his responses and quite formidable in martial arts; had to resort to trickery to force Yun into retreating. Realised that he was unable to defeat Yun (Chapter 6).
Cui Baiquan: (here)?
- Considered by Duan Zhengchun to possess martial arts skills that were 'not beneath' those of Zhu Wanli and Zhu Danchen (Chapter 9).
- Ye the Second made a public statement that she did not think much of his swordplay skills; Zuo himself realised that Ye's pugilistic abilities were way above his own. Also unable to handle Yun Zhonghe; eventually defeated (Chapter 5).
- Did not know when she would ever match Zuo Zimu's swordplay skills, especially in the execution of 'The Gold Needle Pulls Through a Disaster' (Chapter 1).
- The combined strength of the eastern and western factions of The Boundless Sword was not a match for Sikong Xuan and the Society of Divine Farmers, but the latter's skill in using poison put them at a huge advantage over their opponents (Chapter 1).
Zhong Wanchou: (here?)
- Had similar abilities in qinggong with Gan Baobao (Chapter 2).
- Should have had no difficulties in avoiding the backward stab of Gan Baobao's sword, especially when she did not intend to hurt him at all, but he chose to stand there and be stabbed several cun (1 cun = 3.33 centimetres) deep in the chest (Chapter 2).
- Had a considerably high measure of internal strength, but insufficient to release Gan Baobao's acupoints that had been blocked by Duan Zhengchun with the Single Finger of Positivity (Chapter 7).
- Could exercise sufficient strength in his palms to break stone tablets and shatter rocks (Chapter 7).
- Found Duan Zhengchun's swordplay techniques very swift and ferocious (Chapter 8).
Hook-wielding emissaries of the Palace of the Gifted Vulture who went searching for Gan Guanghao and Ge Guangpei
Qin Hongmian (The Guest of the Secluded Valley): (here?)
- Considered by Mu Wanqing to be beneath Ye the Second in terms of qinggong (Chapter 5).
- Much better than Mu Wanqing when it came to using the short arrows as hidden weapons. Shot Dao Baifeng with three arrows, followed by another three after Dao managed to avoid the first set. Dao had to be rescued by Duan Zhengchun because she could not avoid the second and third arrows in the second set (Chapter 8).
Dao Baifeng (The Sage of the Hollow Jade): (here?)
- Had martial arts abilities that were similar to Mu Wanqing's (Chapter 7).
- Appeared to gain increasing ground against Qin Hongmian as Qin's sabre techniques began to unravel after a short period of fighting. Regained her upperhand when Qin became emotionally distracted after Duan Zhengchun rescued Dao from Qin's arrows (Chapter 8).
Mu Wanqing: (here?)
- Found the hook-wielding emissaries of the Palace of the Gifted Vulture formidable, and suffered injuries during her fight with one of them (Chapter 3).
- Able to pay attention to sounds that were coming from all directions during a fight, including the conversations of others. Despite suffering serious wounds, she could injure Old Woman Ping and Old Woman Rui, and kill a few other members of their gang (Chapter 3).
Gan Baobao: (here?)
- Had similar abilities in qinggong with Zhong Wanchou (Chapter 2).
- Gan Baobao could throw Duan Yu about a zhang (3.33 metres) away from her (Chapter 2).
- Unable to avoid Sikong Xuan's swift palms (Chapter 1).
Notes on sequencing:
- Where an individual has been taught by only one teacher, he/she is assumed to be weaker or equal to the teacher's abilities, unless it is specifically stated otherwise. E.g. Zhong Ling has been taught martial arts by Gan Baobao, and therefore assumed to be weaker than (or similar to) Gan, given that nothing is stated otherwise.
- Where the martial arts abilities of an individual is similar to the next, the individuals are listed in terms of age-based seniority. E.g. Dao Baifeng is listed before Mu Wanqing, although both have similar martial arts abilities.