Only explicitly mentioned characters are included.
Hi, for the last 2 hours I've done nothing except think about who would be qualified to be ranked as the top 10 inventors of martial arts in the Jin Yong universe. After some pondering, I've come up with a proposed list. Please tell me what you think (I probably missed someone very important ).
Please note, they are ranked strictly according to their demonstrated ability to invent. Inevitably, one consideration is how enduring is their legacy.
15. Creator of Qiankun Danuoyi (mentioned in HSDS) -- created a rather freaky and next-to-impossible-to-master art; only Zhang Wuji in the history of wulin as we know it mastered the highest level; even this creator couldn't master it; it was inventive though
14. Yang Guo (ROCH) -- developed a unique martial art called Sad Palms, comprised of 17 different stances, founded on the principle of his mood-driven personality.
13. Lin Yuantu (mentioned in SPW) -- absorbed the bare essence of Sunflower Manuscript from an incomplete recitation; created a complete new set of martial arts called the 72 Stances of Evil-Resisting Sword based on his superior intellect.
12. Zhou Botong (LOCH) -- creator of Vacant Fist and Left/Right Technique, 2 of the best in Jin Yong canon.
11. Lin Chaoying (mentioned in ROCH) -- developed a comprehensive martial art system to counter the Quanzhen martial arts; her post-Jade Maiden years probably saw her drastically different in terms of martial arts performance--most likely much more speed-based than her original way
10. Nameless Eunuch, Creator of Sunflower Manuscript (mentioned in SPW) -- confirmed to be a eunuch, he invented an art that dominated wulin hundreds of years later; the ONLY art of its kind throughout Jin Yong universe (not considering its derivative, Lin Yuantu's Evil Resisting Swordplay)
9. Murong Longcheng (mentioned in DGSD) -- one of the first explicitly mentioned inventors; created the Shifting North Star technique; became invincible during the Pre-Song/early Song era; created the first known Counter-All martial art (?)
8. Guo Xiang (HSDS) -- creator of many Emei Sect martial arts; her sect became the 3rd biggest orthodox school in wulin within 50 years
7. Central Divinity Wang Chongyang (mentioned in LOCH) -- founder of Big Dipper Formation (?) and Quanzhen Sect, one of LOCH's largest. Unfortunately, we don't have the details on his best art Pre-Heaven Technique, since his students couldn't learn it; his arts influenced Guo Jing, Yang Guo, Zhou Botong, and Yelu Qi; not to mention it was the basis for Lin Chaoying's creation
6. Demonic Swordsman Dugu Qiubai (mentioned in ROCH) -- inventor of Dugu 9 Swords, hands down the most mind-boggling "Teach yourself Great-level in 72 hours" art; popularizer of sword progression theory; weakness: only focused on sword theories
5. Creator of 9 Yang Shen Gong (mentioned in HSDS) -- his superior intellect and superior knowledge conceived what he considered to be a more balanced version of 9 Yin, known as 9 Yang, which is generally accepted to be a better internal cultivation method, but worse externally, than 9 Yin; was supposedly a Confucianist, then a Taoist, then a Buddhist -- may have reached the peak of perfection in Philosophy Diversification; it's not clear how long it took him to conceived 9 Yang, but my impression is not quite the 40 years it took to invent 9 Yin; oh yeah, 9 Yang was based on 9 Yin...
4. Huang Yaoshi (LOCH) -- one of the Great "can do all" artists; very elegant style; inventor of Mighty Snap, Bravely Descending Divine Sword Palm (Luoying Shenjian Zhang -- a palm technique based on a sword style!), Jade Flute Swordplay, Peach Blossom Island's Air-Splitting Palm, and several other Peach Blossom arts
3. Huang Shang (mentioned in LOCH) -- created 9 Yin after 40 years of nonstop pondering; the result was something that every Great wanted; although Wang Chongyang only went for it with good intentions, he nevertheless benefited philosophically from it; more specifically, 9 Yin was more balanced than 9 Yang in the embodiment of both internal and external techniques; not to mention, 9 Yin was the basis for 9 Yang
2. Zhang Sanfeng (HSDS; mentioned everywhere thereafter) -- took martial arts to new heights with Taiji aka Taichi; created dozens of arts in his lifetime; his legacy Wudang School endured to this day; not to mention he designed the most sophisticated power-gain formation of all time, which doubles its power with each additional member
1. Damo (referenced everywhere, but mostly in DGSD) -- the holy grail, and founder, of Chinese martial arts; without him, we wouldn't have this list, for Chinese martial arts may not even exist.