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Thread: Using formation/group attacks in wulin - is it honorable?

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    Default Using formation/group attacks in wulin - is it honorable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    Finally, tag-teaming a single opponent is considered to be dishonourable, unless if provoked (i.e. one person attacking 2). Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nv only got away with it on account of their age.
    If this were true, then wouldn't that make the Quanzhen sect the scum of Wulin, since from the elder Seven Sons all the way down to the disciples, they tend to attack single opponents in groups of seven, forty-nine or even ninety-eight with their big Dipper formation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    If this were true, then wouldn't that make the Quanzhen sect the scum of Wulin, since from the elder Seven Sons all the way down to the disciples, they tend to attack single opponents in groups of seven, forty-nine or even ninety-eight with their big Dipper formation?
    I actually always felt that way because all indications say they can never win one-on-one. The only people people who stood a chance at single combat was CBT and WCY.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    If this were true, then wouldn't that make the Quanzhen sect the scum of Wulin, since from the elder Seven Sons all the way down to the disciples, they tend to attack single opponents in groups of seven, forty-nine or even ninety-eight with their big Dipper formation?
    My bad - I should have noted that there are exceptions made for formations. It is not only Quanzhen - Gai Bang has the dog-slaying formation (used against Zhang Wuji), Ming Jiao has the gold banners etc... Basically, the grunts can't be expected to hold their own against masters, which is where the concept of formations comes into play - as an equalizing factor. I guess when one is able to hold his/her own in the Jiang Hu, formations are to be avoided. Besides, formations require coordination and cooperation - what master would beggar himself to work with grunts?

    On the subject of poison resistance through exposure - NEVER try it. There was a Darwin award given out for some person who died doing that. In the original SDYXZ, Qiu QianRen was practicing his Wu Du Shen Zhang by plunging his hands in poison. There is speculation on ylib that fears of people copying (if people are nuts enough to organize expeditions to Huashan looking for tombs of bygone masters...) led to the change to Tie Zhang Shen Gong. Although I don't think that argument holds water (the replaced passage involves mixing heated buckshot with bare hands), it is a valid point nonetheless.

    Basically, don't go around copying Yideng's Shi-di, among other things. Wuxia is fiction for a reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    Basically, the grunts can't be expected to hold their own against masters, which is where the concept of formations comes into play - as an equalizing factor. I guess when one is able to hold his/her own in the Jiang Hu, formations are to be avoided. Besides, formations require coordination and cooperation - what master would beggar himself to work with grunts?
    The Quanzhen 7 sons were hardly 'grunts' and were certainly able to hold their own in Jianghu (though from their performance in LOCH and ROCH, you sometimes start to doubt it...), yet they seemed to use the big dipper formation freely enough.

    Besides, if you say it is okay to use a formation if you can't beat your opponent one-on-one, then that implies that is only unacceptable to use formations if you can already beat your opponent one-on-one, in which case why would you bother with a formation in the first place?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Kwok View Post
    The Quanzhen 7 sons were hardly 'grunts' and were certainly able to hold their own in Jianghu (though from their performance in LOCH and ROCH, you sometimes start to doubt it...), yet they seemed to use the big dipper formation freely enough.
    I think the Cheun Jen 7 Disciples looked bad mainly because their opponents were invariably either 1). Greats or 2). people whose martial arts were *specifically designed* to counter theirs. If we got to see them go up against opponents other than those two types more often, they'd probably look better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    I don't quite get the question. It should be evident that a formation is used because the users have no hope beating the opponent one-on-one. Once a fighter earns enough of a reputation, he/she is expected to hold his/her own against others, and would naturally eschew the use of formations.

    Although Quanzhen as a sect has a fearsome reputation, you have mentioned that individual disciples are nothing special. It's a pity that Jin Yong downgraded the Quanzhen 7 so much - what really gets me is the portrayal of them as being narrow and petty. Even Sun Buer has an inferior reputation to the likes of Huang Rong and Li Mochou despite being an entire generation older. In historical accounts, they were all accomplished Taoists who established their own (sub)sects. Of course, they weren't martial artists, so....
    The original proposition was that it was unacceptable to attack single opponents in groups, unless you were unknowns like YG and XLN. The Quanzhen 7 sons were clearly not unknowns (regardless of their actual level of competence), yet there are numerous examples of them attacking single opponents in formation, and no-one complained about unfairness.

    If you change that to it being unacceptable to attack single opponents in groups unless you were unable to overcome an opponent one-on-one (e.g. any of the Quanzhen 7 against a great), then the rule becomes completely pointless, since if you could do the job yourself then you needn't bother attacking in formation in the first place.

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    Wulin codes of ethics are for hypocrites. It's ok when we do it to them but not ok when they do it to us. You don't need to be honourable when fighting villains and so on. There's not too many characters that follow those codes of ethics to the letter all the time.

    Like Feng Qingyang told Linghu Chong, you do what you need to do to survive, being politically correct can take it up the ***.

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    Like I said, I should have noted that formations are an exception. As to Quanzhen using formations, I can only reiterate Ken's argument that they were matched against opponents far above their calibre and/or using techniques which were the bane of Quanzhen. One may as well argue that Shaolin was shameless for pitting 3 elders against Zhang Wuji, skilled he may be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    Like I said, I should have noted that formations are an exception. As to Quanzhen using formations, I can only reiterate Ken's argument that they were matched against opponents far above their calibre and/or using techniques which were the bane of Quanzhen. One may as well argue that Shaolin was shameless for pitting 3 elders against Zhang Wuji, skilled he may be.
    But it was Wuji who came to challenge the 3 elders wasn't it? Going back to your statement before of unless provoked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    Like I said, I should have noted that formations are an exception.
    I don't get this. So, if a group of renowned fighters fight against a single opponent willy-nilly, then it is bad, but if the same group get into a pre-determined formation and do the same, then it is okay? Where is the reasoning behind that? If anything, shouldn't it be worse?

    Also, doesn't YG and XLN's twin sword combination count as a formation? Why would they need the excuse of being young and unknown to 'get away with it' at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    As to Quanzhen using formations, I can only reiterate Ken's argument that they were matched against opponents far above their calibre and/or using techniques which were the bane of Quanzhen.
    So, in effect, you are saying that the Quanzhen 7 were effectively fighting dirty out of pragmatism, because if they did the honourable thing they would all get slaughtered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolworm View Post
    One may as well argue that Shaolin was shameless for pitting 3 elders against Zhang Wuji, skilled he may be.
    When Wuji challenged them to a one-on-one fight, the 3 elders said point-blank that they might not be able to beat him one-on-one, so they would gang up on him to make sure. Isn't that about as shameless as it gets?
    Last edited by Doc Kwok; 02-28-10 at 09:04 AM.

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    The argument is that "we are doing it for the greater good, we don't need to abide to normal wulin rules".

    We can see this from ZBT+YD vs GWM, Du Monks vs ZWJ etc.

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    When you're fighting to the death, it's always for the greater good in your own view.

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    1) No, YNSXJ isn't a formation.
    2) The way you put it, yes. In any case, I would rather them fight dirty than die and have no story.
    3) Yes, because they were guarding Xie Xun. Duty calls for dirtiness, duty wins. Of course, they failed anyway....

    The way I see it, gang-ons are basically opportunities for jobbers to get beaten down to show off character X's overwhelming might. To boil the issue to its dregs, Wulin rules come second to to the pragmatism of plot.

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    Addressing the issue of formations:

    I believe it was stated by the 7 freaks that they always fight as a unit. Whether they are fighting scrubs or Greats. Hence, it's not really "dishonorable" as they warn their opponents ahead of battle.

    I think it's really about honor and the opponent. For example, the QZ 7 don't just attack everyone with their big dopper formation. They've only used it on HYS, who is known as a one of the fabulous 5. Their reputation in Jiang Hu would most likely remain intact due to the caliber of their opponent. Not to mention the reason why QZ 7 used the formation was because they believed they were seeking justice! (albeit due to miscommunication with HYS). And in ROCH when QZ sect used the 49+49 dipper formation against GJ, it was because they mistook GJ for a lecherous bastard and also thought they were being righteous in defending the ancient tomb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snafu3721 View Post
    Addressing the issue of formations:

    I believe it was stated by the 7 freaks that they always fight as a unit. Whether they are fighting scrubs or Greats. Hence, it's not really "dishonorable" as they warn their opponents ahead of battle.

    I think it's really about honor and the opponent. For example, the QZ 7 don't just attack everyone with their big dopper formation. They've only used it on HYS, who is known as a one of the fabulous 5. Their reputation in Jiang Hu would most likely remain intact due to the caliber of their opponent. Not to mention the reason why QZ 7 used the formation was because they believed they were seeking justice! (albeit due to miscommunication with HYS). And in ROCH when QZ sect used the 49+49 dipper formation against GJ, it was because they mistook GJ for a lecherous bastard and also thought they were being righteous in defending the ancient tomb.
    Wulin also seems to have an "exceptions clause" that when a group of fighters is, individually, far inferior to an opponent, the group can join forces against the single, stronger opponent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snafu3721 View Post
    Addressing the issue of formations:

    I think it's really about honor and the opponent. For example, the QZ 7 don't just attack everyone with their big dopper formation. They've only used it on HYS, who is known as a one of the fabulous 5. Their reputation in Jiang Hu would most likely remain intact due to the caliber of their opponent. Not to mention the reason why QZ 7 used the formation was because they believed they were seeking justice! (albeit due to miscommunication with HYS). And in ROCH when QZ sect used the 49+49 dipper formation against GJ, it was because they mistook GJ for a lecherous bastard and also thought they were being righteous in defending the ancient tomb.
    But it was a very despicable act when 5 of QZ 7 joined forces with GWM and 3 other masters and attacked 9 against a single girl, XLN in ROCH, while XLN was fighting against their enemy, i.e. Mongolians.
    "The bitterest enemy of you is carnal desires of yourself."

    "The best fight is fight against carnal desires of oneself."

    - The Successor of the Prophet of Islam, Imam Ali peace be upon him

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linghu View Post
    But it was a very despicable act when 5 of QZ 7 joined forces with GWM and 3 other masters and attacked 9 against a single girl, XLN in ROCH, while XLN was fighting against their enemy, i.e. Mongolians.
    The Cheun Jen Sect was not helping the Mongolians.

    As far as the Taoists were concerned, NONE of the people who went up to Chung Yeung Temple that day belonged there (and they didn't). ALL of them had gone there with hostile intent. Why would the Taoists *not* defend their own turf with everything they had?

    If people come into my home uninvited and start threatening me and my family, the last thing I'm going to think about is whether or not I'm being fair to the intruders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snafu3721 View Post
    I think it's really about honor and the opponent. For example, the QZ 7 don't just attack everyone with their big dopper formation. They've only used it on HYS, who is known as a one of the fabulous 5. Their reputation in Jiang Hu would most likely remain intact due to the caliber of their opponent. Not to mention the reason why QZ 7 used the formation was because they believed they were seeking justice! (albeit due to miscommunication with HYS).
    Yes, but isn't that also the only reason why you would use a formation against someone? The main reason why you would gang up on someone in the first place? Because you can't beat them without it?

    If it's a principle of honour not to take advantage of your number to beat someone, then it should stand independent of all other things, even if you're gonna lose because of it. That's why it's a principle.

    There is no point in following something because it is honourable, if you're willing to forgo it under the very conditions that give it meaning. Be it for justice or survival.

    Put another way, it's no different from Yue Buqun, He's only a gentlemen when it suits his needs. These guys are no different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    The Cheun Jen Sect was not helping the Mongolians.

    As far as the Taoists were concerned, NONE of the people who went up to Chung Yeung Temple that day belonged there (and they didn't). ALL of them had gone there with hostile intent. Why would the Taoists *not* defend their own turf with everything they had?

    If people come into my home uninvited and start threatening me and my family, the last thing I'm going to think about is whether or not I'm being fair to the intruders.
    But when those 5 leaders of QZ temple came, XLN was fighting with their enemy and they began fighting with her instead of their enemy, GWM and Mongolians. They didn't know why XLN has came to their temple and they even didn't ask the reason of her coming before starting to fight with her. And they really joined forces with GWM and his companions and fought 9 against 1 with her.

    Moreover they had gone to seclusion beforehand for finding ways to defeating YG and XLN's martial arts instead of finding ways to defeat the enemy of their country, GWM; therefore they were regarding YG and XLN beforehand as their enemy instead of their really enemy, Mongolians.

    QZ sect in whole ROCH from the beginning to the end didn't show an acceptable picture of them; Their unjust fight with GJ in the beginning, their improper acts with YG & XLN from the beginning to the end, the conspiracy of some of them with Mongolian near the ends of novel and not fighting with Mongolians at the ending fight and running away to a seclusion temple instead of fighting with Mongolians at the end, all and all draw a bad picture of them in ROCH.
    I fell sometimes that JY doesn't regard Taoism as respectful & as merciful as Buddhism in all his novels and maybe this would be a true fact in real world.
    Last edited by Linghu; 03-04-10 at 03:07 PM.
    "The bitterest enemy of you is carnal desires of yourself."

    "The best fight is fight against carnal desires of oneself."

    - The Successor of the Prophet of Islam, Imam Ali peace be upon him

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linghu View Post
    But when those 5 leaders of QZ temple came, XLN was fighting with their enemy and they began fighting with her instead of their enemy, GWM and Mongolians. They didn't know why XLN has came to their temple and they even didn't ask the reason of her coming before starting to fight with her. And they really joined forces with GWM and his companions and fought 9 against 1 with her.
    When someone comes to your home with hostile intents, I don't think it's wise to start asking questions at that point. The Mongols were there to wipe out the Cheun Jen Sect. Little Dragon Girl was also there, and she was armed and clearly not at the Chung Yeung Temple for a social call. During each of Little Dragon Girl's previous visits to the Chung Yeung Temple, some sort of confrontation involving her or her associates (i.e. Granny Sheun, Yeung Gor) had occurred with Cheun Jen Sect personnel. This time, she came expressly to murder the new leader of the Cheun Jen Sect (either Wan Tze Ping or Yan Tze Bing, depending on which edition you go by). In light of all this, who could blame the Taoists for assuming the worst?

    Might as well blame Lam Chiu Ying, Granny Sheun, and Yeung Gor for giving the Cheun Jen Sect Taoists little reason for trusting the motives of Ancient Tomb Sect members. In that situation, who'd be able to sort out the white hats (or robes) from the black hats, especially when they're ALL aiming swords (or razor-edged wheels) at you?

    Moreover they had gone to seclusion beforehand for finding ways to defeating YG and XLN's martial arts instead of finding ways to defeat the enemy of their country, GWM; therefore they were regarding YG and XLN beforehand as their enemy instead of their really enemy, Mongolians.
    Yeung Gor and Little Dragon Girl cannot claim innocence in all this. They *had* attacked Cheun Jen Sect personnel before, and now, one of them was on Cheun Jen Sect territory with weapons and hostile intent.

    If Little Dragon Girl wanted a fair hearing, she should have helped the Cheun Jen Sect repel the Mongols and then open a dialogue with Yau Chui Gei.

    QZ sect in whole ROCH from the beginning to the end didn't show an acceptable picture of them; Their unjust fight with GJ in the beginning, their improper acts with YG & XLN from the beginning to the end, the conspiracy of some of them with Mongolian near the ends of novel and not fighting with Mongolians at the ending fight and running away to a seclusion temple instead of fighting with Mongolians at the end, all and all draw a bad picture of them in ROCH.
    And people complain when I say Jin Yong had an agenda against the Cheun Jen Sect in ROCH...

    Chiu Tze Ging was stupid, but then again...he didn't know Gwok Jing at that point. The Cheun Jen Sect knew that the attackers (Fok Do and his men) were using the signal of striking the rock at the foot of the mountain where Yau Chui Gei had carved a poem. Strictly by accident, Gwok Jing did that at the very moment that Fok Do and his gang were at the Chung Yeung Temple causing problems. In light of what was going on that day, you could hardly blame the Taoists for being jumpy.

    I mean, imagine if that had not been Gwok Jing, but a hostile Mongolian warrior: what IF in that case, the Cheun Jen Sect Taoists did what you're suggesting? They'd be making themselves vulnerable to enemy attack, which would be foolish.

    I fell sometimes that JY doesn't regard Taoism as respectful & as merciful as Buddhism in all his novels and maybe this would be a true fact in real world.
    What about Cheung 3 Fung and the Mo Dong Sect in HSDS, then?

    Compare that to the Buddhist Ngor Mei Sect and even Shaolin in that same novel.

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