Names of Martial Arts Techniques
Should I involve more martial arts this time? Martial arts in Wuxia fiction is, of course, different from what we know of in real life. Techniques in Wuxia fiction are portrayed with tremendous exaggerations to the point of magical and fantastic. Yet, the world of martial arts epics is so well established, so deeply embedded in Asian literature, that the unbelievable feats and superhuman skills become the norm.
I’ve read stories where great warriors, skilled in the movement of internal energy, was able to drink unlimited quantities of alcohol because they can internally redirect the alcohol and expel from their fingertips (I thought I can handle my whiskey!)
I’m not sure I want to write a fairytale, not even a dark one, but sometimes I wonder whether this time, with my second novel, I can bend the martial arts just a little more. Maybe push it to the boundary of possible and believable, and see how it sounds in English.
In traditional martial arts fiction, great emphasis is placed in naming the various techniques, establishing a lineage for them, and comparing them against each other. Here, the talent of the martial artist is irrelevant. The power and sophistication of the technique, or the lineage of the chi gong matters more.
I’ve decided I’m going to name a lot of the more important techniques this time. I need fancy names that sound good in English. “Monkey Steals the Peach” is a popular one. Almost every kung fu system has a similar technique. But a four-word name is too clumsy. Maybe I should avoid naming individual techniques, unless I come across a spectacular one that I have to reference over and over again. Maybe I should try to name Martial Arts systems, or lineages.
The name Swallow Flip, which I read from a Musashi novel, immediately came to mind. It’s simple, it’s not exaggerated or overly pretentious, and sounds authentic. I wonder if it would be easy to come up with simple but colorful names. The “Side Kick” is just not interesting enough for fiction.