Hong Qi, better known as Hong Qigong,[notes 1] is a fictional character in the wuxia novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes and its sequel, The Return of the Condor Heroes, by Jin Yong. Best known for his most powerful martial arts (the 'Eighteen Dragon-Subduing Palms' and the 'Dog Beating Staff Technique'), Hong Qigong is the chief of the Beggars' Sect and the "Northern Beggar" of the Five Greats. He is nicknamed "Nine Fingered Divine Beggar" after he severs one of his fingers to remind himself to be more time conscious as he has once failed a mission after overindulgence in fine cuisine. He plays a supporting role in the first novel by imparting his skills to Guo Jing and Huang Rong. Huang Rong succeeds him as the Beggars' Sect's chief. Although he appears as a happy-go-lucky old beggar who idles his time away, he actually uses his skills to help those in need and perform chivalrous deeds.
|Created by||Jin Yong|
|Aliases||"Old Beggar" (老叫化),|
|Nicknames||"Northern Beggar" (北丐),|
"Nine Fingered Divine Beggar" (九指神丐)
|Literal meaning||Grandpa Hong Qi|
In The Legend of the Condor HeroesEdit
Little is known of Hong's past, except that he once mentioned that he was a slave of Jurchen officials in the Jin Empire before he joined the Beggars' Sect. He cut off his right forefinger in remorse after failing a mission, which cost a righteous man's life, because of his overindulgence in fine cuisine.
Hong Qigong makes his first appearance in the novel during Guo Jing and Huang Rong's first adventure. Huang Rong is preparing a Beggar's Chicken and the fragrant scent titillates Hong Qigong's senses. He appears and asks to taste the food. Huang Rong examines his physical appearance closely, sees his Dog Beating Staff and missing finger, and concludes that he is the "Northern Beggar".
Huang Rong asks Hong Qigong to teach Guo Jing martial arts. In return, she prepares fine cuisine every day for him. Hong Qigong succumbs to the temptation of delicious food and stays for almost a month with them. During that period of time, he teaches Guo Jing the 'Eighteen Dragon-Subduing Palms'. He was initially suspicious of Huang Rong when he recognises her as the daughter of his rival, Huang Yaoshi. He was reluctant to teach her martial arts but eventually imparts the 'Carefree Fist' to her.
Hong Qigong leaves them after that and meets them again during their encounter with Ouyang Ke. The lecherous Ouyang Ke was attempting to kidnap Cheng Yaojia and rape her, but Guo, Huang and members of the Beggars' Sect save her. Hong Qigong helps them drive away Ouyang Ke. He then formally accepts Guo Jing and Huang Rong as his students and imparts the full set of the 'Eighteen Dragon-Subduing Palms' to Guo Jing. He also teaches Huang Rong the 'Rain of Petals' skill.
Hong Qigong sets foot on Peach Blossom Island later and intervenes in the contest between Guo Jing and Ouyang Ke. Huang Yaoshi allows Hong Qigong, Guo Jing and Zhou Botong to leave Peach Blossom Island later on a damaged ship. The ship sinks in the middle of the sea but the trio are rescued by Ouyang Feng, whose ship sailed past the wreck. On board, Ouyang Feng uses all sorts of means to force Hong Qigong and Guo Jing to hand over the Nine Yin Manual. However, they deliberately wrote a corrupted version of the manual (with verses written in reverse manner) for him, in hope that he will be weakened after practising the skills wrongly.
Hong Qigong and Ouyang Feng start fighting and the former was poisoned when the latter used snake venom on him, and the ship sank. Guo Jing and Huang Rong managed to rescue Hong Qigong and they settle on a nearby island. The Ouyangs also set foot on the island and the five of them are stranded there. Hong Qigong uses all his inner energy to heal himself by purging the poison from his body, but loses his powers in the process.
Hong Qigong decides to pass his position as the Beggars' Sect's chief to Huang Rong and teaches her the 'Dog Beating Staff Technique'. When Hong Qigong, Guo Jing and Huang Rong manage to leave the island, Hong follows them on their adventures together with Zhou Botong. They venture into the palace, where Hong Qigong says he wants to taste imperial cuisine again. When he meets his students again, Guo Jing and Huang Rong now have a better understanding of the Nine Yin Manual and they pass their knowledge to him to help him recover faster. Hong Qigong is briefly mentioned again in the scene on Mount Hua before the novel ends.
In The Return of the Condor HeroesEdit
Hong Qigong makes a brief appearance in the sequel novel. He has regained his powers after losing them earlier in the first novel, and continues to roam the jianghu as a carefree old beggar hunting for culinary delights. He meets Yang Guo on Mount Hua and is impressed with the young man's chivalric nature. He also encounters his old rival, Ouyang Feng.
Hong Qigong and Ouyang Feng fight with each other again – this time for a period of four days. The fight is interrupted when Yang Guo comes at intervals to serve them meals. The animosity between the two rivals is too strong for them to bear and they continue to pit their inner energies against each other for a full day. Both of them suffer from exhaustion but are unwilling to back down to uphold their ego. They decide to use Yang Guo, who has been an observer for the past few days, as an intermediate. They teach Yang Guo their respective skills and ask him to perform for each other to see.
Hong Qigong teaches Yang Guo the 'Dog Beating Staff Technique'. Ouyang Feng had apparently lost after Yang Guo performed the last stance, 'No Dogs Under Heaven'. Ouyang Feng spends the following night thinking of a counter-move. The next morning, he asks Yang Guo to perform in front of Hong Qigong, who is shocked when he sees that Ouyang Feng has overcome his most powerful move. Hong Qigong finally realises that there will be no eventual victor between him and Ouyang Feng. He laughs hysterically and embraces his rival in defeat. At the same time, Ouyang Feng seems to have recovered from his insanity as he finally recognises Hong Qigong. The two of them die together in the midst of laughter and forgotten past feuds. Yang Guo buries them side by side on Mount Hua.
Martial arts and skillsEdit
- 'Eighteen Dragon-Subduing Palms' (降龍十八掌) is the most powerful of all external martial arts mentioned in the novels. The skill is created based on the principles in the Yi Jing.
- 'Dog Beating Staff Technique' (打狗棒法) is a set of 36 styles of staff techniques. The skill is only known to the Beggars' Sect's chief and passed down from each chief to his/her successor.
- 'Carefree Fist' (逍遙遊) is a set of fist techniques created by Hong Qigong in his youth. The skill is smooth and visually appealing but lacks real power.
- 'Rain of Petals' (滿天花雨) is created by Hong Qigong to counter Ouyang Ke's snake formation after he sees Huang Rong's sewing kit. It involves using common sewing needles as dart-like throwing weapons to pin down the snakes.
- Guo Jing and Huang Rong pass their knowledge of the Nine Yin Manual (九陰真經) to Hong Qigong to help him recover from his battle with Ouyang Feng. Hong Qigong practises the skills in the book and regains his powers in the sequel novel.
- The "gong", which means "grandfather" or "grandpa", is actually not part of his name. His apprentices, followers and younger generations call him "Qigong" ("Grandpa Qi") to show their respect for him as an elder and their affection for him as a grandfatherly figure.