Let's talk about Dugu Qiubai

I’ve always wondered what Dugu Qiubai’s Nine Swords of Dugu (Dugu Jiujian) is like. Jin Yong never explained it, understandably so to leave it up to the imagination of us readers. We probably have different ways of picturing the swordplay in our minds.

In Smiling Proudly at the World (XAJH), Linghu Chong was always on the offensive when he used the Nine Swords of Dugu, with the goal of finding the hole in his opponent’s defence to deal the winning strike. Attack was the best defence. His moves were always every changing, even changing in mid stroke. Even when he suffered severe injury to his tendons, he could still defeat his enemies without having to exert much force.

Whereas in the Return of the Condor Heroes (SDXL), Yang Guo depended on his neili (internal energy) cultivation to suppress his foes. He used simple strokes to defeat more complex swordplay and attacks. His moves were formless as according to the teachings of the Nine Swords of Dugu.

Therein lies the source of my confusion. Linghu Chong and Yang Guo had completely different interpretations of the Nine Swords. I think we can all agree that they understood the essence of the Nine Swords, just that they use different ways to express it. This also makes me wonder which style would Dugu Qiubai use? More like Linghu Chong or Yang Guo? Or even a combination of both?

It could also be the weapons they were using. Linghu Chong used a jian whereas Yang Guo wielded a heavy Xuantie sword. The former was faster and more mobile compared to the latter. Yang Guo had immense neili and could put his strikes behind the weight of the sword. Linghu Chong was almost invincible without having to use his neili, so he didn’t have to even if he could summon his inner energy.

What do you think? I would love to learn more about how you imagine the Nine Swords based on the little we can glean from Jin Yong’s novels.