Overuse of the term Sect

Many factions in wuxia are translated as Sects, either out of tradition or just habit, I’m not sure. But there are just too many and they don’t really convey the meanings of what these factions stand for.

Here’s the definition of the term sect:

A sect is a subgroup of a religious, political, or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger group. Although the term was originally a classification for religious separated groups, it can now refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles.

So it applies to groups like the Eastern/Western Sects of Wuliang Sword or the Sword or Qi Sects of Huashan Sword, since these are splinters of the original faction.

Whereas Wuliang Sword or Huashan Sword are factions that formed because people admired and wanted to practice the martial arts of the founder(s). This is usually because the founding master has a certain set of beliefs and principles in the style of martial arts. I’m still undecided on the naming for these, though it’s easier to name factions that have very specific styles compared to those with broader beliefs.

Then there are those with religious backgrounds that are more of an Order, such as Shaolin and Wudang. Quanzhen would be considered a sect since it is a branch of Wudang.

Hi Jenxi

With this regard, it is true like you said. However I have not read variety enough in Wuxia genre, only those from JY (for some unknown reasons, other authors could not keep my attention) .

For example in HSDS

  • The Gaibang should be called just the Gaibang, not the Gaibang sect. From my understanding (I could be wrong), the Gaibang is an organization, they don’t have anything to do with religion. The leader of the Gaibang is called Bangzhu.

  • The Ming Sect ( in some TV adaptation’s subtitled) should be called The Ming Cult. Their leader is called Jiaozhu

  • Emei is not a sect but a martial art school (is there a better word than school). Their leader is called Jiaomen.

There are a few others, though, I don’t know if I understand it correctly.


what is it called for the head of escort agency?

Most translated it as Leader or Chief for Escort Agency I believe.

@atumiwa The members of the escort agency are called Escorts. Their leader is called the Chief Escort.

Yeah, while I am satisfied with “sect” due to inertia, it really doesn’t describe what a “派” is. Sect is more of a belief based thing, IMO both 门 and 派 should be “Clan”, partly because they are very familial structures and partly because there is already precedent for Wudang to be translated as the Wu-Tang Clan - Wikipedia…but mostly because Clans within the context of online games are like almost a perfect 1-to-1 match for what the concept of a wuxia 派 is, being an organization of participants that are part of a greater community which is in turn defined by a particular skill, whose purpose is to impart proficiency in that skill for the purpose of competing against rival organizations.

I would think there’s a bit of leeway regarding subdivisions within a single Sect/Clan. “Faction” is probably more appropriate for the Huashan case given the political allegory nature of that book. I forget the exact details of the Wuliang Sword, but “Branch” might be more appropriate there.

帮 is a bit more difficult, as while it’s like a gang, English doesn’t refer to gangs with the same nomenclature. Like you wouldn’t refer to them as the Bloods Gang or the Crips Gang, they’re just the Bloods and the Crips. I suppose you can meld it with 会 and refer to both as “Association”?

“Escort Agencies” are a little unfortunately named, due to the connotations of “escort”, but I can’t really think of an elegant title that gets the concept across.

to make it more headache than just a “sect” , these are some related term i found when reading wuxia novel

  • Sect = pai in mandarin?
  • Cult = ex: ming cult
  • Gang =
  • Escort Agency
  • Palace = ex: yihua palace in juedai shuangjiao
  • Valley = ex: passionless valley in roch
  • Organization
  • Fortress
  • Manor
  • School
  • Association/union = like Beggar’s sect,i dont know why many people call them sect, isnt union is more appropriate?
  • Clan
  • Family = jia
  • Alliance
  • island lord or cave lord (peach blossom island, island master and cave master in DGSD or ode to gallantry, etc)
  • Martial Arts Temple? (example: Heavenly Dragon Monastery in DGSD)
  • Society / club
  • Faction