A while back I had a line pop into my head while I was taking a shower:

Give me an army and I can conquer nations. Give me one man with a purpose, and I can change the world.

There was nothing attached to it, no direction meant to come from it. Just a rather interesting, and probably factually true statement.

I scribbled it down, then went on my way.

In the weeks since, I’ve been watching a lot of Wuxia movies. And thinking that, hey, these crazy people that are flipping around in the air, taking down whole armies with a flip of their hair, focusing their chi into crazy shockwaves…they’re basically just Asian superheroes. Minus the costumes and the bad social commentary, of course.

And thinking along that line, I realized something else. In most Wuxia stories, the protagonist is some one who is ALREADY capable, but instead is forced by destiny to take on this enormous task. That differs from Western superhero stories where in nearly every case, the protagonist has the capabilities thrust upon them. (IE: Spider-Man is bitten to become the hero. Li Mu Bai just trained his whole life.)

It also adds this interesting spin where the hero in the Wuxia genre is READY for what’s coming at them. Sure, it’s going to be a challenge, but this is the road they chose. It gives it a maturity of purpose that Western superheroes just can’t touch.

So what does Wuxia have to do with the quote?

Well, isn’t the essence of a martial arts hero a man with a purpose fighting back armies?

-Western in this case means “Not Asian”. This has nothing to do with cowboys.
-Wuxia (pronounced woo-ja), is a traditional Asian martial action movie genre. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is probably the one you are most familiar with. They’re basically even more over the top kung-fu movies where people use weapons and do crazy wire stunts.