Huashan Sect was originally the most powerful of the five allied sects. Unfortunately, it became divided into two factions: the Qi faction, which emphasized the cultivation of internal energy before learning sword techniques and the Sword faction, which focused on acquiring sword techniques and mastering its use and making internal energy cultivation a secondary emphasis. While the Sword faction was in the majority, the Qi faction managed to gain control of Huashan mountain and leadership of the sect through a ruse, forcing the other faction to leave the sect into exile or take their own lives. Because of the feud, the sect's strength was severely weakened and consequently, the Songshan sect gained control of the leadership of the five sects. In general, the Sword faction possessed more innovative and creative sword techniques and skills, while the Qi faction relied on having strong internal energy and brute power, but were less creative and skilful with the sword.
The origin of the split arose when Yue Su and Cai Zifeng, martial brothers from Huashan and the best of friends, went to the Shaolin temple and stumbled upon a manual written by a eunuch called the Sunflower Manual. In an effort to copy the manual, the two each read half of the manual and memorized it before return to Huashan. However, when they tried putting their parts together, much of the content was incomprehensible. Consequently, each believed his memory and interpretation to be correct and the other person's to be incorrect. However, from the individual parts that each of them had memorized, neither one could come up with or practice anything substantial either. From this, these two men who were once best of friends became rivals and helped to cause the rift between members of Huashan. Yue Su became the founder of the Qi faction and Cai Zifeng became the Sword branch's founder. The Shaolin abbott, upon realization of the nature of the Sunflower Manual and the inherent dangers of its practice, sent a monk, Du Yuan (渡元), to dissuade them from practicing the methods found there. The two martial brothers, who apologized to Du Yuan for what they had done and admitted their doings, asked Du Yuan, to help them understand the manual.
Unknown to the two Huashan masters, the monk had never heard of the manual or practised the martial arts contained within. However, he was able to make logical conclusions from what Yue Su and Cai Zifeng recited. From the recollections of the two Huashan masters and the monk's understanding, a manual was able to be formed. At the same time, however, Du Yuan began to be seduced by the manual and began secretly memorizing these recollections. Using his recollections of the dialogue between him and the Huashan masters, the monk made his own copy of the manual on his cassock or robe. Later, the monk fled the Shaolin temple and renounced his vows, returning to secular life as Lin Yuantu, the great-grandfather of Lin Pingzhi, compiling the Bixie Sword Manual. The two Huashan masters' disagreements were never resolved and as a result, led to the formation of the Sword and Qi factions. The copy, which they compiled, was stolen and became the Sunflower Manual in the hands of the Sun-Moon Cult.
Though the two masters eventually died while fighting the Sun-Moon Cult members who came to Huashan to steal the manual. Their disagreement over which training should take precedence, internal energy cultivation or swordsmanship continued within the factions they created. Each argued that the other side had turn away from orthodoxy by forgetting the teachings of the past Huashan masters. Disagreements between the sides eventually grew to the point that an all-out war between the two factions took place, taking the lives of many masters and students. Using a ruse to lure Feng Qingyang, the Sword faction's greatest swordsman and Huashan's best swordsman away from Huashan, the Qi faction was able to eventually win control of the school and drive out the Sword faction members into exile. Feng Qingyang, who realized that he had been tricked, chose to stay in exile in the backhill of Huashan as a recluse.