spreaking from a strictly wuxia view point...
Confusing Jiang Hu - 江湖 - with an organization of Xia is a common misintrepreation of the concept.
As there seems to be mixed amounts of familiarity with the genre, I will post a brief intro to the Wuxia genre. Please note that this is an atempt to get various fans of the Kung Fu action scene all on the same page, and is not meant to be patronizing or preachy..
武俠 Wu Xia
He is honest in words, effective in action, faithful in keeping promises, fearless in offering his own life to free the righteous from bondage.
-- Sima Qian
The word wuxia is composed of two characters. The first character, wu is used to describe things having to do with martial arts, war, or the military. The second character, xia refers to the type of protagonist found in wuxia fiction, and is also a synonym for chivalry. Thus, wuxia fiction is translated as martial-chivalric fiction. Most gamers become familiar with wuxia, through films such as A Chinese Ghost Story, Swordsman and Zu.
The wuxia genre is particular to Chinese culture, because it is a unique blend of the martial arts philosophy of xia developed through the centuries, and the country's long history in wushu. In Japan, samurai bushido traditions share some aspects with Chinese martial xia philosophy. Although the xia or "chivalry" concept is often translated as "knights", "chivalrous warriors" or "knights-errant", most xia aspects are so rooted in the social and cultural milieu of ancient China that it is impossible to find an exact translation in the Western world.
The traditional xia of fiction is a non-conformist who fights for justice. He is honorable to a fault, his word is inviolable, and his reputation is more important than life itself. Moreover, he is a master of the martial arts who does not hesitate to use his skills in the defense of his beliefs. This type of xia is the idealized version of the heroic xia, and is primarily encountered in modern fiction and cinema. A less romanticized description of xia can be drawn from history and more traditional fiction. This xia is also a swordsman, but one who is more dogmatic than altruistic. He is a champion for any cause to which he has pledged his loyalty, be it benevolent or otherwise. This definition takes into account the sometimes dubious nature of actions performed by xia.
Modern wuxia novels outlined values complimentary to Confucius' teachings concerning the virtues of Ru (excellence, scholarship) but combined this with a willingness to use force. The codes of xia was often synonymous with Tao, although the paths prescribed in the Tao Te Ching never advocated the use of force.
The xiaembody all of the traits of the junzi (Confucian gentleman), among them: ren (benevolence), zhong (loyalty), yong (bravery) and yi (righteousness).
What really sets the xia apart from society was their value on individualism, and their willingness to use force to achieve their aims. Thus despite the fact that most of their beliefs are quite mainstream, xia are seen as a part of the counterculture. The individualism of the xia manifests itself as non-conformity with respect to certain traditional conventions. Xia characters are sometimes criticized for placing personal loyalty above family loyalty. Often, an oath sworn to a stranger was considered more important than the unspoken obligation between family members. This is a serious breech of Confucian propriety. To further outrage social convention, many xia have great disregard for authority. Those who are ostensibly their social superiors are often treated with open contempt, while those of humble status are shown great courtesy. Some characterize this behavior as rebelliousness, but in many cases it ia due to a sense of egalitarianism.
The Jiang hu
Enticing from without; awesome from within.
Jiang Hu - 江湖 - (literally means "rivers and lakes") is the wuxia parallel universe - the alternative world of martial artists and pugilists, usually congregrating in sects, disciplines and schools of martial arts learnings. It has been described as a kind of "shared world" alternate universe, inhabited by wandering knights and princes, thieves and beggars, priests and healers, merchants and craftspeople. It corresponds roughly to America's Wild West genre.
A common aspect to jiang hu is the tacit suggestion that the courts of law or courts of jurisdiction are dysfunctional and corrupt. Differences can only be resolved by force, predicating the need for xia and their chivalrous ways.
Although wuxia is based on real life martial arts, the genre elevates these arts to rediculous proportions.
relatively standard abilites of the xia include:
zhao - the ability to fend off armed foes
qinggong - the ability to move swiftly and lightly, often defying gravity. Perhaps the signature ability to the Western audience.
neijin - the ability to harness and direct Chi as an attack or use it to attain superhuman endurance
xue - mastery of pressurepoints to paralyze of kill an opponent.
improvised weaponry - the use of chairs, chop-sticks, ink brushes as leathal weapons.
Their fame has spread in the same manner as calling down the wind: even though the voice is not loud, the wind carries it a long way.
-- Sima Qian
Book and Sword
Chu Liu Xiang
Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain
The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre
Little Li's Flying Dagger
Righteous Blood Cleansing Silver Spear
White Horse in the West Wind
The Legendary Siblings
Torching the Red Lotus Temple
Ru Lai Shen Zhang
Dragon Gate Inn
The One-armed Swordsman
A Touch of Zen
The Magic Blade
Zu - Warriors from the Magic Mountain
Ashes of Time
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
House of Flying Daggers
Much of this info was taken from Wikipedia.org
I hope that helps to better understand the genre.
'tis an ill wind that blows no minds..