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Wu Wei is a Daoist (Taoist) tenet, that speaks to the idea of letting nature take its course.
Some will say it's about knowing when to take action and when not to. In reality, it's more about not going against the flow. What is going to happen is controlled by the Dao (Tao), for which one who follows the Dao will not resist or struggle against.
There is a lot more to this concept but chances are, if you are looking for this entry, you already know the expanded concept.
Warning: Outside of Daoist context, this means idleness or inactivity (especially in Japanese where very few know this as a Daoist concept).
武術 is the very Chinese way to express "Martial Arts." Some even use this word to directly describe Kung Fu. But this is a label that fits all disciplines from Karate to Kung Fu to Taekwondo.
Note: This also means Martial Arts with the same appearance in old Korean Hanja characters and is pronounced "musul" or "musur" in Korean.
While this is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean, this also means "martial arts" in Japanese.
This two-character title is used for a certain type of martial arts. You can translate this roughly as "Excellent Marital Arts" or "Excellence in Martial Arts." You will notice that the second character is "wu" as in wushu (martial arts) and wushi (warrior).
More information can be found at the Jing Mo website. You should probably only order this if you are a member of this association.
Note that "jing mo" is the Cantonese pronunciation of these characters. In Mandarin, they are "jing wu."
Also used in Korean but only by those involved with martial arts who can also read Korean Hanja (a small percentage of the population).
西施 is the Chinese title for Xishi, who lived around 450 BC. She was a famous Chinese beauty, perhaps the foremost of the Four Beauties (四大美女). She was given by King Gou Jian of the Yue Kingdom as a concubine to the King of Wu. This was part of an elaborate plan to destroy the Wu Kingdom - and it worked.
Note: In Japanese, this can be an unrelated given name, Seishi. Though the Xishi story is somewhat known in Japan.
武 is the essence or spirit of a warrior. 武 is part of the word "wu shu" which is sometimes translated as "martial arts" or "kung fu."
In more modern speech and other context, this can mean military, martial, warlike, fierce, and perhaps violent but usually as a prefix for a longer word or phrase.
The idea of "morality of deed" goes along with "wu de" (martial morality or virtues of the warrior).
Here, the first character is a representation of the actions or deeds that you engage in.
The second character refers to morality or virtue.
This translates better in English in the opposite order, as the Chinese order is literally "deed morality."
愛慕 means "adoring love" in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
I suppose this is the best kind of love to have. 愛慕 has the well-known character for love. But the second character modifies and reinforces the meaning to become adore, adoring love, or to love and adore.
Ancient Chinese warning:
Adoring someone is fine until you are in the shoes of the Prince of the Kingdom of Wu. This Prince adored a certain beautiful woman (Xi Shi) so much that he neglected his duties, and soon let the kingdom fall into ruins.
The idea of "morality of mind" goes along with "wu de" (martial morality or virtues of the warrior).
Here, the first character is a representation of your heart or mind.
The second character refers to morality or virtue.
This can also be translated as "morality of heart," "virtue of heart," or "virtue of the mind."
Note that since ancient times in Asia, the idea of your mind (the place where your soul resides, and your thought originate from) has been associated with the heart. Just as in western culture where we say "it comes from the heart," or "heartfelt emotions," there is a belief that your heart and mind are one and the same (medical science now begs to differ).
五行太極拳 is a certain school or style of Tai Chi (Taiji). The characters literally mean "Five Elements Tai Chi Fist."
In Taiwan, it would be Romanized as "Wu Hsing Tai Chi Chuan" - see the standard Mandarin method above in the gray box (used in mainland China and the official Romanization used by the Library of Congress).
The last three characters are sometimes translated as "Grand Ultimate Fist," so the whole thing can be "Five Elements Grand Ultimate Fist" if you wish.
I have not confirmed the use of this title in Korean but if it is used, it's probably only by martial arts enthusiasts. The pronunciation is correct as shown above for Korean.
This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.
Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.
Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair."
If you translate each character, you'd have something like,
"Big/Deep Justice Without Self."
Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish." The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice."
One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair." So that is the short and simple version.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.
This form of martial arts can be translated in several ways. Some will call it "fist principles" or "the way of the fist," or even "law of the fist." The first character literally means fist. The second can mean law, method, way, principle or Buddhist teaching.
Kempo is really a potluck of martial arts. Often a combination of Chinese martial arts such as Shaolin Kung Fu with Japanese martial arts such as Karate, Jujutsu (Jujitsu), Aikido, and others. You may see the term "Kempo Karate" which basically means Karate with other disciplines added. In this way, Kempo becomes an adjective rather than a title or school of martial arts.
These facts will long be argued by various masters and students of Kempo. Even the argument as to whether it should be spelled "kenpo" or "Kempo" ensues at dojos around the world (the correct Romaji should actually be "kenpou" if you precisely follow the rules).
The benefit of Kempo is that the techniques are easier to learn and master compared to pure Kung Fu (wu shu). Students are often taught basic Karate moves, kicks, and punches before augmenting the basic skills with complex Kung Fu techniques. This allows students of Kempo achieve a level where they can defend themselves or fight in a relatively short amount of time (a few years rather than a decade or more).
Because the definition of this word is so fluid, I should make some notes here:
1. Purists in Okinawa will claim that "Okinawa Kenpo" or "Ryukyu Hon Kenpo" is the original and true version of this martial art from the old kingdom. There is actually little or no connection between Okinawa Kenpo and the way the word is used elsewhere.
2. In Chinese, where these characters are pronounced "quan fa" (sometimes Romanized as "chuan fa" because the Chinese-pinyin "q" actually sounds like an English "ch" sound), these characters do not hold the connotation of being a mixed martial art. It is simply defined as "the law of the fist."
3. In my Japanese dictionary, it oddly defines Kenpo as "Chinese art of self-defense." I personally don't feel this is the most common way that people perceive the word but just something you should know.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Wu Xing Fist||五形拳||gokeiken||wǔ xíng quán|
wu3 xing2 quan2
wu xing quan
|wu hsing ch`üan
wu hsing chüan
|mui||wú wéi / wu2 wei2 / wu wei / wuwei|
|bujutsu||wǔ shù / wu3 shu4 / wu shu / wushu|
|精武||jīng wǔ / jing1 wu3 / jing wu / jingwu||ching wu / chingwu|
|西施||sei shi / seishi||xī shī / xi1 shi1 / xi shi / xishi||hsi shih / hsishih|
|Shaolin Martial Arts||少林武功||shǎo lín wǔ gōng|
shao3 lin2 wu3 gong1
shao lin wu gong
|shao lin wu kung
|wǔ dāng quán|
wu3 dang1 quan2
wu dang quan
|wu tang ch`üan
wu tang chüan
|武||bu||wǔ / wu3 / wu|
|Morality of Deed||行德||xíng dé / xing2 de2 / xing de / xingde||hsing te / hsingte|
|ai bou / aibou / ai bo / aibo||ài mù / ai4 mu4 / ai mu / aimu|
|Morality of Mind||心德||xīn dé / xin1 de2 / xin de / xinde||hsin te / hsinte|
|Five Elements Tai Chi Fist||五行太極拳|
|go gyou tai kyoku ken|
go gyo tai kyoku ken
|wǔ xíng tài jí quán|
wu3 xing2 tai4 ji2 quan2
wu xing tai ji quan
|wu hsing t`ai chi ch`üan
wu hsing tai chi chüan
|Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial||大公無私|
|dà gōng wú sī|
da4 gong1 wu2 si1
da gong wu si
|ta kung wu ssu
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.|
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.
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When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
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The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
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We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.
Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.
There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.
Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.
The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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