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Bruce Lee in Chinese / Japanese...

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Bruce Lee

China lǐ xiǎo lóng
Japan bu ruu su ri
Bruce Lee

Bruce LeeMany people have no idea that Bruce Lee had a "real" Chinese name. In mainland China and Hong Kong he is known as "Li Xiao-Long." He kept his family name pronunciation (Li = Lee). 李小龍 is a common family name that also means "plum."

His given name "Xiao-Long" literally means "little dragon." 李小龍 is why you often see the character for dragon associated with Bruce Lee on various posters etc.

For a pronunciation lesson, the "X" in Romanized Chinese is pronounced like a "sh" sound but with your tongue at the bottom of your mouth. The vowel sound in "Long" is like the English "oh," not like the "ah" sound in the English word "long."

If you are a big Bruce Lee fan, you should know this information, and you should have this wall scroll hanging in your room or martial arts studio.

Note: Japanese use these same exact Chinese characters / Kanji to write Bruce Lee's real name (with different pronunciation - which is a bit like how the name "Bruce Lee" sounds in English).


See Also:  Kung Fu | Marital Arts

Little Dragon

China xiǎo lóng
Little Dragon

This literally means "little dragon" or "young dragon." 小龍 is often used as a given name in Chinese. In fact, Bruce Lee's real given name is "Little Dragon."

Jeet Kune Do

China jié quán dào
HK jeet kune do
Japan sekken dou
Jeet Kune Do

In Cantonese, this is Jeet Kune Do. Often it is explained as the "Way of the Intercepting Fist." 截拳道 is a martial art style founded by Bruce Lee.

The first character means to cut-off or sever.
The second character is fist.
The last character means way or method.

Kung Fu / Gong Fu

China gōng fu
HK gung fu
Japan kan fu / ku fu
Kung Fu / Gong Fu

One of the most famous types of martial arts in the world - and not just because of Bruce Lee.

Some translate the meaning as "Accomplishment by Great Effort." I think this is partially true but directly translated it literally means "Merit/Achievement/Accomplishment Man." The word "fu" can sometimes mean "husband" or "porter" but in this case, it can only mean "man." However, few in China will think "man" when they hear the word "Gong Fu" spoken.

This term is also used for things other than martial arts. In fact, it's used to refer to a person with excellent skills in crafts that require a great deal of effort such as cooking, tea ceremonies, and calligraphy.

What a lot of people don't know is that the spelling of "Kung Fu" was actually taken from the old Wade Giles form of Romanization. Using this method, the sounds of the English "G" and "K" were both written as "K" and an apostrophe after the "K" told you it was supposed to sound like a "G." Nobody in the west knew this rule, so most people pronounce it with a "K-sound." And so Gong Fu will always be Kung Fu for most westerners.

Also, just to educate you a little more, the "O" in "Gong" has a sound like the English word "oh."

The popular Chinese dish "Kung Pao Chicken" suffers from the same problem. It should actually be "Gong Bao Chicken."

Historical note: Many will claim that Kung Fu was invented by the monks of the Shaolin monastery. This fact is argued in both directions by scholars of Chinese history. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Shaolin Monks brought the original fame to Kung Fu many generations ago.


Japanese note: While most Japanese martial artists will recognize these characters, Katakana is more often used to approximate the pronunciation of "Kung Fu" with "カンフー." Some will argue as to whether this should be considered a Japanese word at all.


Not the results for bruce lee that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your bruce lee search...

Characters

If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Pronunciation
Romanization
Simple Dictionary Definition

葉問

see styles
Mandarin yè wèn / ye4 wen4
Taiwan yeh wen
Chinese Yip Man (1893-1972), martial arts practitioner, master of Bruce Lee

截拳道

see styles
Mandarin jié quán dào / jie2 quan2 dao4
Taiwan chieh ch`üan tao / chieh chüan tao
Japanese jiikundoo / jikundoo / ジークンドー
Kung Fu / Gong Fu
Chinese Jeet Kun Do or Way of the Intercepting Fist, a fusion of Eastern and Western martial arts led by Bruce Lee 李小龍|李小龙[Li3 Xiao3 long2]
Japanese {MA} Jeet Kune Do; Way of the Intercepting Fist (martial art founded by Bruce Lee)

李小龍

see styles
Mandarin lǐ xiǎo lóng / li3 xiao3 long2
Taiwan li hsiao lung
Chinese Bruce Lee (1940-1973), Hong Kong actor and martial arts expert

李國豪

see styles
Mandarin lǐ guó háo / li3 guo2 hao2
Taiwan li kuo hao
Chinese Brandon Lee (1965-1993), American actor, son of Bruce Lee

李振藩

see styles
Mandarin lǐ zhèn fān / li3 zhen4 fan1
Taiwan li chen fan
Chinese Li Zhenfan (1940-1973), real name of the actor Bruce Lee 李小龍|李小龙[Li3 Xiao3 long2]

Search for Bruce Lee in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Bruce Lee李小龍
李小龙
bu ruu su ri
buruusuri
bu ru su ri
burusuri
lǐ xiǎo lóng
li3 xiao3 long2
li xiao long
lixiaolong
li hsiao lung
lihsiaolung
Little Dragon小龍
小龙
xiǎo lóng
xiao3 long2
xiao long
xiaolong
hsiao lung
hsiaolung
Jeet Kune Do截拳道sekken dou / sekkendou / seken do / sekendojié quán dào
jie2 quan2 dao4
jie quan dao
jiequandao
chieh ch`üan tao
chiehchüantao
chieh chüan tao
Kung Fu
Gong Fu
功夫kan fu / ku fu
kanfu / kufu
gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfukung fu / kungfu
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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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

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.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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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