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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.
This is the martial arts title "Pushing Hands".
This is the title for two-person training routines practiced in internal Chinese martial arts such as Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan), Liuhebafa, Chuan Fa, and Yiquan.
The first character means "pushing".
The second character means "hand" (or "hands").
This term can be romanized as "Tui Sau", "Tui Sao", or from Mandarin, "Tui Shou".
If you are looking for this term, chances are, you already know the meaning within the context of Tai Chi and other martial arts.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your chuan fa search...
|Character Images||Characters / Kanji
If shown, second row is Simplified Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| chuàn / chuan4
ch`uan / chuan
| armlet; bracelet; surname Chuan
(archaism) bracelet (usu. dating from the Kofun period)
|大品|| Dà pǐn / Da4 pin3
Ta p`in / Ta pin
| The larger, or fuller edition of a canonical work, work, especially of the next. | | 般若經 ; 摩訶般若波羅蜜經 The Mahaprajnaparamita sutra as tr. by Kumarajiva in 27 chuan, in contrast with the 10 chuan edition.
|智顗|| zhì yǐ / zhi4 yi3
| Zhiyi (538-597), founder of the Tiantai sect of Buddhism
Zhiyi, founder of the Tiantai school, also known as 智者 and 天台 (天台大師); his surname was 陳 Chen; his 字 was 德安, De-an; born about A. D. 538, he died in 597 at 60 years of age. He was a native of 頴川 Ying-chuan in Anhui, became a neophyte at 7, was fully ordained at 20. At first a follower of 慧思, Huisi, in 575 he went to the Tiantai mountain in Chekiang, where he founded his famous school on the Lotus Sūtra as containing the complete gospel of the Buddha.
| Zhōng biān lùn / Zhong1 bian1 lun4
Chung pien lun
| A treatise by Vasubandhu, translated by Xuanzang in three chuan and by 陳眞諦Chen Zhen-ti in two fascicles. It is an explanation of the 辨中邊論頌 Madhyānta-vibhāga-śāstra, said to have been given by Maitreya to Asaṅga.
| jiǔ huì shuō / jiu3 hui4 shuo1
chiu hui shuo
| The Huayan sutra 華嚴經 in its older sixty chuan version is said to have been delivered at eight assemblies in seven places; the newer eighty chuan at nine assemblies in seven places; cf. 九處.
| Wǔ yùn lùn / Wu3 yun4 lun4
Wu yün lun
| 大乘五蘊論 A śāstra by Vasubandhu on the Mahāyāna interpretation of the five skandhas, tr. by Xuanzang; 1 chuan. Other works are the 五蘊皆空經 tr. by Yijing of the Tang dynasty. 五蘊譬喩經 tr. by 安世高 An Shih Kao of the Han dynasty: both are in the 雜阿含經 2 and 10 respectively; also 五蘊論釋 a commentary by Vinītaprabha.
| Dà rì jīng / Da4 ri4 jing1
Ta jih ching
| The Vairocana sutra, styled in full 毘盧遮那成佛神變加持經, tr. in the Tang dynasty by Śubhākarasiṃha 善無畏 in 7 chuan, of which the first six are the text and the seventh instructions for worship. It is one of the three sutras of the esoteric school. Its teaching pairs with that of the 金剛頂經. There are two versions of notes and comments on the text, the 大日經疏 20 chuan, and 大日經義疏 14 chuan; and other works, e.g. 大日經義釋; 大日經不思議疏; 大日經義軌 in four versions with different titles.
| Dà yì jīng / Da4 yi4 jing1
Ta i ching
| tr. by Gunabhadra of the Liu Sung dynasty, 1 chuan.
| tài jí quán / tai4 ji2 quan2
t`ai chi ch`üan / tai chi chüan
| shadowboxing or Taiji, T'aichi or T'aichichuan; traditional form of physical exercise or relaxation; a martial art
(martial arts term) grand ultimate fist; Tai Chi Chuan
More info / calligraphy:
Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan
|形意拳|| xíng yì quán / xing2 yi4 quan2
hsing i ch`üan / hsing i chüan
keiiken / keken けいいけん
| Xingyiquan (Chinese martial art)
(martial arts term) shape-of-the-mind fist; Hsing I Chuan
More info / calligraphy:
Xing Yi Quan
|四分律|| Sì fēn lǜ / Si4 fen1 lv4
Ssu fen lü
| The four-division Vinaya or discipline of the Dharmagupta school, divided into four sections of 20, 15, 14, and 11 chuan. The 四分律藏 Dharma-gupta-vinaya was tr. in A. D. 405 by Buddhayasas and 竺佛念 Chu Fo-nien; the 四分比丘尼羯磨法 Dharmagupta-bhikṣuṇī-karman was tr. by Gunavarman in 431: and there are numerous other works of this order.
|二十犍度|| èr shí jiān dù / er4 shi2 jian1 du4
erh shih chien tu
| The twenty skandhas intp. as 章篇 sections or chapters, i.e. the thirty-one to the fifty-three chuan of the 四分律, beginning with受戒犍度 and ending with 雜犍度; they are twenty sections containing rules for the monastic life and intercourse.
| Dà zhì dù lùn / Da4 zhi4 du4 lun4
Ta chih tu lun
Dai chido ron
| A śāstra ascribed to Nāgārjuna on the greater Prajna-paramita sutra; the sastra was tr. by Kumārajīva, A.D. 397―415, in 100 chuan.
| Chuán fǎ bǎo jì / Chuan2 fa3 bao3 ji4
Ch`uan fa pao chi / Chuan fa pao chi
| Chuan fabao ji
| sì lǜ wǔ lùn / si4 lv4 wu3 lun4
ssu lü wu lun
| The four vinaya and the five śāstras. The four vinaya 四律, or disciplinary regulations, are the 十誦律 Sarvāstivāda version tr. in 61 chuan by Punyatara; 四分律 Dharmagupta's version, tr. in 60 chuan by Buddhayaśas; 僧祗律 Sāṃghika version or Mahāsāṃghika version, tr. in 40 chuan, by Buddhabhadra; and 五部律 Mahīśāsaka version, tr. in 30 chuan by Buddhajīva and others, also known as Mahīśāsaka-nikāya-pañcavargavinaya. The five śāstras 五論 are 毘尼母論; 摩得勒伽論; 善見論; 薩婆多論; and 明了論. v. 論.
| Dà pǐn bō rě jīng / Da4 pin3 bo1 re3 jing1
Ta p`in po je ching / Ta pin po je ching
Daihon hannya kyō
| 摩訶般若波羅蜜經 The Mahāprajñāpāramitā-sūtra as tr. by Kumārajīva in 27 chuan, in contrast with the 10 chuan edition.
| Dà shù Jǐn nà luó / Da4 shu4 Jin3 na4 luo2
Ta shu Chin na lo
| The King of the mahādruma Kinnaras, Indra's musicians, who lives on Gandha-mādana. His sutra is 大樹緊那羅王所門經, 4 chuan, tr. by Kumārajīva.
| Fǎ huā jīng zhuàn jì / Fa3 hua1 jing1 zhuan4 ji4
Fa hua ching chuan chi
|This term is used in Buddhism, but due to a licensing issue, we cannot show the definition
| Dà shéng zhuāng yán jīng lùn / Da4 sheng2 zhuang1 yan2 jing1 lun4
Ta sheng chuang yen ching lun
Daijō sōgon kyō ron
| Mahāyānasūtra-laṃkāra-ṭīkā. An exposition of the teachings of the Vijñāna-vāda School, by Asaṅga, tr. A.D. 630-3 by Prabhākaramitra. 13 chuan.
| Chuān lǎo Jīn gāng jīng zhù / Chuan1 lao3 Jin1 gang1 jing1 zhu4
Ch`uan lao Chin kang ching chu / Chuan lao Chin kang ching chu
Senrō Kongōkyō chū
|This term is used in Buddhism, but due to a licensing issue, we cannot show the definition
| Fāng guǎn gda zhuāng yán jīng / Fang1 guan3 gda4 zhuang1 yan2 jing1
Fang kuan gda chuang yen ching
Hōkō dai shōgon kyō
| A vaipulya sutra, the Lalita-vistara, in 12 chuan, giving an account of the Buddha in the Tuṣita heaven and his descent to earth as Śākyamuni: tr. by Divākara under the Tang dynasty; another tr. is the 普曜經.
| dà fāng guǎng fó huá yán jīng / da4 fang1 guang3 fo2 hua2 yan2 jing1
ta fang kuang fo hua yen ching
Daihōkō butsu kegon kyō
| Avatamsaka sutra of the Huayan school; also called Buddhavatamsaka-mahavaipulya Sutra, the Flower adornment sutra or the Garland sutra
Buddhāvataṃsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra ; the Avataṃsaka, Hua-yen, or Kegon sutra ; tr. by Buddhabhadra and others A.D. 418-420. The various translations are in 60, 80, and 40 chuan, v. 華嚴經.
| Dà fāng guǎng rú lái mì mì zàng jīng / Da4 fang1 guang3 ru2 lai2 mi4 mi4 zang4 jing1
Ta fang kuang ju lai mi mi tsang ching
Daihōkō nyorai himitsuzō kyō
| Tathāgatagarbha-sūtra, tr. A.D.350-431, idem 大方等如來藏經, tr. by Buddhabhadra A.D. 417-420, 1 chuan.
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 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.
The scroll that I am holding in this picture is a "medium size"
4-character wall scroll.
As you can see, it is a great size to hang on your wall.
(We also offer custom wall scrolls in larger sizes)
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.
If your search is not successful, just post your request on our forum, and we'll be happy to do research or translation for any reasonable request.
Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...
A Life of Serenity|
A New Life
A Vast Sky Full of Stars
Be True to Yourself
Belierve in Yourself
Bless and Protect
Cause and Effect
Dragon and Phoenix
|Dragon Tiger Spirit|
Forever in My Heart
Four Noble Truths
Glory and Honor
God is Always With You
God is Love
Grace from Heaven
|I Am Enough|
I Love You
I Need You
Live for the Moment
Live for Today
Live Laugh Love
Live Love Die
Love and Devotion
Love for A Child
Love for Humanity
Love of My Life
Love You Forever
One Life One Chance
One True Love
Pursuit of Happiness
Sincerity and Devotion
Soldier of God
Spirit of the Tiger
Tae Kwon Do
Trust in God
Trust No Man
Trust No One
Wisdom from Hard Knocks
Year of the Dragon
With so many searches, we had to upgrade to our own Linux server.
Of course, only one in 500 searches results in a purchase - Hey buy a wall scroll!!!
The following table is only helpful for those studying Chinese (or Japanese), and perhaps helps search engines to find this page when someone enters Romanized Chinese or Japanese
|Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa||拳法|
|Pushing Hands / Tui Sau||推手|
If you have not set up your computer to display Chinese, the characters in this table probably look like empty boxes or random text garbage.
This is why I spent hundreds of hours making images so that you could view the characters in the "chuan fa" listings above.
If you want your Windows computer to be able to display Chinese characters you can either head to your Regional and Language options in your Win XP control panel, select the [Languages] tab and click on [Install files for East Asian Languages]. This task will ask for your Win XP CD to complete in most cases. If you don't have your Windows XP CD, or are running Windows 98, you can also download/run the simplified Chinese font package installer from Microsoft which works independently with Win 98, ME, 2000, and XP. It's a 2.5MB download, so if you are on dial up, start the download and go make a sandwich.
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