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This single Chinese character, and Korean Hanja means to protect, to defend, to guard against, to prevent, to ward off, or to counter.
防 means the same thing in Japanese, though seldom seen alone as a single Kanji. When written alone, it could be the Japanese surname Fusegi.
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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your defense defend search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| shǒu / shou3
| to guard; to defend; to keep watch; to abide by the law; to observe (rules or ritual); nearby; adjoining
(1) babysitting; babysitter; (2) protecting; keeping; keeper; (irregular okurigana usage) (1) protection; defense; defence; (2) providence; (3) (abbreviation) amulet; charm; talisman; director (of the provincial governors under the ritsuryo system); (personal name) Morinori; (personal name) Moritsugu; (surname) Morizaki; (surname) Morisaki; (given name) Morio; (surname, given name) Mori; (given name) Mamoru; (given name) Mamori; (surname) Tokumori; (male given name) Tsutomu; (personal name) Suzu; (surname) Shu; (given name) Osamu
Keep, guard, observe; to keep
| biàn jiě / bian4 jie3
| to explain; to justify; to defend (a point of view etc); to provide an explanation; to try to defend oneself
(out-dated kanji) (n,vs,adj-no) justification; rationalization; pretext; explanation; exculpation; defence; defense; excuse; apology
| biàn hù / bian4 hu4
| to speak in defense of; to argue in favor of; to defend; to plead
| zì bǎo / zi4 bao3
| to defend oneself; self-defense; self-preservation
| fáng yù / fang2 yu4
bougyo / bogyo ぼうぎょ
| defense; to defend
(n,vs,adj-no) defense; defence; safeguard; protection
| fáng wèi / fang2 wei4
bouei / boe ぼうえい
| to defend; defensive; defense
(noun/participle) defense; defence; protection; self-defense; self-defence
| bǎo jiā wèi guó / bao3 jia1 wei4 guo2
pao chia wei kuo
| guard home, defend the country (idiom); national defense
| jieishudan / jieshudan じえいしゅだん
|| (noun/participle) measures to defend oneself (for self-defense) (defence)
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|防||bou / bo||fáng / fang2 / fang|
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
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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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