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| 1. Martial Arts Skills
2. Skill Acquired Through Hard Training
3. Southern Praying Mantis
4. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
5. Perseverance is the Key
| 6. Sword Saint|
7. Monkey Fist
8. Kung Fu / Gong Fu
This can be translated as "martial arts skills," "warrior skills," or "military skills" depending on usage. In both Japanese and Chinese, rather than meaning martial arts, this speaks more to the skills that you posses in regards to martial arts. This phrase also has a light suggestion of "having an itch to show off these skills."
This can be translated literally as "Southern School Praying Mantis" or "Southern Style Praying Mantis."
Despite its name, the Southern Praying Mantis style of Chinese martial arts is unrelated to the Northern Praying Mantis style. Southern Praying Mantis is instead related most closely to fellow Hakka styles such as Dragon and more distantly to the Fujian family of styles that includes Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, and Wing Chun.
This style of martial arts focuses more on fighting skills rather than aesthetics.
Of course, you already knew that if you were looking for this term.
Note: This title can be pronounced and does have meaning in Korean but only to Koreans familiar with Chinese martial arts.
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 literally translates as: Do not worry about not being able to master [a skill]; What [one should] be concerned about is lack of perseverance.
Figuratively, this means: One's skills cannot be perfected without perseverance in practice.
For me, I've learned that you can only get so much from school or studying. You've really got to do "on-the-job training" to perfect your ability and skill.
For martial arts students: You can read about a kick in a book, or someone can tell you about a certain kick but until you practice the kick, there's no way you'll master it.
This can be translated as "Sword Saint," "God of the Sword" or "Saint of the Sword." This is an ancient Japanese title bestowed on a master with the greatest of skills in swordsmanship.
Keep in mind that this is an antiquated term. It will only be understood in the context of martial arts. The pronunciation "kensei" also applies to other words like "constitutional government" and power (these words have different kanji and are completely unrelated).
Notes: This is sometimes Romanized as "kensei," "ken sei," and incorrectly as "Kensai."
Chinese Note: This title is pronounceable in Chinese but seldom, if ever used in Chinese. Also, the first character is an alternate character form for sword, currently only used in Japan.
This literally means what you think, it's the "Monkey Fist" school of Kung Fu. A style that mimics the punches and movements of monkeys and apes.
Becoming popular during the Qing Dynasty, this style can trace its origins back to as early as the Song Dynasty. Some of the romance and popularity of this style comes from the novel "Journey to the West" which features the Monkey King and his fighting skills.
This novel and martial arts style has spawned a stream of Hong Kong movies featuring the Monkey King, and other Kung Fu style variations such as "Drunken Monkey" and "Monkey Stealing Peaches" (a technique of disabling your opponent by grabbing and yanking on his testicles).
Note: This kind of makes sense in Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji but probably unknown by all Koreans and Japanese except those who have an interest in this form of Kung 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.
See Also: Bruce Lee
跆拳道 is one of the most widespread types of martial arts in the world as well as being an Olympic sport. Taekwondo was born in Korea with influences of Chinese and Japanese styles, combined with traditional Korean combat skills. Some will define it as the "Korean art of empty-handed self-defense."
In the simplest translation, the first character means "kick," the second character can mean either "fist" or "punching" the third means "way" or "method." Altogether, you could say this is "Kick Punch Method." When heard or read in various Asian languages, all will automatically think of this famous Korean martial art. It is written the same in Japanese Kanji, Chinese, and Korean Hanja characters - so the appearance of the characters are rather universal. However, you should note that there is another way to write this in modern Korean Hangul characters which looks like the image to the right.
We suggest the original Korean Hanja (Chinese characters) for a wall scroll but if you really need the Hangul version, you must use master calligrapher Xing An-Ping: Order Taekwondo in Korean Hangul
Note: Taekwondo is sometimes Romanized as Tae-Kwondo, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-do, Taegwondo, Tae Gweon Do, Tai Kwon Do, Taikwondo, Taekwando, Tae Kwan Do and in Chinese Taiquandao, Tai Quan Dao, Taichuando, or Tai Chuan Tao.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Martial Arts Skills||武技||bugi||wǔ jì / wu3 ji4 / wu ji / wuji||wu chi / wuchi|
|Skill Acquired Through Hard Training||練功|
|renkou / renko||liàn gōng
|Southern Praying Mantis||南派螳螂||nán pài táng láng
nan2 pai4 tang2 lang2
nan pai tang lang
|nan p`ai t`ang lang
nan pai tang lang
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|Perseverance is the Key||不怕練不成就怕心不恆|
|bú pà liàn bù chéng jiù pà xīn bù héng
bu2 pa4 lian4 bu4 cheng2 jiu4 pa4 xin1 bu4 heng2
bu pa lian bu cheng jiu pa xin bu heng
|pu p`a lien pu ch`eng chiu p`a hsin pu heng
pu pa lien pu cheng chiu pa hsin pu heng
|Sword Saint||剣聖 / 剣聖|
|Monkey Fist||猴拳||hóu quán / hou2 quan2 / hou quan / houquan||hou ch`üan / houchüan / hou chüan|
|功夫||kan fu / ku fu|
kanfu / kufu
|gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu||kung fu / kungfu|
|Taekwondo||跆拳道||te kon do / tekondo||tái quán dào
tai2 quan2 dao4
tai quan dao
|t`ai ch`üan tao
tai chüan tao
|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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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.
Some people may refer to this entry as Martial Arts Skills Kanji, Martial Arts Skills Characters, Martial Arts Skills in Mandarin Chinese, Martial Arts Skills Characters, Martial Arts Skills in Chinese Writing, Martial Arts Skills in Japanese Writing, Martial Arts Skills in Asian Writing, Martial Arts Skills Ideograms, Chinese Martial Arts Skills symbols, Martial Arts Skills Hieroglyphics, Martial Arts Skills Glyphs, Martial Arts Skills in Chinese Letters, Martial Arts Skills Hanzi, Martial Arts Skills in Japanese Kanji, Martial Arts Skills Pictograms, Martial Arts Skills in the Chinese Written-Language, or Martial Arts Skills in the Japanese Written-Language.