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Your Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Search for "Shaolin Martial Arts"...

See also: Martial Arts Words and Phrases

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Shaolin Martial Arts
  2. Shaolin Chuan / Shao Lin Quan
  3. Shorinji Kempo / Kenpo
  4. Shorin-Ryu
  5. Wudang Fist
  6. Shorin Ji Ryu
  7. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
  8. Kung Fu / Gong Fu


Shaolin Martial Arts

China shǎo lín wǔ gōng
Shaolin Martial Arts Wall Scroll

少林武功 is the title for "Shaolin Wu Gong" or "Shaolin martial arts."

Shaolin Chuan / Shao Lin Quan

China shǎo lín quán
Shaolin Chuan / Shao Lin Quan Wall Scroll

少林拳 is the title of the martial art (style of Kung Fu) that is taught to the monks and students in the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery. The addition of Chuan or Quan which means fist is what signifies that you are talking about this school or form of martial arts.

Shorinji Kempo / Kenpo

China shào lín sì quán fǎ
Japan shourinji kenpou
Shorinji Kempo / Kenpo Wall Scroll

少林寺拳法 is a specific type of martial arts in Japan that claims origins in the Kung Fu practiced in the original Shaolin Monastery of China.

The first three characters mean "Shaolin Monastery" and you might notice the Japanese is pronounced in a very similar way. 少林寺拳法 is because many words were "borrowed" from the original Chinese when Japan did not have a written language and simply absorbed Chinese characters into their language around the 5th century. When a Japanese word did not exist, the Chinese pronunciation was often absorbed as well as the written form.

The last two characters mean "fist law" or "method of the fist." It has long been argued as to whether the Japanese for these characters should be Romanized as "kempo" or "kenpo." The official method should be "kenpou" but it's common to drop the "u" that comes after the "o."

I imagine if you are looking for this title, you already know what it means, so the above is simply extra information that a student of Shorinji Kempo might want to know.

Shorin-Ryu

Shaolin Style
Japan shou rin ryuu
Shorin-Ryu Wall Scroll

少林流 is the Japanese martial arts title "Shorin-ryu."

Though the first part of the title comes from the Shaolin (small forest) monks of China.
In Japan, this refers to the Okinawa School of Karate.


小Note that often in Japanese, the first Kanji of this title was changed to the version shown to the right. If you prefer this version, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.

Wudang Fist

China wǔ dāng quán
Wudang Fist Wall Scroll

This title means Wudang Quan or Wudang Fist.

Wudang (sometimes romanized as Wutang or Wu Tang) refers to a Mountain range in northwest Hubei. The Wudang martial arts style refers to a version of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Shorin Ji Ryu

Shaolin Temple Style
Japan shou rin ji ryuu
Shorin Ji Ryu Wall Scroll

少林寺流 is the Japanese martial arts title "Shorin-ji-ryu."

Though the first part of the title comes from the Shaolin temple of China. In Japan, this refers to the Okinawa school of karate.

Note: Sometimes this title is written without the "ji" or "temple" Kanji.

Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa

China quán fǎ
Japan kenpou
Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa Wall Scroll

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.

Kung Fu / Gong Fu

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

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




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

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Shaolin Martial Arts 少林武功shǎo lín wǔ gōng
shao3 lin2 wu3 gong1
shao lin wu gong
shaolinwugong
shao lin wu kung
shaolinwukung
Shaolin Chuan
Shao Lin Quan
少林拳shǎo lín quán
shao3 lin2 quan2
shao lin quan
shaolinquan
shao lin ch`üan
shaolinchüan
shao lin chüan
Shorinji Kempo
Kenpo
少林寺拳法shourinji kenpou
shourinjikenpou
shorinji kenpo
shorinjikenpo
shào lín sì quán fǎ
shao4 lin2 si4 quan2 fa3
shao lin si quan fa
shaolinsiquanfa
shao lin ssu ch`üan fa
shaolinssuchüanfa
shao lin ssu chüan fa
Shorin-Ryu 少林流shou rin ryuu
shourinryuu
sho rin ryu
shorinryu
Wudang Fist 武當拳
武当拳
wǔ dāng quán
wu3 dang1 quan2
wu dang quan
wudangquan
wu tang ch`üan
wutangchüan
wu tang chüan
Shorin Ji Ryu 少林寺流shou rin ji ryuu
shourinjiryuu
sho rin ji ryu
shorinjiryu
Kenpo
Kempo
Quan Fa
Chuan Fa
拳法kenpou / kenpoquán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa
Kung Fu
Gong Fu
功夫kan fu / ku fu
kanfu / kufu
gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu kung 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.

Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...

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Hope
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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.
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.

Some people may refer to this entry as Shaolin Martial Arts Kanji, Shaolin Martial Arts Characters, Shaolin Martial Arts in Mandarin Chinese, Shaolin Martial Arts Characters, Shaolin Martial Arts in Chinese Writing, Shaolin Martial Arts in Japanese Writing, Shaolin Martial Arts in Asian Writing, Shaolin Martial Arts Ideograms, Chinese Shaolin Martial Arts symbols, Shaolin Martial Arts Hieroglyphics, Shaolin Martial Arts Glyphs, Shaolin Martial Arts in Chinese Letters, Shaolin Martial Arts Hanzi, Shaolin Martial Arts in Japanese Kanji, Shaolin Martial Arts Pictograms, Shaolin Martial Arts in the Chinese Written-Language, or Shaolin Martial Arts in the Japanese Written-Language.