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Shu Fa in Chinese / Japanese...

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Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Martial Arts / Wu Shu
  2. Bojutsu / Bojitsu
  3. Jujitsu / Jujutsu
  4. Wine / Alcohol / Sake
  5. Warrior Essence / Warrior Spirit / Martial
  6. Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa
  7. Guan Yu
  8. Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism
  9. Zhang Fei
10. Liu Bei
11. Zhuge Liang

Martial Arts / Wu Shu

Chinese / Korean
China wǔ shù
Japan bujutsu
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Martial Arts / Wu <mark>Shu</mark>

This is the very Chinese way to express "Martial Arts". Some even use this word to directly describe Kung Fu. But this is a label that fits all disciplines from Karate to Kung Fu to Taekwondo.

Note: This also means Martial Arts with the same appearance in old Korean Hanja characters and is pronounced "musul" or "musur" in Korean.

While this is best if your audience is Chinese or Korean, this also means "martial arts" in Japanese.

Bojutsu / Bojitsu

The art of using a stick as a weapon
China bàng shù
Japan bou jutsu
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Bojutsu / Bojitsu

This is the title Bōjutsu (though some use the romanization Bojitsu). A martial art centered around the use of a "bō" or staff as a weapon.

This title is a combination of the Japanese word "bō" (which means staff, stick, club, rod, pole, or cudgel) with the Japanese word "jutsu" (which means art, or technique).

While this word can be pronounced in Chinese (bang shu), it's not a common term in China. Please consider this title to be "Japanese only".

Jujitsu / Jujutsu

China róu shù
Japan juu jutsu
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Jujitsu / Jujutsu

This word has been somewhat incorrectly spelled and pronounced "Jujitsu" for some time in the English-speaking world. The correct Japanese Romaji is Jujutsu or Juujutsu.

A little background on the word: By combining the Kanji pronounced "Ju" (which means flexible, pliable, gentle, yielding) with the Kanji pronounced "Jutsu" (which means art, or technique), we get a meaning that can be translated as "flexible technique", "gentle art" or "yielding technique".
This word does make sense in Chinese as well, although pronounced, "rou shu" in China.

The Jujutsu system has a history in Japan that started well-before the 1600's. Some see this style as a variation of the "Empty Hand Method" (Karate-do). Even the samurai of old used some Jujutsu methods in defending themselves with their unarmed hands against weapons that could pierce their heavy armor.

There are convoluted relationships between various schools and systems of martial arts, but it's generally accepted that Jujutsu led to the development of Judo and a few other variations.

Wine / Alcohol / Sake

China jiǔ
Japan sake / shu
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Wine / Alcohol / Sake

This is the Chinese character, Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji that can mean wine (esp. rice wine), liquor, spirits, alcoholic beverage, or sake.

In the west, we tend to say "sake" to mean Japanese rice wine, however, this character is a little ambiguous in Japanese. It literally just means alcohol, and is often pronounced "shu" in Japanese. Specifically, in Japanese, you might want to ask for "seishu" or 清酒 to get the sake that you are used to in the west. Seishu literally means "clear alcohol".

Warrior Essence / Warrior Spirit / Martial

Japan bu
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Warrior Essence / Warrior Spirit / Martial

This character is the essence or spirit of a warrior. This character is part of the word "wu shu" which is sometimes translated as "martial arts" or "kung fu".

In more modern speech and other context, this can mean military, martial, warlike, fierce, and perhaps violent, but usually as a prefix for a longer word or phrase.

Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa

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

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.

Guan Yu

China guān yǔ
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Guan Yu

This is the name Guan Yu, Army General for the Kingdom of Shu. He is also known as Guan Gong (like saying Duke Guan or Sir Guan)

He was immortalized in the novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms".

He was a fearsome fighter, also famous for his virtue and loyalty. He is worshipped by some modern-day soldiers and has the title "Warrior Saint" in China. Some believe he offers safety and protection for military servicemen.

Guan Yu lived until 219 A.D.

Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism

China jìng tǔ zōng
Japan jou do shuu
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Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism

This is the title of Japanese "Pure Land Buddhism". This form is also romanized/known as "Jodo Shu" (jōdo shū).

Also known as Amidism for the fact that this is a branch of Mahayana (Mahāyāna) Buddhism which focuses on Amitabha (Amitābha) Buddha. This form of Buddhism, along with Chinese characters, came to Japan via China in the 5th century according to most historians.

Pure Land Buddhism is also known as 浄土仏教 (jōdo bukkyō).
Some will just express it with just 浄土 (Pure Land).

See Also...  Shin Buddhism

Zhang Fei

China zhāng fēi
Japan chou hi
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Zhang Fei

This is the name of General Zhang Fei, of the Shu Kingdom. He was blood-brother of Liu Bei in the semi-historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". Zhang Fei is famous for his heroic and fearsome fighting and his love of wine.

In Japanese, this can be the name Chouhi.

Liu Bei

China liú bèi
Japan ryuubi
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Liu Bei

This is the name of Liu Bei (161-223AD), warlord at the end of the Han dynasty and founder of the Han kingdom of Shu.

In Japanese, this can be the name Ryuubi or Ryūbi. Most Japanese will be be familiar with the Chinese historical figure, Lui Bei.

Zhuge Liang

China zhū gě liàng
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Zhuge Liang

This is the name Zhuge Liang, written in Chinese.

Zhuge Liang lived from 181 to 234 A.D.
He was a military leader and prime minister of Shu Han (蜀漢) during the Three Kingdoms period.
He was the main hero of the fictional Romance of Three Kingdoms.
He is considered a famous sage, philosopher, and military genius.

Check dictionary for shu fa
A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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)

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.

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...

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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!!!

See: Our list of specifically Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls. And, check out Our list of specifically old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

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

Romaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Martial Arts / Wu Shu武术
bujutsuwǔ shù
wu shu
wu3 shu4
Bojutsu / Bojitsu棒术
bou jutsu
bo jutsu
bàng shù
bang shu
pang shu
bang4 shu4
Jujitsu / Jujutsu柔术
juu jutsu
ju jutsu
róu shù
rou shu
jou shu
rou2 shu4
Wine / Alcohol / Sake
sake / shujiǔ
Warrior Essence / Warrior Spirit / Martial
Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa拳法
quán fǎ
quan fa
ch`üan fa
quan2 fa3
chüan fa
Guan Yu关羽
n/aguān yǔ
guan yu
kuan yü
guan1 yu3
Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism浄土宗
jou do shuu
jo do shuu
jìng tǔ zōng
jing tu zong
ching t`u tsung
jing4 tu3 zong1
ching tu tsung
Zhang Fei张飞
chou hi
cho hi
zhāng fēi
zhang fei
chang fei
zhang1 fei1
Liu Bei刘备
liú bèi
liu bei
liu pei
liu2 bei4
Zhuge Liang诸葛亮
n/azhū gě liàng
zhu ge liang
chu ko liang
zhu1 ge3 liang4

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