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The Old Way / Old School in Chinese / Japanese...

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The Old Way / Old School

Japan kodou
The Old Way / Old School Vertical Wall Scroll

古道 is the Japanese word meaning "The Old Way." The first character literally means old or ancient. The second character means "the way" and is the same character as used in Taoism / Daoism (Taoism literally means "the way").

This second character can also be translated as "method," as in a way of doing things.

古道 is sometimes Romanized as "kodo" though officially, the Romaji should be "Kodou."

My Japanese-English dictionary further translates this word as old road, ancient methods, ancient moral teachings, the way of learning.

Note that this would be understood differently in Chinese. Most Chinese people would just read this as, "The old road" without the other meanings derived in Japanese.

Gate

China mén
Japan mon
Gate Vertical Wall Scroll

門 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for gate, door, gateway, doorway, opening, entrance, valve, or switch.

Most commonly, this is simply gate or door.

門 is also a Chinese surname that romanizes as Men.

In Japanese, this can be surnames romanizing as Yuki, Mon, To, or Kado.

In the Buddhist context, beyond door or gate, this can be a counter for a Buddhist sect, teaching, or school (we might say "slice" of bread, this would be "gate" of teaching). In this way, it kind of refers to one of several doors that lead to salvation or nirvana.

Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa

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

Search for The Old Way / Old School in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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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
The Old Way
Old School
古道kodou / kodo
Gate
monmén / men2 / men
Kenpo
Kempo
Quan Fa
Chuan Fa
拳法kenpou / kenpoquán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfach`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa
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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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 The Old Way Old School Kanji, The Old Way Old School Characters, The Old Way Old School in Mandarin Chinese, The Old Way Old School Characters, The Old Way Old School in Chinese Writing, The Old Way Old School in Japanese Writing, The Old Way Old School in Asian Writing, The Old Way Old School Ideograms, Chinese The Old Way Old School symbols, The Old Way Old School Hieroglyphics, The Old Way Old School Glyphs, The Old Way Old School in Chinese Letters, The Old Way Old School Hanzi, The Old Way Old School in Japanese Kanji, The Old Way Old School Pictograms, The Old Way Old School in the Chinese Written-Language, or The Old Way Old School in the Japanese Written-Language.