We have many options to create artwork with the Chinese characters / Asian symbols / Japanese Kanji for Shaolin on a wall scroll or portrait.
The Shaolin monks of China have been practicing the art of Kung Fu for thousands of years. While there are many schools of Kung Fu in China, Shaolin are one of the more religiously devout and disciplined.
The title of Shaolin actually refers to a specific Buddhist monastery. It should be noted that the Shaolin were famous in China long before the Kung Fu TV show. Their fame in China is due to the monks' heroic and swift rescue an emperor during the Tang Dynasty. Most Chinese people are not keenly aware of the Kung Fu TV show, and have no idea who David Carradine is or anything about his character, Kwai Chang Caine.
Note: The literal meaning of these two characters is "little forest."
The fame of the Shaolin has spread all over Asia, as even though this is a Chinese title, the same characters are used in Japanese with the same meaning.
少林長拳 is a combination of two titles. The first two characters mean little forest, as in the little forest of the Shaolin monks (shao lin = little forest). The second two characters mean "long fist."
This title is specific to a certain technique - if you are studying Shaolin Chang Chuan, then you are already aware of all the ramifications.
This is a poem, including title, that celebrates the tactics and virtues of the Shaolin Kung Fu Monks for future generations.
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.
少林寺 is the full title of the Shaolin Temple.
This refers to the Buddhist monastery famous for its kung fu monks.
少林寺 is also known in Japanese where they use the same characters but romanize it as Shourinji or Shōrinji.
Some believe this monastery and temple represent the place where Bodhidharma sat with his face to a wall for nine years leading to his discovery of enlightenment and establishment of Buddhism.
少林禪 literally translates as "Little Forest Meditation."
少林禪 is part of a movement to provide spiritual and mental health by integrating the practices of martial arts and meditation.
More information at Shaolin Chan Foundation.
Many people have no idea that Bruce Lee had a "real" Chinese name. In mainland China and Hong Kong he is known as "Li Xiao-Long." He kept his family name pronunciation (Li = Lee). 李小龍 is a common family name that also means "plum."
His given name "Xiao-Long" literally means "little dragon." 李小龍 is why you often see the character for dragon associated with Bruce Lee on various posters etc.
For a pronunciation lesson, the "X" in Romanized Chinese is pronounced like a "sh" sound but with your tongue at the bottom of your mouth. The vowel sound in "Long" is like the English "oh," not like the "ah" sound in the English word "long."
If you are a big Bruce Lee fan, you should know this information, and you should have this wall scroll hanging in your room or martial arts studio.
Note: Japanese use these same exact Chinese characters / Kanji to write Bruce Lee's real name (with different pronunciation - which is a bit like how the name "Bruce Lee" sounds in English).
醉猴功夫 is the title for Drunken Monkey Kung Fu (Gong Fu).
The martial arts style inspired by the novel, "Journey to the West."
See Also: Monkey Fist
洪家 is the martial arts title Hung Ga or Hung Gar.
The first character means flood, big, immense, or great but it can also be the surname, Hong or Hung.
The last character means family or home.
This can also be read as "The Hung Family" or "The Hung Household." This title is mostly associated as a style 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
功夫散手 is a martial arts title.
Oddly, there are multiple ways two spell/romanize this in English but in Chinese, it's written exactly the same.
Technically, the Mandarin romanizes as "gong fu san shou," for which you'll sometimes see it written "kung fu san shou" (k'ung is an old romanization for a word that sounds like gong with a vowel sound like "oh").
There is another martial arts style that spells this "Kung Fu San Soo." My guess is, this was supposed to approximate Cantonese pronunciation for which the scholarly romanization is generally agreed to be "gung fu saan sau."
笑龍功夫 is the title for a Martial Arts studio (custom-made at by request of the owner of the studio).
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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|
|Shaolin||少林||sho rin / shorin||shǎo lín / shao3 lin2 / shao lin / shaolin|
|Shaolin Chang Chuan||少林長拳|
|shǎo lín cháng quán|
shao3 lin2 chang2 quan2
shao lin chang quan
|shao lin ch`ang ch`üan
shao lin chang chüan
|Shaolin Generational Poem||嵩山少林寺曹洞正宗傳續七十字輩訣福慧智子覺了本圓可悟周洪普廣宗道慶同玄祖清靜真如海湛寂淳貞素德行永延恆妙體常堅固心朗照幽深性明鑒崇祚忠正善禧祥謹志原濟度雪庭為導師引汝歸鉉路|
|sōng shān shào lín sì cáo dòng zhèng zōng chuán xù qī shí zì bèi jué fú huì zhì zǐ jiào běn yuán kě wù zhōu hóng pǔ guǎng zōng dào qìng tóng xuán zǔ qīng jìng zhēn rú hǎi zhàn jì chún zhēn sù dé xíng yǒng yán héng miào tǐ cháng jiān gù xīn lǎng zhào yōu shēn xìng míng jiàn chóng zuò zhōng zhēng shàn xǐ xiáng jǐn zhì yuán jì dù xuě tíng wéi dǎo shī yǐn rǔ guī xuàn lù|
song1 shan1 shao4 lin2 si4 cao2 dong4 zheng4 zong1 chuan2 xu4 qi1 shi2 zi4 bei4 jue2 fu2 hui4 zhi4 zi3 jiao4 le5 ben3 yuan2 ke3 wu4 zhou1 hong2 pu3 guang3 zong1 dao4 qing4 tong2 xuan2 zu3 qing1 jing4 zhen1 ru2 hai3 zhan4 ji4 chun2 zhen1 su4 de2 xing2 yong
song shan shao lin si cao dong zheng zong chuan xu qi shi zi bei jue fu hui zhi zi jiao le ben yuan ke wu zhou hong pu guang zong dao qing tong xuan zu qing jing zhen ru hai zhan ji chun zhen su de xing yong
|sung shan shao lin ssu ts`ao tung cheng tsung ch`uan hsü ch`i shih tzu pei chüeh fu hui chih tzu chiao le pen yüan k`o wu chou hung p`u kuang tsung tao ch`ing t`ung hsüan tsu ch`ing ching chen ju hai chan chi ch`un chen su te hsing yung
sung shan shao lin ssu tsao tung cheng tsung chuan hsü chi shih tzu pei chüeh fu hui chih tzu chiao le pen yüan ko wu chou hung pu kuang tsung tao ching tung hsüan tsu ching ching chen ju hai chan chi chun chen su te hsing yung
|Shaolin Kung Fu||少林功夫||sho rin kan fu|
|shǎo lín gōng fu|
shao3 lin2 gong1 fu
shao lin gong fu
|shao lin kung fu
Shao Lin Quan
|少林拳||shǎo lín quán|
shao3 lin2 quan2
shao lin quan
|shao lin ch`üan
shao lin chüan
|Shaolin Temple||少林寺||shou rin ji|
sho rin ji
|shào lín sì|
shao4 lin2 si4
shao lin si
|shao lin ssu
|Shaolin Martial Arts||少林武功||shǎo lín wǔ gōng|
shao3 lin2 wu3 gong1
shao lin wu gong
|shao lin wu kung
|sho rin zen|
|shǎo lín chán|
shao3 lin2 chan2
shao lin chan
|shao lin ch`an
shao lin chan
|bu ruu su ri|
bu ru su ri
|lǐ xiǎo lóng|
li3 xiao3 long2
li xiao long
|li hsiao lung
|Drunken Monkey Kung Fu||醉猴功夫 / 醉猴功伕|
|zuì hóu gōng fu|
zui4 hou2 gong1 fu
zui hou gong fu
|tsui hou kung fu
|Hung Gar||洪家||hóng jiā / hong2 jia1 / hong jia / hongjia||hung chia / hungchia|
|功夫||kan fu / ku fu|
kanfu / kufu
|gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu||kung fu / kungfu|
|Kung Fu San Soo|
|功夫散手||gōng fu sǎn shǒu|
gong1 fu san3 shou3
gong fu san shou
|kung fu san shou
|Laughing Dragon Kung Fu||笑龍功夫|
|xiào lóng gōng fu|
xiao4 long2 gong1 fu
xiao long gong fu
|hsiao lung kung fu
|Tai Chi Wing Chun Kung Fu||太極詠春功夫|
|tài jí yǒng chūn gōng fu|
tai4 ji2 yong3 chun1 gong1 fu
tai ji yong chun gong fu
|t`ai chi yung ch`un kung fu
tai chi yung chun kung fu
|Wing Chun Kung Fu||詠春功夫|
|yǒng chūn gōng fu|
yong3 chun1 gong1 fu
yong chun gong fu
|yung ch`un kung fu
yung chun kung fu
|San Soo Kung Fu||散手功夫||sǎn shǒu gōng fu|
san3 shou3 gong1 fu
san shou gong fu
|san shou kung fu
|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.
All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.
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.
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.
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.