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This literally translates as: Troops/soldiers/warriors have no fixed [battlefield] strategy [just as] water has no constant shape [but adapts itself to whatever container it is in].
Figuratively, this means: One should seek to find whatever strategy or method is best suited to resolving each individual problem.
This proverb is about as close as you can get to the military idea of "adapt improvise overcome". This is best way to express that idea in both an ancient way, and a very natural way in Chinese.
即興發揮即刻適應即時克服 is the coolest way to put together this famous word list, "Improvise Adapt Overcome".
There are shorter ways to write "adapt", and "overcome", but "improvise" needs a four-character word to be expressed accurately in Chinese. To match them up, the other two are using four-character words as well. This makes it sound more natural in Chinese (though word lists are not a natural construct in Chinese grammar).
The words break down like this: 即興發揮, 即刻適應, 即時克服. I suggest the 3-column option when you customize your wall scroll. That way, the words will occupy one column each.
A great gift for a U.S. Marine, or anyone who follows this mantra.
應變 means, "to meet a contingency", "to adapt oneself to changes", or "to adapt to changes" in Chinese.
It's also used in Japanese but usually only in the context of Buddhism. 應變 is probably the shortest way to express the idea of adapting and overcoming whatever circumstances present themselves.
水の心 is the Japanese Buddhist and martial arts phrase, "mizu no kokoro", which means, "mind like water" or "heart of water".
The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects it's surroundings when calm but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Warriors Adapt and Overcome||兵無常勢水無常形|
|bīng wú cháng shì shuǐ wú cháng xíng|
bing1 wu2 chang2 shi4 shui3 wu2 chang2 xing2
bing wu chang shi shui wu chang xing
|ping wu ch`ang shih shui wu ch`ang hsing
ping wu chang shih shui wu chang hsing
|Improvise Adapt Overcome||即興發揮即刻適應即時克服|
|jí xìng fā huī jí kè shì yìng jí shí kè fú|
ji2 xing4 fa1 hui1 ji2 ke4 shi4 ying4 ji2 shi2 ke4 fu2
ji xing fa hui ji ke shi ying ji shi ke fu
|chi hsing fa hui chi k`o shih ying chi shih k`o fu
chi hsing fa hui chi ko shih ying chi shih ko fu
|Ability to Adapt||応変能力||ouhen nouryoku|
|ou hen / ouhen / o hen / ohen||yìng biàn|
|Mind Like Water||水の心||mizu no kokoro|
|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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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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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