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Defense in Chinese / Japanese...

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zì wèi
ji ei
Self-Defense Scroll

自衛 means self-defense in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

Defense / Defend

Defense / Defend Scroll

This single Chinese character, and Korean Hanja means to protect, to defend, to guard against, to prevent, to ward off, or to counter.

防 means the same thing in Japanese, though seldom seen alone as a single Kanji. When written alone, it could be the Japanese surname Fusegi.

Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa

quán fǎ
Kenpo / Kempo / Quan Fa / Chuan Fa 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.


military strategy
fēng lín huǒ shān
fuu rin ka zan
Furinkazan Scroll

風林火山 is the battle strategy and proverb of Japanese feudal lord Takeda Shingen (1521-1573 AD).

This came from the Art of War by Chinese strategist and tactician Sun Tzu (Sunzi).

You can think of this as a sort of abbreviation to remind officers and troops how to conduct battle.

風林火山 is literally a word list: Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain.

The more expanded meaning is supposed to be...

"Swift as the wind, quiet as the forest, fierce as fire, and immovable as a mountain"

"As fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain"

"Move as swift as the wind, stay as silent as a forest, attack as fierce as fire, undefeatable defense like a mountain"

"Move swiftly like the wind, stay silent like the forest, attack fiercely like fire, take tactical position on the mountain"

See Also:  Art of War

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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
ji ei / jieizì wèi / zi4 wei4 / zi wei / ziweitzu wei / tzuwei
bou / bofáng / fang2 / fang
Quan Fa
Chuan Fa
拳法kenpou / kenpoquán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfach`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa
fuu rin ka zan
fu rin ka zan
fēng lín huǒ shān
feng1 lin2 huo3 shan1
feng lin huo shan
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.

Not the results for defense that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your defense search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition



see styles
wǔ shù / wu3 shu4
wu shu
 bujutsu / ぶじゅつ
Furinkazan Scroll
military skill or technique (in former times); all kinds of martial art sports (some claiming spiritual development); self-defense; tradition of choreographed fights from opera and film (recent usage); also called kungfu 功夫; CL:種|种[zhong3]
(1) {MA} martial arts; military arts; (2) (See 武術太極拳) wushu; modern sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts



see styles
zì wèi / zi4 wei4
tzu wei
 jiei / jie / じえい
Furinkazan Scroll
(n,vs,adj-no) self-defense; self-defence

see styles
léi / lei2
logs rolled down in defense of city



see styles
bǎo wèi / bao3 wei4
pao wei
 hoei / hoe / ほえい
to defend; to safeguard
(noun/participle) defense; defence; protection; safeguard; (given name) Yasue


see styles
fēn hóng / fen1 hong2
fen hung
to separate flood; flood defense


see styles
 uke / うけ (n,n-suf) (1) popularity; favour; favor; reception; (2) defense; defence; reputation; (3) agreement; (4) receiver of technique (e.g. in martial arts); (5) (kana only) (colloquialism) submissive partner of a homosexual relationship


see styles
 katame / かため (1) hardening; fortifying; (2) pledge; vow; (3) defense; defence; guarding


see styles
 kokusen / こくせん (noun - becomes adjective with の) (See 私選・1) selection by the state (esp. of a defense lawyer); appointment; assignment


see styles
 kokubou / kokubo / こくぼう national defence; national defense



see styles
guó fáng / guo2 fang2
kuo fang
national defense
See: 国防


see styles
chéng fáng / cheng2 fang2
ch`eng fang / cheng fang
city defense



see styles
jiān shǒu / jian1 shou3
chien shou
 kenshu / けんしゅ
to hold fast to; to stick to
(noun/participle) strong defense; strong defence


see styles
 mamori / まもり (1) babysitting; babysitter; (2) protecting; keeping; keeper; (1) protection; defense; defence; (2) providence; (3) (abbreviation) amulet; charm; talisman



see styles
shǒu bèi / shou3 bei4
shou pei
 shubi / しゅび
to garrison; to stand guard; on garrison duty
(n,vs,adj-no) (ant: 攻撃・1) defense; defence


see styles
 mamorigatana / まもりがたな (irregular okurigana usage) sword for self-defense; sword for self-defence


see styles
 shusen / しゅせん war of defense; war of defence; defensive fight; defensive warfare



see styles
shǒu dí / shou3 di2
shou ti
enemy defense; enemy garrison


see styles
bù fáng / bu4 fang2
pu fang
to lay out a defense


see styles
 suwariwaza / すわりわざ {MA} Aikido seated defence (defense)


see styles
 benso / べんそ (noun/participle) excuse; plea; defense; defence


see styles
 benkai / べんかい (n,vs,adj-no) justification; rationalization; pretext; explanation; exculpation; defence; defense; excuse; apology


see styles
 bengo / べんご (noun/participle) defense; defence; pleading; advocacy


see styles
 ushirowaza / うしろわざ {MA} Aikido rear defence (defense)


see styles
 uke / うけ (n,n-suf) (1) popularity; favour; favor; reception; (2) defense; defence; reputation; (3) agreement; (4) receiver of technique (e.g. in martial arts); (5) (kana only) (colloquialism) submissive partner of a homosexual relationship



see styles
kàng zāi / kang4 zai1
k`ang tsai / kang tsai
defense against natural disasters



see styles
kàng biàn / kang4 bian4
k`ang pien / kang pien
to counter accusations; to protest; to remonstrate; to retort; to plead; to demur; a plea (of not guilty); a defense (against an allegation); to enter a plea to a charge (in a law court)


see styles
 fusegi / ふせぎ defense; defence; protecting; preventing


see styles
 sesshu / せっしゅ {sports} poor defense; poor defence


see styles
 kyoshu / きょしゅ defense; defence



see styles
kòng biàn / kong4 bian4
k`ung pien / kung pien
the prosecution and the defense (law)

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

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