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See also: Bushido - Code of the Samurai Warrior
13. Zhong Kui
19. Immovable Mind
21. Fighting Spirit
斗 is how to express the act of fighting in Chinese.
Generally, this means fighting against someone or some force whether physically or metaphorically.
Note: There is more than one way to write this character. You will notice variations on the next page after you click "Select and Customize". If you have a preference, please let us know when you place your order.
Please note that there is a secondary pronunciation and meaning of this character. It can also mean "measuring cup" or in Japanese "sake dipper" or even "The Big Dipper". In Japanese and Korean, this does not have the fighting meaning associated with it. You should, therefore, select this character only if your audience is Chinese, or you are a big fan of sake dippers or The Big Dipper (as that is how it will be read by Japanese and Korean people).
爭 is the way to express the idea of fighting for a goal.
This can also mean to struggle or to argue. 爭 is okay for a Chinese audience, and while it is a word in Korean, this character is seldom seen alone in Korean grammar.
戰 / 戦 means war, battle, or fight.
戰 / 戦 is often used to title various wars. For instance, if you add the character for "2" before this character, you have the Chinese title for WWII.
In certain context, someone can use this word to mean campaign, game, or match.
Note: In Japan, they tend to use the form shown to the right. If you pick the Japanese master calligrapher, you may get/request this version. It should also be noted that this Kanji is seldom used alone in Japanese.
奮鬥 means strive (as in to put great effort into something or a cause).
It can also be translated as a struggle.
The second character of this word can also be written as shown to the right. Yes. it’s very different. If you want this alternate version, just let us know when you place your order (in the special instructions).
拳擊 is the term used in Chinese to refer to the original Olympic sport of combat and fighting.
If you like to strap on your boxing gloves and go a few rounds, or are just a fan of boxing, this could make a nice wall scroll for you.
Note that Japanese use the same first character (which means fist) but a different Kanji for the second. Please see our Japanese boxing entry for that version.
盟友 means a sworn friend or ally. If you stand on the same side of an issue with someone, and perhaps fight for the same cause together, this is the term you would use to describe such a partner.
There may not be a personal relationship, as this term is also used to describe whole countries that make a coalition, or fight against a common enemy.
This would be most appropriate if you are a high-level military officer, giving this wall scroll to an officer of another country as you join forces together, and go to war.
拳闘 is the term used in Japanese Kanji to refer to the original Olympic sport of combat and fighting.
This can also be translated as prizefighting.
The first Kanji means fist. The second means fight. So when literally translated, this means "fist fight" (though understood in Japanese as a more refined sport, versus street fighting).
Note: A completely different second character is used in the Chinese word for boxing but a Chinese person would still be able to guess the meaning of these Kanji.
This refers to the virtue, morality, and ethics that any practitioner of martial arts should posses.
This can be used in both Chinese and Japanese in lieu of English terms such as "soldierly virtue", "good conduct" (military), "warrior ethics", and being honorable in regards to any fight or competition.
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [if you] can't bite people, don't bare [your] teeth.
Figuratively, this means: Don't show your anger if you can't do anything about the situation.
Some will also say this means, "Don't start a fight that you cannot win". Others will say it means that you must be willing to back up your words (perhaps with your fists).
This is from Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Art of War. It means that if you know and understand the enemy, you also know yourself, and thus with this complete understanding, you cannot lose.
This proverb is often somewhat-directly translated as, "Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without defeat".
It can also be translated as, "If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger", or "Know your enemy, know yourself, and your victory will not be threatened".
The most literal translation to English of this ancient Chinese proverb is:
"Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events".
However, it's been translated several ways:
Don't forget past events, they can guide you in future.
Benefit from past experience.
Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.
Past calamity is my teacher.
A good memory for the past is a teacher for the future.
The remembrance of the past is the teacher of the future.
If one remembers the lessons of the past; They will serve as a guide to avoid mistakes in the future.
This proverb comes from the 5th century B.C. just before the Warring States Period in the territory now known as China.
The head of the State of Jin, Zhi Bo, seized power in a coup. He did this with help from the armies of the State of Han and Wei. Instead of being grateful for the help from Han and Wei, he treacherously took the land of Han and Wei. Never satisfied, Zhi Bo employed the armies of Han and Wei to attack and seize the State of Zhao.
The king of Zhao took advice from his minister Zhang Mengtan and secretly contacted the Han and Wei armies to reverse their plans and attack the army of Zhi Bo instead. The plan was successful, and the State of Zhao was not only saved but was set to become a powerful kingdom in the region.
Zhang Mengtan immediately submitted his resignation to a confused king of Zhao. When asked why, Zhang Mengtan said, "I've done my duty to save my kingdom but looking back at past experience, I know sovereign kings are never satisfied with the power or land at hand. They will join others and fight for more power and more land. I must learn from past experiences, as those experiences are the teachers of future events".
The king could not dispute the logic in that statement and accepted Zhang Mengtan's resignation.
For generations, the State of Zhao continued to fight for power and land until finally being defeated and decimated by the State of Qin (which lead to the birth of the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C.).
飛虎隊 is the full Chinese title of the "Flying Tigers Group".
These were the American pilots that volunteered to go to China and fight the Japanese prior to the entry of the USA into World War Two. These fighter pilots were so esteemed in China, that fallen American pilots could always find refuge in villages, and safe passage and escape to areas of China that were not occupied by Japan at that time. Chinese villagers helped such fallen pilots with full knowledge that when the Japanese occupation forces found out, all the men, women, and children in the village would be massacred by Japanese troops (there are more than a few known cases of such massacres).
The Flying Tigers successfully kept supply lines to the Chinese resistance open, and divided Japanese forces at a crucial time while America prepared to officially join WWII.
A wall scroll like this honors the men who risked or gave their lives as noble volunteers, and is a reminder of the best moment in the history of Sino-American relations.
These three characters literally mean "flying tiger(s) group/team/squad".
Note: Hanging these characters on your wall will not make you any friends with Japanese people who are aware or this history (most Japanese have no idea, as Japan’s involvement in WWII has all but been erased from school textbooks in Japan).
不動心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet.
Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: An unshakable mind and an immovable spirit is the state of fudoshin. It is courage and stability displayed both mentally and physically. Rather than indicating rigidity and inflexibility, fudoshin describes a condition that is not easily upset by internal thoughts or external forces. It is capable of receiving a strong attack while retaining composure and balance. It receives and yields lightly, grounds to the earth, and reflects aggression back to the source.
Other translations of this title include imperturbability, steadfastness, keeping a cool head in an emergency, or keeping one's calm (during a fight).
The first two Kanji alone mean immobility, firmness, fixed, steadfastness, motionless, idle.
The last Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.
Together, these three Kanji create a title that is defined as "immovable mind" within the context of Japanese martial arts. However, in Chinese it would mean "motionless heart" and in Korean Hanja, "wafting heart" or "floating heart".
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.
This literally means fighting spirit in Chinese.
As in the spirit that a warrior, soldier, athlete or fighter must possess.
Note: There is more than one way to write the first character of this word. It is sometimes written like the version shown to the right (yes, it's completely different but has the same meaning & pronunciation). If you have a preference, please let us know in the special instructions about your order.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|斗||dòu / dou4 / dou||tou|
|Fight for a Goal||爭|
|zhēng / zheng1 / zheng||cheng|
|War||戰 / 戦|
|sen||zhàn / zhan4 / zhan||chan|
|奮鬥 / 奮斗|
奋斗 / 奋鬥
|fèn dòu / fen4 dou4 / fen dou / fendou||fen tou / fentou|
|奮闘 / 奮鬥|
奋斗 / 奋鬥
|fun tou / funtou / fun to / funto|
|quán jī / quan2 ji1 / quan ji / quanji||ch`üan chi / chüanchi / chüan chi|
|盟友||meiyuu / meiyu||méng yǒu / meng2 you3 / meng you / mengyou||meng yu / mengyu|
|Fighting Spirit||闘魂||tou kon / toukon / to kon / tokon|
|ken tou / kentou / ken to / kento|
|tou shi / toushi / to shi / toshi|
|格闘 / 挌闘|
|kakutou / kakuto|
kakuto / kakuto
kakuto / kakuto
|Kaiju||怪獣||kaijuu / kaiju|
Martial Arts Ethics
|武德||butoku||wǔ dé / wu3 de2 / wu de / wude||wu te / wute|
|Mixed Martial Arts||綜合格鬥|
|zōng hé gé dòu|
zong1 he2 ge2 dou4
zong he ge dou
|tsung ho ko tou
|If you cannot bite, do not show your teeth||不能咬人就別齜牙|
|bù néng yǎo rén jiù bié zī yá|
bu4 neng2 yao3 ren2 jiu4 bie2 zi1 ya2
bu neng yao ren jiu bie zi ya
|pu neng yao jen chiu pieh tzu ya|
|Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose||知彼知己百戰不殆|
|zhí bǐ zhí jī bǎi zhàn bú dài|
zhi2 bi3 zhi2 ji1 bai3 zhan4 bu2 dai4
zhi bi zhi ji bai zhan bu dai
|chih pi chih chi pai chan pu tai|
|Past experience is the teacher for the future.||前事不忘后事之師|
|qián shì bú wàng hòu shí zhī shī|
qian2 shi4 bu2 wang4 hou4 shi2 zhi1 shi1
qian shi bu wang hou shi zhi shi
|ch`ien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
chien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
|Flying Tigers AVG||飛虎隊|
|fēi hǔ duì|
fei1 hu3 dui4
fei hu dui
|fei hu tui
|Immovable Mind||不動心||fu dou shin|
fu do shin
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|Fighting Spirit||斗志||dòu zhì / dou4 zhi4 / dou zhi / douzhi||tou chih / touchih|
|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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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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