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This is the chant or poem of Wing Chun. I call it a "chant" because it was meant to be a somewhat rhythmic poem to help practitioners memorize many aspects of Wing Chun.
You will see this referred to as, "Wing Chun Kuem Kuit." This Cantonese romanization is popular in the west (and there is no official way to romanize Cantonese, so many variations exist). In Mandarin it would be, "Yong Chun Quan Jue." The last character (kuit or kyut from Cantonese, jue or chüeh from Mandarin) kind of means "secrets of the art." It's a short way to write 口訣, meaning "mnemonic chant" or "rhyme for remembering."
In the west (especially in the military), we often use acronyms to remember things. There's no initials to make acronyms in Chinese, so in ancient times, chants like this are used to remember vast amounts of information.
I will presume you already know the meaning of the 10 maxims, so I will skip that to keep this calligraphy entry from getting too large.
Some think 练拳者必记 is the title but that just says, "Training fist people should remember:." Therefore, I've not included that in the calligraphy. However, you can put a note in the special instructions if you want it added.
Note: On a traditional calligraphy wall scroll, the characters will be written in vertical columns, starting from the right, and proceeding left.
Note: This is an except and variation from a huge 口訣. These 10 maxims are used extensively in Wing Chun training, and you'll find them all over the internet. Just know there is a much longer version out there, along with several variations and excepts like this one. If you know of, or want a different version, just contact me, and I will add it for you.
拳 is the simplest way to express "fist" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
鐵拳 is a common theme used by various schools of martial arts.
鐵 means "iron" but in some cases, can mean "indisputable."
拳 means fist.
Some schools use the older/Taiwanese way to Romanize the iron fist, so you may have seen it spelled "Tieh Chuan" instead of "Tie Quan." Neither way is technically incorrect.
Note that in Mandarin, the first part of the first character sounds like the English word "tea" blending into a soft "-eh" sound. The second character sounds a lot like "chew on" but as if it is one syllable.
After WWII in Japan, the Kanji for iron was simplified. This new Kanji form is shown to the right. If you want this modern Japanese version, please click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above. The characters shown to the left would still be considered the old or ancient Japanese version of this title.
This title is used in certain contexts but is not widely-known by the general population of China or Japan.
From Japanese, you will see this title romanized as "zendo," which is the brand name of a board game, and also a title used by some martial arts studios and karate dojos. Oddly, many translate this as "zen fist" although there is no "fist" in the title. If you literally translated this title, it would be "meditation way" or "meditation method."
In Chinese, this would be "chan dao" with the same literal meaning as the Japanese title. It's used in China by just a handful of martial arts styles/studios.
You should only order this title if you really understand the meaning, and it has some personal connection to you (such as practicing a martial art style that uses this title, or if you love the board game Zendo). Many who see your wall scroll will not be familiar with this title, and you'll have some explaining to do.
The first character can also be written in a more complex traditional way as shown to the right. Let us know in the special instructions for your calligraphy project if you want this style.
If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the first character will automatically be written with an extra dot on top. This is the variant form of the original Chinese character which is commonly used in modern Japan Kanji. See sample to the right.
The first two characters mean "karate" - technically they express "empty hand."
The last two express "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo."
That "empty hand" translation can be understood better when you grasp the idea that karate is a martial art without weapons (other than the weapons organic to your body, such as your foot, hand, fist, etc). When you practice karate, you do so with empty hands (no weapons).
Note: There is also an antiquated way to write karate. It has the same pronunciation but a different first character which means "Tang" as in the Tang Dynasty. Some dojos use that form - let us know if you need that alternate form, and we'll add it for you.
The first two characters mean "fist law" which is Romanized from Japanese as "Kenpo" or "Kempo."
The last two are a secondary way to express "karate."
The more common way to express "karate" is literally "empty hand" (meaning "without weapons in your hand"). This version would be translated literally as "Tang hand" (as in the Tang Dynasty) or "China hand" (sometimes "Tang" means "China" in Japanese). Even though the character for "Tang" is used instead of "empty," it's still pronounced "kara-te" in Japanese.
拳法唐手 is not commonly used in China - so please consider it to be a Japanese-only title.
Many Japanese people will say the last two Kanji are the old and antiquated way to say Karate. This fact does not stop this title from existing, as these four characters are often seen in Kenpo / Kempo Dojos around the western world.
唐手道 is the alternate title for Karate-do.
This title uses a character, 唐, which represents the Tang Dynasty of China. Thus, this is often translated as the "Tang Hand Way" or incorrectly, "Tang Fist Way."
I have also seen some call it "China Hand Way."
Many in Korea refer to and romanize these characters as as "Tang Soo Do" (당수도) where these characters refer to a kind of Korean style of Karate.
There is not a lot of information on this title but some believe that a simplified form of Kung Fu that started in China, and ended up very popular in Japan used this title initially. It was later changed in Japan to a different Karate title which means "Empty Hand" (as in, without weapons).
Note: When used in Korean, this is pronounced 당수도. This title is often romanized as "Tang Soo Do," "Tangsudo," "Dang Su Do," or "Dangsudo." The last two romanizations on that list are the official Korean government romanization, though martial arts schools tend to use other non-standard versions.
In Cantonese, this is Jeet Kune Do. Often it is explained as the "Way of the Intercepting Fist." 截拳道 is a martial art style founded by Bruce Lee.
The first character means to cut-off or sever.
The second character is fist.
The last character means way or method.
See Also: Bruce Lee
蒼軒跆拳道 is the title "Chang Hon Taekwon-Do" written in old Korean Hanja.
This literally means, "Pale Blue Kick Fist/Punch Way."
The rather awkward official romanization is "cang heon tae gweon do."
Occasionally, you will see the first Hanja character written as 苍 instead of 蒼. It's just a different way to write the same character. If you want 苍 instead of 蒼, just let me know.
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.
拳法功夫 is the Japanese slogan associated with Kajukenbo.
There is not a way to really write Kajukenbo in Japanese (as the "ka" for karate cannot be separated from the "kara" character it is supposed to represent - among a few other language issues). This slogan which reads, "fist law, kung fu" is often written on banners and patches for Kajukenbo clubs or dojos.
少林寺拳法 is a specific type of martial arts in Japan that claims origins in the Kung Fu practiced in the original Shaolin Monastery of China.
The first three characters mean "Shaolin Monastery" and you might notice the Japanese is pronounced in a very similar way. 少林寺拳法 is because many words were "borrowed" from the original Chinese when Japan did not have a written language and simply absorbed Chinese characters into their language around the 5th century. When a Japanese word did not exist, the Chinese pronunciation was often absorbed as well as the written form.
The last two characters mean "fist law" or "method of the fist." It has long been argued as to whether the Japanese for these characters should be Romanized as "kempo" or "kenpo." The official method should be "kenpou" but it's common to drop the "u" that comes after the "o."
I imagine if you are looking for this title, you already know what it means, so the above is simply extra information that a student of Shorinji Kempo might want to know.
During the Tang Dynasty, a man named Jia Dao (born in the year 779), a well studied scholar and poet, went to the capital to take the imperial examination.
One day as he rides a donkey through the city streets, a poem begins to form in his mind. A portion of the poem comes into his head like this:
"The bird sits on the tree branch near a pond,
A monk approaches and knocks at the gate..."
At the same time, he wondered if the word "push" would be better than "knock" in his poem.
As he rides down the street, he imagines the monk pushing or knocking. Soon he finds himself making motions of pushing, and shaking a fist in a knocking motion as he debates which word to use. He is quite a sight as he makes his way down the street on his donkey with hands and fists flying about as the internal debate continues.
As he amuses people along the street, he becomes completely lost in his thoughts and does not see the mayor's procession coming in the opposite direction. Jia Bao is blocking the way for the procession to continue down the road, and the mayor's guards immediately decide to remove Jia Bao by force. Jia Bao, not realizing that he was in the way, apologizes, explains his poetic dilemma, and awaits his punishment for blocking the mayor's way.
The mayor, Han Yu, a scholar and author of prose himself, finds himself intrigued by Jia Dao's poem and problem. Han Yu gets off his horse, and addresses Jia Bao, stating, "I think knock is better." The relieved Jia Bao raises his head, and is invited by the mayor to join the procession, and are seen riding off together down the street exchanging their ideas and love of poetry.
In modern Chinese, this idiom is used when someone is trying to decide which word to use in their writing or when struggling to decide between two things when neither seems to have a downside.
跆拳道 is one of the most widespread types of martial arts in the world as well as being an Olympic sport. Taekwondo was born in Korea with influences of Chinese and Japanese styles, combined with traditional Korean combat skills. Some will define it as the "Korean art of empty-handed self-defense."
In the simplest translation, the first character means "kick," the second character can mean either "fist" or "punching" the third means "way" or "method." Altogether, you could say this is "Kick Punch Method." When heard or read in various Asian languages, all will automatically think of this famous Korean martial art. It is written the same in Japanese Kanji, Chinese, and Korean Hanja characters - so the appearance of the characters are rather universal. However, you should note that there is another way to write this in modern Korean Hangul characters which looks like the image to the right.
We suggest the original Korean Hanja (Chinese characters) for a wall scroll but if you really need the Hangul version, you must use master calligrapher Xing An-Ping: Order Taekwondo in Korean Hangul
Note: Taekwondo is sometimes Romanized as Tae-Kwondo, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-do, Taegwondo, Tae Gweon Do, Tai Kwon Do, Taikwondo, Taekwando, Tae Kwan Do and in Chinese Taiquandao, Tai Quan Dao, Taichuando, or Tai Chuan Tao.
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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|
|Wing Chun Fist Maxims||有手黐手無手問手來留區送甩手直沖怕打終歸打貪打終被打粘連迫攻絕不放鬆來力瀉力借力出擊步步追形點點朝午以形補手敗形不敗馬腰馬一致心意合一拳由心發動法無形活人練活死功夫|
|Fist||拳||kobushi||quán / quan2 / quan||ch`üan / chüan|
铁拳 / 鉄拳
|tekken / teken||tiě quán / tie3 quan2 / tie quan / tiequan||t`ieh ch`üan / tiehchüan / tieh chüan|
The Zen Way
|禅道 / 禪道|
|zen dou / zendou / zen do / zendo||chán dào / chan2 dao4 / chan dao / chandao||ch`an tao / chantao / chan tao|
Law of the Fist Empty Hand
|空手拳法||kara te ken pou|
kara te ken po
|kōng shǒu quán fǎ|
kong1 shou3 quan2 fa3
kong shou quan fa
|k`ung shou ch`üan fa
kung shou chüan fa
|Law of the Fist Karate|
|拳法唐手||ken pou kara te|
ken po kara te
|quán fǎ táng shǒu|
quan2 fa3 tang2 shou3
quan fa tang shou
|ch`üan fa t`ang shou
chüan fa tang shou
|Tang Soo Do|
Tang Hand Way
|唐手道||kara te do / karatedo||táng shǒu dào|
tang2 shou3 dao4
tang shou dao
|t`ang shou tao
tang shou tao
|Jeet Kune Do||截拳道||sekken dou / sekkendou / seken do / sekendo||jié quán dào|
jie2 quan2 dao4
jie quan dao
|chieh ch`üan tao
chieh chüan tao
|Ch'ang Hon Taekwondo||蒼軒跆拳道|
|拳法||kenpou / kenpo||quán fǎ / quan2 fa3 / quan fa / quanfa||ch`üan fa / chüanfa / chüan fa|
|Kajukenbo Slogan||拳法功夫||kenpo kunfu|
|shào lín sì quán fǎ|
shao4 lin2 si4 quan2 fa3
shao lin si quan fa
|shao lin ssu ch`üan fa
shao lin ssu chüan fa
|Push or Knock||反復推敲|
|fǎn fù tuī qiāo|
fan3 fu4 tui1 qiao1
fan fu tui qiao
|fan fu t`ui ch`iao
fan fu tui chiao
|Taekwondo||跆拳道||te kon do / tekondo||tái quán dào|
tai2 quan2 dao4
tai quan dao
|t`ai ch`üan tao
tai chüan tao
|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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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.
Some people may refer to this entry as Fist Way Kanji, Fist Way Characters, Fist Way in Mandarin Chinese, Fist Way Characters, Fist Way in Chinese Writing, Fist Way in Japanese Writing, Fist Way in Asian Writing, Fist Way Ideograms, Chinese Fist Way symbols, Fist Way Hieroglyphics, Fist Way Glyphs, Fist Way in Chinese Letters, Fist Way Hanzi, Fist Way in Japanese Kanji, Fist Way Pictograms, Fist Way in the Chinese Written-Language, or Fist Way in the Japanese Written-Language.
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