Karate in Chinese / Japanese...

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See also: Martial Arts Words and Phrases


  1. Karate

  2. Law of the Fist Karate / Kempo Karate

  3. Karate-Do

  4. Danketsu Karate-Do

  5. Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand

  6. Isshin Ryu Karate Do

  7. Kakuto Karate

  8. Shidokan Karate-Do

  9. Shidokan

10. Japanese Karate Association

11. Shotokan Karate-Do

12. Okinawa Karate

13. Karate Ni Sente Nashi

14. Snow Leopard Karate-Do

15. Karate-Do Shinyo-Kai

16. Wado-Ryu Karate

17. Goju Ryu Karate-Do

18. Nippon Karate-Do Genbu-Kai

19. Shito-Ryu Ki-Me-Kan Karate-Do

20. Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do

21. Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do

22. Tang Soo Do / Tang Hand Way

23. Wado-Ryu

24. Wado-Kai


kōng shǒu
kara te
Karate Scroll

空手 is the short and widely-used-in-English version of karate-do without the “do” or “dao” at the end.


Literal meaning: Empty Hand.

Law of the Fist Karate / Kempo Karate

quán fǎ táng shǒu
ken pou kara te
Law of the Fist Karate / Kempo Karate Scroll

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.”

Notes:
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 of saying 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.

kōng shǒu dào
kara te dou
Karate-Do Scroll

The literal meaning of 空手道 is “empty hand method” or “empty hand way.”

Credit is given that karate started in China but migrated and became refined and vastly popular in Japan.

Karate is a martial art that uses no blades or weapons other than the “natural weapons” God gave to humans (fists and feet). The last character somehow became optional, but the meaning of that character is “method” or “the way” as in Taoism / Daoism.

Karate-Do reached Korea, where it is known as 공수도 which can be romanized as “Kong Soo Do” or “Gong Su Do.”

Danketsu Karate-Do

dan ketsu kara te dou
Danketsu Karate-Do Scroll

団結空手道 is the title for Danketsu Karate-Do, a dojo located in Stroudsburg, PA.

団結 (danketsu) means union, unity, or combination.

空手道 (karate-do) means “empty hand way.”


If you need you martial arts school/dojo/academy added to my database, just give me the info (actual Chinese/Japanese text if you have it).

Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand

kōng shǒu quán fǎ
kara te ken pou
Kempo Karate / Law of the Fist Empty Hand Scroll

空手拳法 is the Kanji title for Kempo Karate.

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.

Isshin Ryu Karate Do

i sshin ryuu kara te dou
Isshin Ryu Karate Do Scroll

一心流空手道 is the full title for Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do.

The literal meaning is “one heart method empty hand way.”

There are other ways to translate this, but if you are looking for this title, you already know that.

This would make a great wall scroll for your dojo or private studio if you study this form of Japanese (technically from Okinawa) Karate.

Because this is a specifically-Japanese title, I strongly recommend that you select our Japanese Master Calligrapher to create this artwork.

Kakuto Karate

kaku tou kara te
Kakuto Karate Scroll

格闘空手 is Kakutō Karate and means Fighting Karate and/or Combat Karate.

Shidokan Karate-Do

shi dou kan kara te dou
Shidokan Karate-Do Scroll

士道館空手道 is the full Japanese title for Shidōkan Karate-Do, a style of full-contact karate.

This is a newer karate style, founded in 1980 by Yoshiji Soeno.

Shidokan (Karate)

shi dou kan
Shidokan (Karate) Scroll

士道館 is the Japanese title for Shidōkan, a style of full-contact karate.

士道館 is a newer karate style founded in 1980 by Yoshiji Soeno.

Japanese Karate Association

rì běn kōng shǒu xié huì
ni hon kara te kyou kai
Japanese Karate Association Scroll

日本空手協會 is the Kanji for Nihon Karate Kyōkai or Japanese Karate Association.

Shotokan Karate-Do

sōng tāo guǎn kōng shǒu dào
shou tou kan kara te dou
Shotokan Karate-Do Scroll

鬆濤館空手道 art the Japanese Kanji that make up the title for Shotokan Karate.

This should be considered a Japanese-only title. It does make sense and is pronounceable in Chinese and Korean but only as a title for a building (perhaps a martial arts hall) surrounded by pine trees - followed by the characters for “The empty hand method” (kong shou dao / Karate-do). Also, the first two characters were simplified in both Japanese and Chinese. The third character was simplified in Chinese but not Japanese.

Upon request, we can offer the fully traditional Chinese version but be sure you know what you are asking for.

Note: This would be understood in Chinese and Korean Hanja by a person from those cultures familiar with martial arts and various schools of Japanese karate.

Okinawa Karate

chōng shéng kōng shǒu
oki nawa kara te
Okinawa Karate Scroll

沖縄空手 is the title for Okinawa Karate.

Karate Ni Sente Nashi

karate ni sente nashi
Karate Ni Sente Nashi Scroll

空手に先手なし means there is no first attack in Karate, or there is no first strike in Karate.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

Snow Leopard Karate-Do

xuě bào kōng shǒu dào
yukihyou karate
Snow Leopard Karate-Do Scroll

雪豹空手道 is the Japanese (and Chinese) title for Snow Leopard Karate-Do.

Karate-Do Shinyo-Kai

kara te dou shin you kai
Karate-Do Shinyo-Kai Scroll

空手道心養会 is the Japanese Kanji for
Karate-Dō Shinyō-Kai.

Wado-Ryu Karate

wa dou ryuu kara te
Wado-Ryu Karate Scroll

和道流空手 is the Japanese martial arts title, “Wado-Ryu Karate.”


See Also:  Wado-Kai

Goju Ryu Karate-Do

gou juu ryuu kara te dou
Goju Ryu Karate-Do Scroll

剛柔流空手道 is the title of the Goju-Ryu Karate-Do school of martial arts.

Nippon Karate-Do Genbu-Kai

Japanese Genbu Karate Club

rì běn kōng shǒu dào xuán wǔ huì
ni ppon kara te dou gen bu kai
Nippon Karate-Do Genbu-Kai Scroll

日本空手道玄武會 is the title for Nippon Karate-Do Genbu-Kai.
A Japanese karate association of the Genbu school.

Note that while this title does make perfect sense in Chinese, it is really a Japanese title. In fact, the first word is “Japanese/Japan.”


If you’d like your martial arts school, dojo or club added to our calligraphy database for easy ordering of a custom calligraphy wall scroll, just contact me.

Shito-Ryu Ki-Me-Kan Karate-Do

mì dōng liú qì mù guǎn kōng shǒu dào
shito-ryu ki-me-kan karate-dou
Shito-Ryu Ki-Me-Kan Karate-Do Scroll

糸東流氣目館空手道 is the title for Shito-Ryu Ki-Me-Kan Karate-Do.
A school of Karate.

Note that while this title can be pronounced in Chinese, it only makes complete sense in Japanese.

Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do

ue chi ryuu kara te dou
Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Scroll

上地流空手道 is the title of the Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do school of Okinawan martial arts.

Uechi means “higher stages of practice” in a Buddhist context.

Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do

matsu bayashi ryuu kara te dou
Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do Scroll

鬆林流空手道 is the Japanese title for the Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do school of martial arts.

If directly translated, it means “Pine Forest Style Empty Hand Way.”

Notes:
1. 松林流 can be pronounced Matsubayashi-Ryū or Shōrin-Ryū. This can be confusing as Shōrin can also represent 少林 which refers to the Shaolin (little forest) style.
2. 松 can also be written in the traditional form of 鬆.

Tang Soo Do / Tang Hand Way

táng shǒu dào
kara te do
Tang Soo Do / Tang Hand Way Scroll

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 “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.

Wado-Ryu

Style of Karate or Jujitsu

wa dou ryuu
Wado-Ryu Scroll

和道流 or Wado-Ryu is a style of Karate or Jujutsu (Jujitsu).
Note: Many will argue whether this is a style of Karate or Jujutsu.

While some find Wado-Ryu similar to Shotokan Karate, enough differences exist in perspective and technique that it stands by itself.

Breaking down the characters into the proper Japanese Romaji, you have “wa dou ryuu” or “wa dō ryū.” The meaning is roughly-translated as “Harmony Way Style” or “Peace Method Style.” The first Kanji should probably be read as harmony rather than peace in this case.


See Also:  Wado-Kai

wa dou kai
Wado-Kai Scroll

Wado-Kai is used as a title for styles of Karate and Aikido.

Breaking down the characters into the proper Japanese Romaji, you have “wa dou kai” or “wa dō kai.” The meaning is roughly-translated as “Harmony Way Club” or “Peace Method Association.” The first Kanji should probably be read as harmony, rather than peace in this case.


See Also:  Wado-Ryu




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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Karate空手kara te / karatekōng shǒu
kong1 shou3
kong shou
kongshou
k`ung shou
kungshou
kung shou
Law of the Fist Karate
Kempo Karate
拳法唐手ken pou kara te
kenpoukarate
ken po kara te
quán fǎ táng shǒu
quan2 fa3 tang2 shou3
quan fa tang shou
quanfatangshou
ch`üan fa t`ang shou
chüanfatangshou
chüan fa tang shou
Karate-Do空手道kara te dou
karatedou
kara te do
kōng shǒu dào
kong1 shou3 dao4
kong shou dao
kongshoudao
k`ung shou tao
kungshoutao
kung shou tao
Danketsu Karate-Do団結空手道dan ketsu kara te dou
danketsukaratedou
dan ketsu kara te do
Kempo Karate
Law of the Fist Empty Hand
空手拳法kara te ken pou
karatekenpou
kara te ken po
kōng shǒu quán fǎ
kong1 shou3 quan2 fa3
kong shou quan fa
kongshouquanfa
k`ung shou ch`üan fa
kungshouchüanfa
kung shou chüan fa
Isshin Ryu Karate Do一心流空手道i sshin ryuu kara te dou
isshinryuukaratedou
i shin ryu kara te do
Kakuto Karate格闘空手kaku tou kara te
kakutoukarate
kaku to kara te
Shidokan Karate-Do士道館空手道shi dou kan kara te dou
shidoukankaratedou
shi do kan kara te do
Shidokan (Karate)士道館shi dou kan
shidoukan
shi do kan
Japanese Karate Association日本空手協會
日本空手協会
ni hon kara te kyou kai
nihonkaratekyoukai
ni hon kara te kyo kai
rì běn kōng shǒu xié huì
ri4 ben3 kong1 shou3 xie2 hui4
ri ben kong shou xie hui
ribenkongshouxiehui
jih pen k`ung shou hsieh hui
jihpenkungshouhsiehhui
jih pen kung shou hsieh hui
Shotokan Karate-Do鬆濤館空手道
松涛館空手道
shou tou kan kara te dou
shoutoukankaratedou
sho to kan kara te do
sōng tāo guǎn kōng shǒu dào
song1 tao1 guan3 kong1 shou3 dao4
song tao guan kong shou dao
songtaoguankongshoudao
sung t`ao kuan k`ung shou tao
sungtaokuankungshoutao
sung tao kuan kung shou tao
Okinawa Karate沖縄空手oki nawa kara te
okinawakarate
chōng shéng kōng shǒu
chong1 sheng2 kong1 shou3
chong sheng kong shou
chongshengkongshou
ch`ung sheng k`ung shou
chungshengkungshou
chung sheng kung shou
Karate Ni Sente Nashi空手に先手なしkarate ni sente nashi
karatenisentenashi
Snow Leopard Karate-Do雪豹空手道yukihyou karate
yukihyoukarate
yukihyo karate
xuě bào kōng shǒu dào
xue3 bao4 kong1 shou3 dao4
xue bao kong shou dao
xuebaokongshoudao
hsüeh pao k`ung shou tao
hsüehpaokungshoutao
hsüeh pao kung shou tao
Karate-Do Shinyo-Kai空手道心養会kara te dou shin you kai
karatedoushinyoukai
kara te do shin yo kai
Wado-Ryu Karate和道流空手wa dou ryuu kara te
wadouryuukarate
wa do ryu kara te
Goju Ryu Karate-Do剛柔流空手道
刚柔流空手道
gou juu ryuu kara te dou
goujuuryuukaratedou
go ju ryu kara te do
Nippon Karate-Do Genbu-Kai日本空手道玄武會
日本空手道玄武会
ni ppon kara te dou gen bu kai
nipponkaratedougenbukai
ni pon kara te do gen bu kai
rì běn kōng shǒu dào xuán wǔ huì
ri4 ben3 kong1 shou3 dao4 xuan2 wu3 hui4
ri ben kong shou dao xuan wu hui
jih pen k`ung shou tao hsüan wu hui
jih pen kung shou tao hsüan wu hui
Shito-Ryu Ki-Me-Kan Karate-Do糸東流氣目館空手道
糸东流気目馆空手道
shito-ryu ki-me-kan karate-dou
shito-ryu ki-me-kan karate-do
mì dōng liú qì mù guǎn kōng shǒu dào
mi4 dong1 liu2 qi4 mu4 guan3 kong1 shou3 dao4
mi dong liu qi mu guan kong shou dao
mi tung liu ch`i mu kuan k`ung shou tao
mi tung liu chi mu kuan kung shou tao
Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do上地流空手道ue chi ryuu kara te dou
uechiryuukaratedou
ue chi ryu kara te do
Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do松林流空手道matsu bayashi ryuu kara te dou
matsu bayashi ryu kara te do
Tang Soo Do
Tang Hand Way
唐手道kara te do / karatedotáng shǒu dào
tang2 shou3 dao4
tang shou dao
tangshoudao
t`ang shou tao
tangshoutao
tang shou tao
Wado-Ryu和道流wa dou ryuu
wadouryuu
wa do ryu
Wado-Kai和道會
和道会
wa dou kai / wadoukai / wa do kai
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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Wado-Kai Scroll
Wado-Kai Scroll
Wado-Kai Scroll


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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.

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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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 Karate Kanji, Karate Characters, Karate in Mandarin Chinese, Karate Characters, Karate in Chinese Writing, Karate in Japanese Writing, Karate in Asian Writing, Karate Ideograms, Chinese Karate symbols, Karate Hieroglyphics, Karate Glyphs, Karate in Chinese Letters, Karate Hanzi, Karate in Japanese Kanji, Karate Pictograms, Karate in the Chinese Written-Language, or Karate in the Japanese Written-Language.

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