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Credit is given that karate started in China but migrated and became refined, and vastly popular in Japan. The literal meaning of these characters is "empty hand method" or "empty hand way." Karate is a martial art that uses no blades of weapons other than the "natural weapons" that 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.
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).
These Japanese Kanji 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 who is familiar with martial arts and various schools of Japanese karate.
This 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.
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.
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.
This is the full title for Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do.
The literal meaning is "one heart method empty hand way."
There are also other ways you can 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 for you.
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.
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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|
|Karate-Do||空手道||kara te dou|
kara te do
|kōng shǒu dào|
kong1 shou3 dao4
kong shou dao
|k`ung shou tao
kung shou tao
|Danketsu Karate-Do||団結空手道||dan ketsu kara te dou|
dan ketsu kara te do
|Shidokan Karate-Do||士道館空手道||shi dou kan kara te dou|
shi do kan kara te do
|shou tou kan kara te dou|
sho to kan kara te do
|sōng tāo guǎn kōng shǒu dào|
song1 tao1 guan3 kong1 shou3 dao4
song tao guan kong shou dao
|sung t`ao kuan k`ung shou tao
sung tao kuan kung shou tao
|Goju Ryu Karate-Do||剛柔流空手道|
|gou juu ryuu kara te dou|
go ju ryu kara te do
|Nippon Karate-Do Genbu-Kai||日本空手道玄武會|
|ni ppon kara te dou gen bu kai|
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
|Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do||上地流空手道||ue chi ryuu kara te dou|
ue chi ryu kara te do
|Shito-Ryu Ki-Me-Kan Karate-Do||糸東流氣目館空手道|
|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
|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
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
|Isshin Ryu Karate Do||一心流空手道||i sshin ryuu kara te dou|
i shin ryu kara te do
|gou juu ryuu|
go ju ryu
|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
|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.
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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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