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10. Adapt Oneself
14. Mind Like Water
In Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja, 克服 means “overcome” (as in overcoming hardships, etc.). It can also mean to conquer, to put up with, or to endure.
This can be a conquest over a problem, disease, handicap, poverty, or illness. Other definitions include overcoming, bringing under control, subjugation, or victory over something.
This can be used as an inspirational wall scroll to remind someone to try to overcome difficulties that may arise in life.
降魔 means to overcome the Devil, Satan, Demons, or Evil.
There are many ways to translate this, including conquering the devil, evil spirits, evil influences, or someone who habitually performs negative/evil acts.
In the Buddhist context, it means to overcome demons, e.g., as the Buddha did at his enlightenment.
即興發揮即刻適應即時克服 is the coolest way to put together this famous word list, “Improvise Adapt Overcome.”
There are shorter ways to write “adapt,” and “overcome,” but “improvise” needs a four-character word to be expressed accurately in Chinese. To match them up, the other two are using four-character words as well. This makes it sound more natural in Chinese (though word lists are not a natural construct in Chinese grammar).
The words break down like this: 即興發揮, 即刻適應, 即時克服. I suggest the 3-column option when you customize your wall scroll. That way, the words will occupy one column each.
A great gift for a U.S. Marine, or anyone who follows this mantra.
風雨無阻 is a proverb that is often translated as “Go ahead as planned regardless of the weather” or, “[Overcome] despite the rain and wind.”
This is a Chinese proverb that suggests that you are willing (or should be willing) to overcome any adversity, and accomplish your task at hand.
There is a second/optional part to this phrase that suggests that you should do this together with someone (see our other 8-character version if you want the full phrase).
The first four characters are often translated as “Go ahead as planned regardless of the weather” or, “[Overcome] despite the rain and wind.” The last four characters can mean “Stick together” but literally means “Take the same boat [together].”
風雨無阻同舟共濟 is a Chinese proverb that suggests that you are willing (or should be willing) to overcome any adversity, and accomplish your task at hand. The second part (last four characters) is sometimes left off but this second part strongly suggests that you should overcome that adversity together.
In Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja, 超越 means to overcome, surpass, transcendence, excel, exceed, go beyond, rise above, or transcend.
Soldiers need a fluid plan
This literally translates as: Troops/soldiers/warriors have no fixed [battlefield] strategy [just as] water has no constant shape [but adapts itself to whatever container it is in].
Figuratively, this means: One should seek to find whatever strategy or method is best suited to resolving each individual problem.
This proverb is about as close as you can get to the military idea of “adapt improvise overcome.” 兵無常勢水無常形 is the best way to express that idea in both an ancient way, and a very natural way in Chinese.
應變 means “to meet a contingency,” “to adapt oneself to changes,” or “to adapt to changes” in Chinese.
It's also used in Japanese but usually only in the context of Buddhism. 應變 is probably the shortest way to express the idea of adapting and overcoming whatever circumstances present themselves.
征服 means to conquer or conquest in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can also be translated as vanquish, to subdue, subjugation, overcoming, or, to strike.
Note: This is kind of a violent term for a wall scroll but if you really want it, we’ll make it custom for you.
打たれ強い is often used as a martial arts term.
It means being able to take a lot of punishment or being able to take a hit. In Japanese baseball, it can also refer to the pitcher's ability to keep his cool when the batter gets a hit. 打たれ強い is generally about being resilient and strong in the face of criticism or adversity.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
Fukutsu no Seishin
Mizu No Kokoro
水の心 is the Japanese Buddhist and martial arts phrase, “Mizu no Kokoro,” which means “mind like water” or “heart of water.”
The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects its surroundings when calm but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.
Persistence to overcome all challenges
百折不撓 is a Chinese proverb that means “Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks.”
More directly translated, it reads, “[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching.” 百折不撓 is of Chinese origin but is commonly used in Japanese and somewhat in Korean (same characters, different pronunciation).
This proverb comes from a long, and occasionally tragic story of a man that lived sometime around 25-220 AD. His name was Qiao Xuan, and he never stooped to flattery but remained an upright person at all times. He fought to expose the corruption of higher-level government officials at great risk to himself.
Then when he was at a higher level in the Imperial Court, bandits were regularly capturing hostages and demanding ransoms. But when his own son was captured, he was so focused on his duty to the Emperor and the common good that he sent a platoon of soldiers to raid the bandits' hideout, and stop them once and for all even at the risk of his own son's life. While all of the bandits were arrested in the raid, they killed Qiao Xuan's son at first sight of the raiding soldiers.
Near the end of his career, a new Emperor came to power, and Qiao Xuan reported to him that one of his ministers was bullying the people and extorting money from them. The new Emperor refused to listen to Qiao Xuan and even promoted the corrupt Minister. Qiao Xuan was so disgusted that in protest, he resigned from his post as minister (something almost never done) and left for his home village.
His tombstone reads “Bai Zhe Bu Nao” which is now a proverb used in Chinese culture to describe a person of strong will who puts up stubborn resistance against great odds.
My Chinese-English dictionary defines these 4 characters as “keep on fighting despite all setbacks,” “be undaunted by repeated setbacks,” and “be indomitable.”
Our translator says it can mean “never give up” in modern Chinese.
Although the first two characters are translated correctly as “repeated setbacks,” the literal meaning is “100 setbacks” or “a rope that breaks 100 times.” The last two characters can mean “do not yield” or “do not give up.”
Most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people will not take this absolutely literal meaning but will instead understand it as the title suggests above. If you want a single big word definition, it would be indefatigability, indomitableness, persistence, or unyielding.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Overcome||克服 / 剋服|
|koku fuku / kokufuku||kè fú / ke4 fu2 / ke fu / kefu||k`o fu / kofu / ko fu|
|Overcome the Devil||降魔||gou ma / gouma / go ma||xiáng mó / xiang2 mo2 / xiang mo / xiangmo||hsiang mo / hsiangmo|
|Improvise Adapt Overcome||即興發揮即刻適應即時克服|
|jí xìng fā huī jí kè shì yìng jí shí kè fú|
ji2 xing4 fa1 hui1 ji2 ke4 shi4 ying4 ji2 shi2 ke4 fu2
ji xing fa hui ji ke shi ying ji shi ke fu
|chi hsing fa hui chi k`o shih ying chi shih k`o fu
chi hsing fa hui chi ko shih ying chi shih ko fu
|Overcome: Regardless of the Rain and Wind||風雨無阻|
|fēng yǔ wú zǔ|
feng1 yu3 wu2 zu3
feng yu wu zu
|feng yü wu tsu
|Regardless of the Weather, We Overcome Troubles Together||風雨無阻同舟共濟|
|fēng yǔ wú zǔ tóng zhōu gòng jì|
feng1 yu3 wu2 zu3 tong2 zhou1 gong4 ji4
feng yu wu zu tong zhou gong ji
|feng yü wu tsu t`ung chou kung chi
feng yü wu tsu tung chou kung chi
|超越||chou etsu / chouetsu / cho etsu||chāo yuè / chao1 yue4 / chao yue / chaoyue||ch`ao yüeh / chaoyüeh / chao yüeh|
|Warriors Adapt and Overcome||兵無常勢水無常形|
|bīng wú cháng shì shuǐ wú cháng xíng|
bing1 wu2 chang2 shi4 shui3 wu2 chang2 xing2
bing wu chang shi shui wu chang xing
|ping wu ch`ang shih shui wu ch`ang hsing
ping wu chang shih shui wu chang hsing
|Use Hard Work to Overcome Adversity||刻苦耐勞|
|kè kǔ nài láo|
ke4 ku3 nai4 lao2
ke ku nai lao
|k`o k`u nai lao
ko ku nai lao
|Ability to Adapt||応変能力||ouhen nouryoku|
|ou hen / ouhen / o hen||yìng biàn|
|征服||sei fuku / seifuku||zhēng fú / zheng1 fu2 / zheng fu / zhengfu||cheng fu / chengfu|
|Resilient in the Face of Adversity||打たれ強い||u ta re tsuyo i|
|不屈の精神||fu kutsu no sei shin|
|Mind Like Water||水の心||mizu no kokoro|
|Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks||百折不撓|
|hyaku setsu su tou|
hyaku setsu su to
|bǎi zhé bù náo|
bai3 zhe2 bu4 nao2
bai zhe bu nao
|pai che pu nao
|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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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.
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.
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