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The Shaolin monks of China have been practicing the art of Kung Fu for thousands of years. While there are many schools of Kung Fu in China, Shaolin are one of the more religiously devout and disciplined.
The title of Shaolin actually refers to a specific Buddhist monastery. It should be noted that the Shaolin were famous in China long before the Kung Fu TV show. Their fame in China is due to the monks' heroic and swift rescue an emperor during the Tang Dynasty. Most Chinese people are not keenly aware of the Kung Fu TV show, and have no idea who David Carradine is or anything about his character, Kwai Chang Caine.
Note: The literal meaning of these two characters is "little forest."
The fame of the Shaolin has spread all over Asia, as even though this is a Chinese title, the same characters are used in Japanese with the same meaning.
少林長拳 is a combination of two titles. The first two characters mean little forest, as in the little forest of the Shaolin monks (shao lin = little forest). The second two characters mean "long fist."
This title is specific to a certain technique - if you are studying Shaolin Chang Chuan, then you are already aware of all the ramifications.
少林禪 literally translates as "Little Forest Meditation."
少林禪 is part of a movement to provide spiritual and mental health by integrating the practices of martial arts and meditation.
More information at Shaolin Chan Foundation.
This is a poem, including title, that celebrates the tactics and virtues of the Shaolin Kung Fu Monks for future generations.
少林寺 is the full title of the Shaolin Temple.
This refers to the Buddhist monastery famous for its kung fu monks.
少林寺 is also known in Japanese where they use the same characters but romanize it as Shourinji or Shōrinji.
Some believe this monastery and temple represent the place where Bodhidharma sat with his face to a wall for nine years leading to his discovery of enlightenment and establishment of Buddhism.
少林拳 is the title of the martial art (style of Kung Fu) that is taught to the monks and students in the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery.
The addition of Chuan or Quan which means fist is what signifies that you are talking about this school or form of martial arts.
少林流 is the Japanese martial arts title "Shorin-ryu."
Though the first part of the title comes from the Shaolin (small forest) monks of China.
In Japan, this refers to the Okinawa School of Karate.
Note that often in Japanese, the first Kanji of this title was changed to the version shown to the right. If you prefer this version, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.
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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|
|Shaolin||少林||sho rin / shorin||shǎo lín / shao3 lin2 / shao lin / shaolin|
|Shaolin Martial Arts||少林武功||shǎo lín wǔ gōng|
shao3 lin2 wu3 gong1
shao lin wu gong
|shao lin wu kung
|Shaolin Chang Chuan||少林長拳|
|shǎo lín cháng quán|
shao3 lin2 chang2 quan2
shao lin chang quan
|shao lin ch`ang ch`üan
shao lin chang chüan
|sho rin zen|
|shǎo lín chán|
shao3 lin2 chan2
shao lin chan
|shao lin ch`an
shao lin chan
|Shaolin Generational Poem||嵩山少林寺曹洞正宗傳續七十字輩訣福慧智子覺了本圓可悟周洪普廣宗道慶同玄祖清靜真如海湛寂淳貞素德行永延恆妙體常堅固心朗照幽深性明鑒崇祚忠正善禧祥謹志原濟度雪庭為導師引汝歸鉉路|
|sōng shān shào lín sì cáo dòng zhèng zōng chuán xù qī shí zì bèi jué fú huì zhì zǐ jiào běn yuán kě wù zhōu hóng pǔ guǎng zōng dào qìng tóng xuán zǔ qīng jìng zhēn rú hǎi zhàn jì chún zhēn sù dé xíng yǒng yán héng miào tǐ cháng jiān gù xīn lǎng zhào yōu shēn xìng míng jiàn chóng zuò zhōng zhēng shàn xǐ xiáng jǐn zhì yuán jì dù xuě tíng wéi dǎo shī yǐn rǔ guī xuàn lù|
song1 shan1 shao4 lin2 si4 cao2 dong4 zheng4 zong1 chuan2 xu4 qi1 shi2 zi4 bei4 jue2 fu2 hui4 zhi4 zi3 jiao4 le5 ben3 yuan2 ke3 wu4 zhou1 hong2 pu3 guang3 zong1 dao4 qing4 tong2 xuan2 zu3 qing1 jing4 zhen1 ru2 hai3 zhan4 ji4 chun2 zhen1 su4 de2 xing2 yong
song shan shao lin si cao dong zheng zong chuan xu qi shi zi bei jue fu hui zhi zi jiao le ben yuan ke wu zhou hong pu guang zong dao qing tong xuan zu qing jing zhen ru hai zhan ji chun zhen su de xing yong
|sung shan shao lin ssu ts`ao tung cheng tsung ch`uan hsü ch`i shih tzu pei chüeh fu hui chih tzu chiao le pen yüan k`o wu chou hung p`u kuang tsung tao ch`ing t`ung hsüan tsu ch`ing ching chen ju hai chan chi ch`un chen su te hsing yung
sung shan shao lin ssu tsao tung cheng tsung chuan hsü chi shih tzu pei chüeh fu hui chih tzu chiao le pen yüan ko wu chou hung pu kuang tsung tao ching tung hsüan tsu ching ching chen ju hai chan chi chun chen su te hsing yung
|Shaolin Temple||少林寺||shou rin ji|
sho rin ji
|shào lín sì|
shao4 lin2 si4
shao lin si
|shao lin ssu
|Shaolin Kung Fu||少林功夫||sho rin kan fu|
|shǎo lín gōng fu|
shao3 lin2 gong1 fu
shao lin gong fu
|shao lin kung fu
Shao Lin Quan
|少林拳||shǎo lín quán|
shao3 lin2 quan2
shao lin quan
|shao lin ch`üan
shao lin chüan
|Shorin-Ryu||少林流||shou rin ryuu|
sho rin ryu
|Shorin Ji Ryu||少林寺流||shou rin ji ryuu|
sho rin ji ryu
|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.
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Some people may refer to this entry as Shaolin Kanji, Shaolin Characters, Shaolin in Mandarin Chinese, Shaolin Characters, Shaolin in Chinese Writing, Shaolin in Japanese Writing, Shaolin in Asian Writing, Shaolin Ideograms, Chinese Shaolin symbols, Shaolin Hieroglyphics, Shaolin Glyphs, Shaolin in Chinese Letters, Shaolin Hanzi, Shaolin in Japanese Kanji, Shaolin Pictograms, Shaolin in the Chinese Written-Language, or Shaolin in the Japanese Written-Language.
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