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4. Sword Saint
11. Haidong Gumdo
This Character is pronounced "jian" in Chinese. When you say it, imagine that you are making the sound of a sword as it clashes with a metal shield. This might get you closer to the correct pronunciation in Chinese.
I actually wonder if this word came from the metallic ringing sounds of a sword in battle - but such knowledge is lost in history.
The sword is a symbol of a warrior. The one thing that a soldier in ancient China lived and died by. A warrior with his skills and sword proves himself of great value. A warrior who losses his sword instantly becomes worthless.
劍 is an excellent scroll for someone in the military (especially officers of all services - as well as enlisted NCO Marines since they still carry swords even if mainly for ceremonial purposes). Or perhaps someone who practices variations of kung fu or tai chi that involve weapons.
Please note that while this character is understood with the sword meaning in Japanese, you might be looking for the word "katana" which also means sword in Japanese but means "knife" in Chinese.
There are other ways to write sword, and here are a few...
If you are particular about the version you receive, please let me know when you place your order (Note: Special styles are only available from one of our master calligraphers).
We have a forum entry that addresses the many ways to write sword. You can find that here: 100 Ways to Write Sword - Deciphering Ancient Seal Script
剱 is the modern Japanese way to write sword.
This Kanji character comes from original Chinese. This form would also be understood in Chinese (there are often several ways to write the same character) but I suggest this one only if your audience is Japanese (because they've settled on a slightly different form as the standard in China).
In Japanese, this character also means saber/sabre, blade, bayonet, stinger and clock hand (clock hands are the "swords" of the clock).
See Also: Katana
Often associated with Kenjutsu, this word means "The way of the sword" in Japanese (and Korean with alternate form of the first character).
剱道 / 劍道 is also the term used for swordsmanship and even fencing in Japanese and Korean, depending on context.
Note: These same characters are also used separately in Chinese but this exact combination yields a common title in Japanese only (perhaps someone who is really into swords would use this in China).
Note: There is more than one way to write the "sword" character (shown above is the Japanese version - if you want the Korean version, please let me know when you place your order).
See Also: Katana
殺人剣 is a Japanese title for "Death Sword", "Life Taking Sword" or "satsujinken". 殺人剣 is the opposite of katsujinken, or the "life saving sword". This title is not as commonly used in Japanese but pairs well when hung with katsujinken.
The first two Kanji are a word that translates as homicide; to murder; to kill (a person). 殺人剣 is specifically to kill a person (as the second character means person or human) as opposed to an animal, etc.
The last Kanji is the Japanese variant of the originally-Chinese character for sword.
See Also: Katsujinken
This can be translated as "Sword Saint", "God of the Sword" or "Saint of the Sword". 剣聖 / 剣聖 is an ancient Japanese title bestowed on a master with the greatest of skills in swordsmanship.
Keep in mind that this is an antiquated term. It will only be understood in the context of martial arts. The pronunciation "kensei" also applies to other words like "constitutional government" and power (these words have different kanji and are completely unrelated).
Notes: 剣聖 / 剣聖 is sometimes Romanized as "kensei", "ken sei", and incorrectly as "Kensai".
Chinese Note: This title is pronounceable in Chinese but seldom, if ever used in Chinese. Also, the first character is an alternate character form for sword, currently only used in Japan.
活人剣 is a Japanese title for "life saving sword" or "katsujinken".
This title suggests that a sword used for killing can also be used for saving or giving life.
See Also: Satsujinken
This often gets translated as "Mind Sword Body", or "Spirit, Sword and Body as One". But I think these translations don't tell you enough about what this is really saying.
In this context, 気, which is the modern Japanese version of 氣, means spiritual and unseen energy or "life energy". In some cases, 気 can be translated as spirit, feeling, or nature. If defined as mind, it's more about invisible or intangible part of one's mind (or soul).
剣 is the Japanese version of 劍 meaning sword.
体 is the modern Japanese version of 體 meaning body.
The Kanji 一 means one, and in this case suggests "all in one". The Kanji 到 means to send, deliver, or convey. But together, 一到 suggests all these things in agreement, union cooperation, or in concert.
刀 is the Japanese Kanji for "sword". This refers to the style of sword carried by warriors, samurai, and shogun of ancient Japan.
With the pacification of Japan, such swords are now only used for ceremony and decoration. The true art of sword-smithing is all but lost in Japan with new sword production dedicated to making inexpensive replicas for the tourist and foreign market.
For those of you that want to ask whether I can get you a real antique sword. Let me tell you that most real Asian swords were melted down after WWII in Japan, and during the Great Leap Forward in China. Any remaining swords are family heirlooms that nobody will part with.
Please carefully note that the Japanese kanji character shown above is only for a Japanese audience. In China, this character means "knife". See our other entry for "sword" in Chinese.
Note: 刀 can mean knife, sword, or blade in Korean, depending on context.
劍聖 is about the closest you can get to juggernaut in Chinese.
This more literally means, "Sage of the Sword", "Master Swordsman", or "Sword Saint". In Chinese terms, such a person with divine mastery of the sword is unstoppable. Thus, the meaning of juggernaut can be derived from this term.
There is a very similar Japanese word (slight variation on first character) that means "Sword Saint", or "Kensei".
海東劍道 is the Korean martial arts style that means Eastern Sea Sword Way.
The character meanings break down this way:
海 = Sea
東 = East/Eastern
劍 = Sword
道 = Way/Path/Style/Method
This can sometimes be romanized as "Hae Dong Kum Do", "Haidong Kendo", "Hae Dong Geom Do", "Haedong Geomdo", or "Haedong Kumdo".
If you want this written in modern Korean Hangul (해동검도) instead of Hanja (Chinese), click on the Hangul characters next to the Korean flag above, instead of the regular button.
武士の一言金鉄の如し is an old Japanese proverb about the value of the word of a warrior.
Here's a couple versions of how this can be translated:
A warrior's single word is as unchanging and reliable as gold and steel.
A warrior's promise is as dependable as gold, and his [scabbard contains] untarnished steel (a sword).
Note: Sometimes this phrase is written as 男子の一言、金鉄の如し (danshi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi)
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
In Japanese, the modern definition, using simple terms is "A martial art involving swords" or "The art of the sword".
However, in Chinese, this is the word for fencing (as in the Olympic sport).
I will suppose that you want this for the Japanese definition which comes from skills and techniques developed in the 15th century. At that time, Kenjutsu (or swordsmanship) was a strictly military art taught to Samurai and Bushi (soldiers). The fact that swords are rarely used in military battles anymore, and with the pacification of Japan after WWII, Kenjutsu is strictly a ceremonial practice often studied as a form of martial art (more for the discipline aspect rather than practical purpose).
Language note: The Korean definition is close the Japanese version described above. However, it should be noted that this can mean "fencing" depending on context in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Character variation notes: There are slight variations possible with second character. Either way is correct and understood by both Japanese and Chinese folks.
Since there are about 5 common ways to write the sword character, if you are particular about which version you want, please note that in the "special instructions" when you place your order.
Romanization note: This term is often Romanized as Kenjitsu, however, following the rules of Japanese Romaji, it should be Kenjutsu.
This text is the ninth chapter of the Daodejing / Tao Te Ching.
The text reads:
持而盈之、不如其已。揣而梲之、不可長保。 金玉滿堂、莫之能守。 富貴而驕、自遺其咎。 功遂身退、天之道。
This classical Chinese passage comes from the Mawangdui (馬王堆帛書) text.
Miyamoto Musashi is probably the most famous Samurai in all of Japanese history.
武蔵 is the short title for a man long in legend. While coming from a lower class, his new sword and fighting techniques put him on par with the best that feudal Japan had to offer. His long career started with his first duel was at age 13!
He is credited both with using two swords at once, and never losing a single battle in his career. After becoming a Buddhist, and getting older, like many old warriors, he took up a peaceful and solitary life until his death around 1645 A.D.
Note: Technically, Musashi is his given name, and Miyamoto is his surname. However, it's suggested that he assumed both of these names, and also had a few other names at childhood, as well as being given a Buddhist name. It's hard to know what to call him, as with most Kanji, there are multiple pronunciations. The characters for Musashi can also be pronounced "Takezō". But, everyone in modern times seems to know him by the name Musashi.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|ken / tsurugi||jiàn / jian4 / jian||chien|
|ken||jiàn / jian4 / jian||chien|
The Way of the Sword
|剱道 / 劍道|
|kendou / kendo||jiàn dào / jian4 dao4 / jian dao / jiandao||chien tao / chientao|
|Sword of Death||殺人剣|
|satsu jin ken|
|Sword Saint||剣聖 / 剣聖|
|Life Saving Sword||活人剣||katsu jin ken|
|Energy Sword Body in Concert||気剣体一致 / 氣劍體一致|
|ki ken tai icchi|
ki ken tai ichi
|Katana||刀||katana||dāo / dao1 / dao||tao|
|真剣||shin ken / shinken|
|Shinkage-Ryu||新陰流||shin kage ryuu|
shin kage ryu
|hǎi dǒng jiàn dào|
hai3 dong3 jian4 dao4
hai dong jian dao
|hai tung chien tao
|The Warrior’s Word, Dependable as Gold and Steel||武士の一言、金鉄の如し||bushi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi|
|kenjutsu||jiàn shù / jian4 shu4 / jian shu / jianshu||chien shu / chienshu|
Tao Te Ching - Chapter 9
|chí ér yíng zhī bù rú qí yǐ chuǎi ér zhī bù kě cháng bǎo jīn yù mǎn táng mò zhī néng shǒu fù guì ér jiāo zì yí qí jiù gōng suì shēn tuì tiān zhī dào|
chi2 er2 ying2 zhi1 bu4 ru2 qi2 yi3 chuai3 er2 棁 zhi1 bu4 ke3 chang2 bao3 jin1 yu4 man3 tang2 mo4 zhi1 neng2 shou3 fu4 gui4 er2 jiao1 zi4 yi2 qi2 jiu4 gong1 sui4 shen1 tui4 tian1 zhi1 dao4
chi er ying zhi bu ru qi yi chuai er 棁 zhi bu ke chang bao jin yu man tang mo zhi neng shou fu gui er jiao zi yi qi jiu gong sui shen tui tian zhi dao
|ch`ih erh ying chih pu ju ch`i i ch`uai erh chih pu k`o ch`ang pao chin yü man t`ang mo chih neng shou fu kuei erh chiao tzu i ch`i chiu kung sui shen t`ui t`ien chih tao
chih erh ying chih pu ju chi i chuai erh chih pu ko chang pao chin yü man tang mo chih neng shou fu kuei erh chiao tzu i chi chiu kung sui shen tui tien chih tao
|Musashi||武蔵||mu sashi / musashi|
|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.
Some people may refer to this entry as Sword Kanji, Sword Characters, Sword in Mandarin Chinese, Sword Characters, Sword in Chinese Writing, Sword in Japanese Writing, Sword in Asian Writing, Sword Ideograms, Chinese Sword symbols, Sword Hieroglyphics, Sword Glyphs, Sword in Chinese Letters, Sword Hanzi, Sword in Japanese Kanji, Sword Pictograms, Sword in the Chinese Written-Language, or Sword in the Japanese Written-Language.
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