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6. Tai Chi Ball
太極拳 is the famous Taoist meditation and martial art exercise. The direct translation of these characters would be something like "grand ultimate fist" but that does not quite hit the mark for what this title really means.
An early-morning walk through any city in China near a park or open area will yield a view of Chinese people practicing this ancient technique.
The typical scene is an old man of no less than 80 years on this earth, with a wispy white beard and perhaps a sword in one hand. He makes slow moves that are impossibly smooth. He is steady-footed, and always in balance. For him, time is meaningless and proper form and technique is far more important than speed.
For the younger generation, faster moves may look impressive and seem smooth to the casual observer. But far more discipline and mental strength is needed to create perfectly smooth moves in virtual slow motion.
Note: There are two ways to Romanize these Chinese characters as seen in the title above. The pronunciation and actual characters are the same in Chinese. If you really used English sounds/words to pronounce this, it would be something like "tie jee chew-on" (just make the "chew-on" as one flowing syllable).
太極 is the shortened title for Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Ji Quan that as sometimes used in Western countries.
Basically just removing the last character which means fist. I don't recommend this two-character selection because it's not really a word without the third character in Japanese and Chinese.
五行太極拳 is a certain school or style of Tai Chi (Taiji).
The characters literally mean "Five Elements Tai Chi Fist".
In Taiwan, it would be Romanized as "Wu Hsing Tai Chi Chuan" - see the standard Mandarin method above in the gray box (used in mainland China and the official Romanization used by the Library of Congress).
The last three characters are sometimes translated as "Grand Ultimate Fist", so the whole thing can be "Five Elements Grand Ultimate Fist" if you wish.
I have not confirmed the use of this title in Korean but if it is used, it's probably only by martial arts enthusiasts. The pronunciation is correct as shown above for Korean.
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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|
|Tai Chi Chuan|
Tai Ji Quan
|tai kyoku ken|
|tài jí quán|
tai4 ji2 quan2
tai ji quan
|t`ai chi ch`üan
tai chi chüan
|Tai Chi Chuan Dao|
Tai Ji Quan Dao
|tài jí quán dào|
tai4 ji2 quan2 dao4
tai ji quan dao
|t`ai chi ch`üan tao
tai chi chüan tao
|taikyoku||tài jí / tai4 ji2 / tai ji / taiji||t`ai chi / taichi / tai chi|
|Five Elements Tai Chi Fist||五行太極拳|
|go gyou tai kyoku ken|
go gyo tai kyoku ken
|wǔ xíng tài jí quán|
wu3 xing2 tai4 ji2 quan2
wu xing tai ji quan
|wu hsing t`ai chi ch`üan
wu hsing tai chi chüan
|Tai Chi Wing Chun Kung Fu||太極詠春功夫|
|tài jí yǒng chūn gōng fu|
tai4 ji2 yong3 chun1 gong1 fu
tai ji yong chun gong fu
|t`ai chi yung ch`un kung fu
tai chi yung chun kung fu
|Tai Chi Ball||太極球|
|tai kyoku kyuu|
tai kyoku kyu
|tài jí qiú|
tai4 ji2 qiu2
tai ji qiu
|t`ai chi ch`iu
tai chi chiu
|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.
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 Tai Chi Chuan Kanji, Tai Chi Chuan Characters, Tai Chi Chuan in Mandarin Chinese, Tai Chi Chuan Characters, Tai Chi Chuan in Chinese Writing, Tai Chi Chuan in Japanese Writing, Tai Chi Chuan in Asian Writing, Tai Chi Chuan Ideograms, Chinese Tai Chi Chuan symbols, Tai Chi Chuan Hieroglyphics, Tai Chi Chuan Glyphs, Tai Chi Chuan in Chinese Letters, Tai Chi Chuan Hanzi, Tai Chi Chuan in Japanese Kanji, Tai Chi Chuan Pictograms, Tai Chi Chuan in the Chinese Written-Language, or Tai Chi Chuan in the Japanese Written-Language.
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