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拳 is the simplest way to express "fist" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
詠春拳 is the title for the "Wing Chun" school of martial arts but with the addition of the character for "fist" on the end. So this is "Wing Chun Fist" or literally "Singing Spring Fist."
There are lots of alternate Cantonese romanizations for this such as "Wing Chun Kuen," "Wing Tsun Cheun," "Eng Chun Pai," and "Wing Ceon Kyun." The characters are the same, just the lack of a standard Cantonese romanization means that people make up their own based on what they think it sounds like.
This is the chant or poem of Wing Chun. I call it a "chant" because it was meant to be a somewhat rhythmic poem to help practitioners memorize many aspects of Wing Chun.
You will see this referred to as, "Wing Chun Kuem Kuit." This Cantonese romanization is popular in the west (and there is no official way to romanize Cantonese, so many variations exist). In Mandarin it would be, "Yong Chun Quan Jue." The last character (kuit or kyut from Cantonese, jue or chüeh from Mandarin) kind of means "secrets of the art." It's a short way to write 口訣, meaning "mnemonic chant" or "rhyme for remembering."
In the west (especially in the military), we often use acronyms to remember things. There's no initials to make acronyms in Chinese, so in ancient times, chants like this are used to remember vast amounts of information.
I will presume you already know the meaning of the 10 maxims, so I will skip that to keep this calligraphy entry from getting too large.
Some think 练拳者必记 is the title but that just says, "Training fist people should remember:." Therefore, I've not included that in the calligraphy. However, you can put a note in the special instructions if you want it added.
Note: On a traditional calligraphy wall scroll, the characters will be written in vertical columns, starting from the right, and proceeding left.
Note: This is an except and variation from a huge 口訣. These 10 maxims are used extensively in Wing Chun training, and you'll find them all over the internet. Just know there is a much longer version out there, along with several variations and excepts like this one. If you know of, or want a different version, just contact me, and I will add it for you.
A customer asked me to split these Wing Chun maxims into two parts, so he could order a couplet. It thought this was a good idea, so it's been added here.
A couplet is a set of two wall scrolls that start and finish one phrase or idea. Often, couplets are hung with the first wall scroll on the right side, and the second on the left side of a doorway or entrance. The order in Chinese is right-to-left, so that's why the first wall scroll goes on the right as you face the door.
Of course, couplets can also be hung together on a wall. Often they can be hung to flank an alter, or table with incense, or even flanking a larger central wall scroll. See an example here from the home of Confucius
Be sure to order both part 1 and 2 together. One without the other is like Eve without Adam.
猿拳 is the Japanese martial arts title, "Monkey Fist," referring to Monkey-Style Kung Fu.
猿拳 is very similar to a Chinese term that uses a different first character (the characters for ape and monkey were reversed when Japan borrowed Chinese characters, so this would be "Ape Fist" if a Chinese person read it).
Drunken Fist is a traditional Chinese martial art / technique of Kung Fu.
It is a northern style of martial art that imitates a drunk person in its movements. Many staggering movements serve to deceive the opponent and keep them off-balance.
Some consider Drunken Fist to be among the harder styles of martial arts due to the need for powerful joints and fingers.
See Also: Drunken Monkey
鷹爪翻子拳 is the title of a Chinese martial arts style known as "Ying Zhua Fan Zi Quan" or "Eagle Claw Overturning Fist."
This style was derived from a combination of 鷹爪派 (Eagle Claw School) and 子母拳 (Son-Mother Fist). The title "son-mother" may seem odd, but it refers to a fist or punch seemingly coming out of another fist or punch. In modern times, 子母彈 is a title for "cluster bomb" (bombs coming out of another bomb).
鐵拳 is a common theme used by various schools of martial arts.
鐵 means "iron" but in some cases, can mean "indisputable."
拳 means fist.
Some schools use the older/Taiwanese way to Romanize the iron fist, so you may have seen it spelled "Tieh Chuan" instead of "Tie Quan." Neither way is technically incorrect.
Note that in Mandarin, the first part of the first character sounds like the English word "tea" blending into a soft "-eh" sound. The second character sounds a lot like "chew on" but as if it is one syllable.
After WWII in Japan, the Kanji for iron was simplified. This new Kanji form is shown to the right. If you want this modern Japanese version, please click on the Kanji to the right, instead of the button above. The characters shown to the left would still be considered the old or ancient Japanese version of this title.
五祖拳 is a martial arts concept (or school) known as Five Ancestors' Fist.
The first character means five.
The second means ancestor, forefather, or grandparents.
The third means fist.
The ancestors referred to by this title and whose attributes contribute to this style are as follows:
1. Grace of the White Crane.
2. Agility of the Monkey.
3. Precision and skill of Emperor Taizu (great mythical ancestor).
4. Power of Luohan (Buddhist arhat).
5. Breath of Damo (founder of Buddhism, or the first Buddha).
This literally means what you think, it's the "Monkey Fist" school of Kung Fu. A style that mimics the punches and movements of monkeys and apes.
Becoming popular during the Qing Dynasty, this style can trace its origins back to as early as the Song Dynasty. Some of the romance and popularity of this style comes from the novel "Journey to the West" which features the Monkey King and his fighting skills.
This novel and martial arts style has spawned a stream of Hong Kong movies featuring the Monkey King, and other Kung Fu style variations such as "Drunken Monkey" and "Monkey Stealing Peaches" (a technique of disabling your opponent by grabbing and yanking on his testicles).
Note: This kind of makes sense in Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji but probably unknown by all Koreans and Japanese except those who have an interest in this form of Kung Fu.
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.
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.
A customer asked me to split these Wing Chun maxims into two parts, so he could order a couplet.
It thought this was a good idea, so it's been added here.
Be sure to order both part 1 and part 2 together. They need to be a matched set. It will be incomplete as a single wall scroll. Also, each wall scroll is handmade, so if you order them separately, weeks or months apart, they will vary a little by length, shade of paper, etc.
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.
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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|
|Fist||拳||kobushi||quán / quan2 / quan||ch`üan / chüan|
|Wing Chun Fist||詠春拳|
|yǒng chūn quán|
yong3 chun1 quan2
yong chun quan
|yung ch`un ch`üan
yung chun chüan
|Wing Chun Fist Maxims||有手黐手無手問手來留區送甩手直沖怕打終歸打貪打終被打粘連迫攻絕不放鬆來力瀉力借力出擊步步追形點點朝午以形補手敗形不敗馬腰馬一致心意合一拳由心發動法無形活人練活死功夫|
|Wing Chun Fist Maxims (Part 1)||有手黐手無手問手來留區送甩手直沖怕打終歸打貪打終被打粘連迫攻絕不放鬆來力瀉力借力出擊|
|Drunken Fist||醉拳||suiken||zuì quán / zui4 quan2 / zui quan / zuiquan||tsui ch`üan / tsuichüan / tsui chüan|
|Wu Xing Fist||五形拳||gokeiken||wǔ xíng quán|
wu3 xing2 quan2
wu xing quan
|wu hsing ch`üan
wu hsing chüan
|Eagle Claw Overturning Fist||鷹爪翻子拳|
|yīng zhuǎ fān zi quán|
ying1 zhua3 fan1 zi5 quan2
ying zhua fan zi quan
|ying chua fan tzu ch`üan
ying chua fan tzu chüan
铁拳 / 鉄拳
|tekken / teken||tiě quán / tie3 quan2 / tie quan / tiequan||t`ieh ch`üan / tiehchüan / tieh chüan|
|Five Ancestors Fist||五祖拳||wǔ zǔ quán|
wu3 zu3 quan2
wu zu quan
|wu tsu ch`üan
wu tsu chüan
|wǔ dāng quán|
wu3 dang1 quan2
wu dang quan
|wu tang ch`üan
wu tang chüan
|White Crane Fist||白鶴拳|
bai2 he4 quan2
bai he quan
|pai ho ch`üan
pai ho chüan
|Monkey Fist||猴拳||hóu quán / hou2 quan2 / hou quan / houquan||hou ch`üan / houchüan / hou chüan|
|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
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
|Wing Chun Fist Maxims (Part 2)||步步追形點點朝午以形補手敗形不敗馬腰馬一致心意合一拳由心發動法無形活人練活死功夫|
|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
|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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