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1. Kung / Gong
8. Jackie Chan
龔 is a Chinese surname that can romanize as Gong or Kung.
From most of China, it would be Gong, but from Cantonese, it is often romanized as Kung.
In Korean, this could be a surname that romanizes as Gong or Kong and is now written as 공.
The original meaning of the character was something like, "to provide".
貢 is a Chinese surname that can romanize as Gong from Mandarin or Kung from Cantonese.
In Japan, this can be the surname or given name Mitsugi. The meaning of this is tribute or gifts.
Qigong is the title of a technique that is somewhere between a medical practice, meditation, and in some cases a religion. The definition is blurred depending on which school of Qigong you are following. In some cases, it is even incorporated with martial arts.
Some people (even Chinese people) mix this title with Tai Chi (Tai Qi) exercises.
Lately in China, people will claim to practice Tai Chi rather than Qigong because the Qigong title was recently used as a cover for an illegal pseudo-religious movement in China with the initials F.G. or F.D. (I can not write those names here for fear of our website being banned in China).
You can learn those names and more here: Further info about Qigong
If you are wondering about why I wrote "Qi Gong" and "Chi Kung" as the title of this calligraphy entry, I should teach you a little about the various ways in which Chinese can be Romanized. One form writes this as "Chi Kung" or "Chikung" (Taiwan). In the mainland and elsewhere, it is Romanized as "Qi Gong" or "Qigong". The actual pronunciation is the same in Taiwan, mainland, and Singapore Mandarin. Neither Romanization is exactly like English. If you want to know how to say this with English rules, it would be something like "Chee Gong" (but the "gong" has a vowel sound like the "O" in "go").
Romanization is a really confusing topic and has caused many Chinese words to be mispronounced in the west. One example is "Kung Pao Chicken" which should actually be more like "Gong Bao" with the "O" sounding like "oh" for both characters. Neither system of Romanization in Taiwan or the Mainland is perfect in my opinion and lead to many misunderstandings.
One of the most famous types of martial arts in the world - and not just because of Bruce Lee.
Some translate the meaning as "Accomplishment by Great Effort". I think this is partially true but directly translated it literally means "Merit/Achievement/Accomplishment Man". The word "fu" can sometimes mean "husband" or "porter" but in this case, it can only mean "man". However, few in China will think "man" when they hear the word "Gong Fu" spoken.
This term is also used for things other than martial arts. In fact, it's used to refer to a person with excellent skills in crafts that require a great deal of effort such as cooking, tea ceremonies, and calligraphy.
What a lot of people don't know is that the spelling of "Kung Fu" was actually taken from the old Wade Giles form of Romanization. Using this method, the sounds of the English "G" and "K" were both written as "K" and an apostrophe after the "K" told you it was supposed to sound like a "G". Nobody in the west knew this rule, so most people pronounce it with a "K-sound". And so Gong Fu will always be Kung Fu for most westerners.
Also, just to educate you a little more, the "O" in "Gong" has a sound like the English word "oh".
The popular Chinese dish "Kung Pao Chicken" suffers from the same problem. It should actually be "Gong Bao Chicken".
Historical note: Many will claim that Kung Fu was invented by the monks of the Shaolin monastery. This fact is argued in both directions by scholars of Chinese history. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Shaolin Monks brought the original fame to Kung Fu many generations ago.
Japanese note: While most Japanese martial artists will recognize these characters, Katakana is more often used to approximate the pronunciation of "Kung Fu" with "カンフー." Some will argue as to whether this should be considered a Japanese word at all.
See Also: Bruce Lee
醉猴功夫 is the title for Drunken Monkey Kung Fu (Gong Fu).
The martial arts style inspired by the novel, "Journey to the West".
See Also: Monkey Fist
功夫散手 is a martial arts title.
Oddly, there are multiple ways two spell/romanize this in English but in Chinese, it's written exactly the same.
Technically, the Mandarin romanizes as "gong fu san shou", for which you'll sometimes see it written "kung fu san shou" (k'ung is an old romanization for a word that sounds like gong with a vowel sound like "oh").
There is another martial arts style that spells this "Kung Fu San Soo". My guess is, this was supposed to approximate Cantonese pronunciation for which the scholarly romanization is generally agreed to be "gung fu saan sau".
This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.
氣 is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in "life force" or "spiritual energy". It is most often translated as "energy flow", or literally as "air" or "breath". Some people will simply translate this as "spirit" but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.
The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice looks like this:
Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.
The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like these samples:
However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical looks like this:
The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the "flow" of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.
You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.
In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.
The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.
More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.
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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|
|gōng / gong1 / gong||kung|
|mitsugi||gòng / gong4 / gong||kung|
|kikou / kiko||qì gōng / qi4 gong1 / qi gong / qigong||ch`i kung / chikung / chi kung|
|功夫||kan fu / ku fu|
kanfu / kufu
|gōng fu / gong1 fu / gong fu / gongfu||kung fu / kungfu|
|Drunken Monkey Kung Fu||醉猴功夫 / 醉猴功伕|
|zuì hóu gōng fu|
zui4 hou2 gong1 fu
zui hou gong fu
|tsui hou kung fu
|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
|Kung Fu San Soo|
|功夫散手||gōng fu sǎn shǒu|
gong1 fu san3 shou3
gong fu san shou
|kung fu san shou
气 / 気
|ki||qì / qi4 / qi||ch`i / chi|
|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.
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