We're not going to try to convince you that Chinese is an easy language and five lessons will do you. It is an amazing, subtle, humorous, maddening and sophisticated form of communication and, in that, shares its bones and skin with Kung Fu. Many people have asked about our dictionaries and some translation material. What we've done here is to assemble some lessons, by no means comprehensive, that might be of special interest to martial enthusiasts. We try to show you some words, and we also try to tell some of the story. Hope you enjoy.

Chinese words love to morph from one to another. Don't expect this change to be predictable and it certainly won't be boring. We take a common word here and try to "ride its changes" for a minute...

MARTIAL CHINESE Lesson #2: previous next
"Here Comes the Sun".

We start this day off, as is appropriate, with the sun. Pronounced like the slow roar of the oncoming day, this descending tone (rurr) indicates a rising orb. This character alone was responsible for many philologists in the 19th century believing that the characters of Chinese were evolved from the heiroglyphs of ancient Egypt since, when written in the round, the Chinese and the Egyptian symbols are the same. The shape of the character is also martially interesting. fist characterA fist standing up on its side resembles this character and is sometimes called a Sun Fist 日拳 (RìQuán).


After the sun, the moon, and vice versa. The moon (pronounced "You-ay" like a Canadian second person) is a beloved Chinese form. As Sun marks days, the moon marks the months of the lunar calendar. When you want the combined light you have something you can really count on such as the 日月双刀 (RìYuè ShuāngDāo)— Sun and Moon Double Sabers. But, far more importantly, you have...


The combined light of sun and moon is really something. So was the last great dynasty of China actually ruled by native Chinese, the Ming Dynasty. This was a Golden Age of Chinese cultural development until shattered by the Manchus in 1644. Ming is a very important word for CMA because it is exactly equivalent to the hand salute we often use where the closed right fist is wrapped by the open left hand replicating the Moon covering the Sun or, as Lao Tzu wrote, the softest of all things overcoming the hardest of all things. Ming can mean bright as in open, apparent strength 明劲 (MíngJìn). Also, as in English, it can also denote bright as in intelligent or smart: 聪明 (CōngMing, pronouned Song-Ming).


Fù represents a mound of earth. What has that got to do with Sun and Moon? Well, as the sun progresses through the day its light falls unevenly on a mound creating, in one form, an example of sunny and shady or Yin and Yang. Though not quite the classical writing, this right-side variation of mound is used with Sun and Moon nowadays to create just those complementary characters: (Yīn) & (Yáng). And that's a hill of a lot of knowledge right there.

Other Combinations of Interest Simplified/Traditional (If there's a difference)

YuèYáFǔ 月牙斧:
Crescent Moon Shaped Ax (Lit. MoonToothAx)
日月风火轮 RìYuè FēngHuǒ Lún 日月風火輪
Day & Night Wing/Fire Rings
阴 阳 Yīn &Yáng

If you like this approach to Chinese chracters you may look at our Chinese Fast Finder and other texts.

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