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This Korean proverb means "indomitable spirit," at least, that is the way it is commonly translated in martial arts circles (Taekwondo, Hapkido, etc.).
The literal translation is "[one] hundred [times] broken [still] don't succumb."
Or more naturally translated, "Even if attacked/beaten one hundred times, still be undaunted/indomitable."
Some will say this is one long word rather than a proverb.
百折不屈 is also a proverb/word in Chinese though rarely used in modern times.
不屈 is the short form of a longer Chinese word, and also a word used in Korean and Japanese to express the idea of being indomitable. It literally means, "will not bend," "will not crouch," "will not yield," "will not flinch," or "will not submit."
Note: Some will translate this as "indomitable spirit"; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of "spirit" in this word.
不屈不撓 means "Indomitable" or "Unyielding."
不屈不撓 is a long word by Chinese standards. At least, it is often translated as a single word into English. It's actually a proverb in Chinese.
If you want to break it down, you can see that the first and third characters are the same. Both meaning "not" (they work as a suffix to make a negative or opposite meaning to whatever character follows).
The second character means "bendable."
The last means "scratched" or "bothered."
So this really means "Won't be bent, can't be bothered." I have also seen it written as "Will not crouch, will not submit." This comes from the fact that the second character can mean, "to crouch" and the last can mean "to submit" (as in "to give in" such as "submitting to the rule of someone else"). This may explain better why these four characters mean "indomitable."
Some will translate this as "indomitable spirit"; however, technically, there is no character to suggest the idea of "spirit" in this word.
The first two characters can be a stand-alone word in Chinese.
In Japanese, this is considered to be two words (with very similar meanings).
The same characters are used in Korean, but the 2nd and 4th characters are swapped to create a word pronounced "불요불굴" in Korean.
Just let me know if you want the Korean version, which will also make sense in Japanese, and though not as natural, will also make sense in Chinese as well.
This is General Choi's writing that is often called "The Tenets of Taekwon-do." The actual title would be translated as, "Taekwondo Spirit" or "The Spirit of Taekwondo." It was originally written in Korean Hanja (Chinese characters used in Korea for about 1600 years).
General Choi's original calligraphy is shown to the right. Your custom calligraphy will be unique, and not an exact match, as each calligrapher has their own style.
In modern times, the common form of written Korean is Hangul (a phonetic character set). The table below shows the text in Hangul and Hanja along with a pronunciation guide and a brief English translation:
|Traditional Korean Hanja||Modern Korean Hangul||Pronunciation||English|
|跆拳道精神||태권도정신||tae gweon do jeong sin||Taekwondo Spirit|
|禮儀||예의||ye yi||Courtesy / Etiquette / Propriety / Decorum / Formality|
|廉耻||염치||yeom ci||Integrity / Sense of Honor|
|忍耐||인내||in nae||Patience / Perseverance / Endurance|
|克己||극기||geug gi||Self-Control / Self-Denial / Self-Abnegation|
|百折不屈||백절불굴||baeg jeor bur gur||Indomitable Spirit (Undaunted even after repeated attacks from the opponent)|
|Note that the pronunciation is the official version now used in South Korea. However, it is different than what you may be used to. For instance, "Taekwon-do" is "tae gweon do." This new romanization is supposed to be closer to actual Korean pronunciation.|
壊れない means unbreakable in Japanese.
The first two characters mean to be broken; to break; to fall through; to come to nothing. But the last two characters create a negative meaning (like adding "un-" to "breakable").
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
廉耻精進忍耐遵守克己謙遜百折不屈 are the tenets of Tang Soo Do
|English||Old Hanja||Modern Hangul||Pronunciation|
|廉耻||렴치 or 염치||yeom ci|
|2. Concentration||精進||정진||jeong jin|
|3. Perseverence||忍耐||인내||in nae|
|4. Respect & Obedience||遵守||준수||jun su|
|5. Self-Control||克己||극기||geug gi|
|6. Humility||謙遜||겸손||gyeom son|
|7. Indomitable Spirit||百折不屈||백절불굴||baeg jeor bur gur|
After some research, it appears this list was compiled in English based on Taekwondo tenets. We filled in a few of the words that did not have a corresponding Hanja or Hangul. If someone else has a better list with characters included, please contact me.
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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|
|Indomitable Spirit||負けじ魂||ma ke ji damashii|
ma ke ji damashi
|Indomitable Spirit||百折不屈||bǎi shé bù qū|
bai3 she2 bu4 qu1
bai she bu qu
|pai she pu ch`ü
pai she pu chü
|不屈の精神||fu kutsu no sei shin|
|勇往直前||yǒng wǎng zhí qián|
yong3 wang3 zhi2 qian2
yong wang zhi qian
|yung wang chih ch`ien
yung wang chih chien
|不屈||fukutsu||bù qū / bu4 qu1 / bu qu / buqu||pu ch`ü / puchü / pu chü|
|bù qū bù náo|
bu4 qu1 bu4 nao2
bu qu bu nao
|pu ch`ü pu nao
pu chü pu nao
Spirit of Taekwon-do
|tái quán dào jīng shén lǐ yì lián chǐ rěn nài kè jǐ bǎi zhé bù qū|
tai2 quan2 dao4 jing1 shen2 li3 yi4 lian2 chi3 ren3 nai4 ke4 ji3 bai3 zhe2 bu4 qu1
tai quan dao jing shen li yi lian chi ren nai ke ji bai zhe bu qu
|t`ai ch`üan tao ching shen li i lien ch`ih jen nai k`o chi pai che pu ch`ü
tai chüan tao ching shen li i lien chih jen nai ko chi pai che pu chü
|Unbreakable||壊れない||kowa re na i |
|Tang Soo Do Tenets||廉耻精進忍耐遵守克己謙遜百折不屈 / 廉恥精進忍耐遵守克己謙遜百折不屈|
|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.
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