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Ken

China kěn
Ken Vertical Wall Scroll

肯 is the transliteration to Mandarin Chinese for the name Ken.

Ken

Japan ken
Ken Vertical Wall Scroll

ケン is the name Ken written in Katakana (phonetic Japanese).


Note: Because this title is entirely Japanese Katakana , it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

Ken Zen Ichi Nyo

Japan ken zen ichi nyo
Ken Zen Ichi Nyo Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese phrase is often translated as "train both body and spirit."

Here's the breakdown of the words in this phrase:
拳 means fist.
禅 is zen, which means meditation.
一如 is a word that means "to be just like," "oneness," "true nature," or "true character."

So to get to the translation of "train both body and spirit," you must understand that "fist" is representing "body" and the idea of mediation is representing "mind."

I have to say, this is not how I would translate this. To me, it's really about training with your mind and remembering that mediation is a huge part of training, not just your fist. As the Shaolin Buddhist monks show us, meditation is just as important as physical training in martial arts.


The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Kenkěn / ken3 / kenk`en / ken
Kenケンken
Ken Zen Ichi Nyo拳禪一如
拳禅一如
ken zen ichi nyo
kenzenichinyo
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.