The martial arts of East Asia are often (but not always) practised in martial arts halls, but they often use different names and characters. The most common term is the Japanese term usually associated with Karate -the ‘dojo’. The Chinese characters are ‘道場’ ‘Dao Chang’ -Dao was looked at in a previous post, meaning ‘the way’ or ‘road’. And ‘chang’ means ‘place’ so I think to Chinese people a ‘dao chang’ is a ‘a place of the way’ with religious, particularly Taoist, implications.
Besides, I suspect ‘dojo’ doesn’t strickly mean ‘place of the way’ to Japanese, but rather it is an abbreviation of the characters of ‘Karate Do Place’ as the suffice to karate -‘do’ is the same character -道. Confused?
So where do Kungfu guys practise martial arts? Well, if you do taijiquan it might just as well be in a park, but the hall is often referred to as the ‘Kwoon ‘ (館). This is Cantonese mind you. I’d studied some Taijiquan and Bajiquan in Shenyang, North East China many years ago, but that was all done outside, there was no ‘Guan (館)’, which is the mandarin equivalent. They do say that Northern Kungfu is all long kicks and the Southern fist is all close and short -no martial arts hall was big enough for the flying kicks of Northern Praying Mantis!
By the way, 館 is a common character in Chinese, Korean and Japanese all with similar meanings, something like ‘hall’ or ‘building’. It’s the same suffix in all three languages on words for ‘library’ (Toshokan/ Tushuguan / Toseogwan) -perhaps that’s why students study so hard in Asian culture -it’s the ‘Book Reading Kwoon’.
Now, regarding another martial art I studied -Taekkyon -the name of the hall escapes me. I think it was something ‘jang’, which I guess is also the ‘場’ character, but some research on the net was futile.
Since my latest three-caption series is due to dry up soon (I’d drawn them last year when I had more time on my hands) I’m also going to rehash some carts that I’d originally posted on Twitter a few months ago, so they’re just one caption and sometimes come out a bit blotchy.
I also hope to begin a new series soon of one-captions called “101 ways to start a fight” -so it’ll be related to a major theme of this blog (that being martial arts). The only draw back is will I be able to come up with 101 different cartoons?
The word for ‘hit’ in Chinese (da 打) is quite a common verb with various meanings such as ‘type’ and ‘make’ a phone call. It’s also used as the word ‘to hit’ or ‘beat’ often in a context of physical abuse and domestic violence, though I haven’t seen it used so much in Taijiquan or other martial arts, which seem to prefer more specialised terms for the different types of strikes.