Friday, March 14, 2014

Calligraphy - Cultivation of Character

We haven't been keeping up with the blog for a while.  I think it's good time to start it up again.

Earlier this year, I started to practice calligraphy again.  As a child in Taiwan, I had gone through the obligatory writing class, but never liked it.  I was known in my class and to my family for my ugly handwriting.  I'm surprised by how much I enjoy practicing calligraphy now.  There are infinite intricacies and variations in something so simple and formal.  It's like brewing beer strictly adhere to the Reinheitsgebot.  

I started to see calligraphy in many things.  Watching the Winter Olympic, I saw Virtue and Moir's ice dancing as moving ink strokes.  I saw in snowboarding the tip and edges of a brush.  When I practice Taiqiquan, I notice the similarity to the posture of the writer and the expression of the characters.  It's a black on white universe, where freedom exists in structure and everything is full of meaning.  

I find that in North America, calligraphy, whether the Chinese style done with a brush, or the Western style done with a nib, is considered as an art.  Often only people with artistic interests or inclination will approach it.  However, traditionally Chinese calligraphy was considered more as a cultivation of one's character.  Even though both painting and writing were done with the same style of brush on the same kind of paper with the same type ink, ancient calligraphers were rarely painters.  Instead, they were usually scholars, ministers, writers, even generals.  

I wonder if there are many people in North America who are intrigued by Chinese calligraphy but never bother trying it because they don't consider themselves artistic?  If anyone's interested in brush writing, we have a Chinese Calligraphy Study Group, every Monday night 7:45-8:45, at Peaceful Water Health & Fitness Lobby.  I am trying an approach so that no knowledge of the Chinese language is necessary.  However, it's inevitable anyone who write will eventually learn some Chinese.  For more info, please email:

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