Certification Stamp for Grove Martial Arts

2013-12-11 — Good Characters (Leave a message)

We’re happy to share with you a martial arts certificate authentication stamp we recently made for Grove Martial Arts in the UK.

Master Chris wanted the stamp to say “Grove Martial Arts” and informed us that Grove is an English group teaching Goju Ryu Karate for self-protection. The instructors are three generations of the same family. They place a lot of emphasis on the warrior mindset. They also have a strong connection to the British military; a number of the members and instructors have served in the British Army.



Goju Ryu Karate is written as 剛柔 (Goju) 流 (Ryu) 空手道 (Karate). 剛柔 (Go ju), literally hard (剛) and soft (柔), is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. The character 柔 (ju), meaning soft, gentle, or yield, is also seen in martial arts style names such as 柔道 (judo) and 柔術 (jujitsu, jujutsu).

Grove means forest or woods. It's a name here, so we might translate it by meaning or transliterate it by sound or use a combination of both.

Since 剛 is pronounced similarly to “go-” or “gro-”, we thought instead of translating Grove as 樹林, literally “tree forest.” We could make it 剛林, literally “strong forest,” a unique name that does not distort the original meaning. It corresponds to another term “武林”, literally “martial arts” and “forest,” traditionally used to describe the field of martial arts. Therefore, 剛林, Strong Forest, is a great coined name in the character version to represent the original name Grove and signifies a group of Goju Ryu Karate warriors.



The translation of Grove Martial Arts, 剛林 (Grove) 武道館 (Martial Arts [School/Place/House/Hall]), has five characters. The traditional red square authentication stamp looks really nice when it's four or nine characters because that gives it good symmetry. So we added Goju Ryu into the stamp to form 剛林 (Grove) 剛柔流 (Goju Ryu) 武道館 (Martial Arts) 印 (Seal). This arrangement of the characters conforms to the proper grammatical structure of the Japanese and the Chinese languages. The 印 (seal) character at the end is often added to increase the number of characters on a stamp to form symmetry, to enhance the look of the stamping seal, and to give the stamp an air of higher authority.

剛林 also brings to mind a phrase from Chapter 7, passage 17 of Sun Tzu's The Art of War that tells troops, “Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest,” or from another interpretation, “Be able to move as fast as wind and to stand as still as a forest.”

As a whole, the stamp signifies “Grove (Goju Ryu) Martial Arts’s Seal” or “Signed by, authenticated by, Grove (Goju Ryu) Martial Arts.”

We want to thank Master Chris for his care and concern for getting the best traditional symbol of authentication and recognition for his students and allowing us to create it for him.


From: Grove Martial Arts
To: Andy Chuang 

Sent: Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Subject: Re: Status update: Just shipped

Hi Andy,

This is fantastic and exactly what I was looking for. Now that it has been explained, it makes complete sense!

Thank you very much for all the work and thought that has gone into this piece. It looks great and the quality of the translation means a great deal to us!

All the best,

Chris.