Wén jī qǐ wǔ
Translation: To rise up upon hearing the crow of a rooster and practice with the sword.
Meaning: To study hard in order to achieve a lofty goal; or simply to study with diligence and stamina.
This proverb derives from a biographical chapter found in one of China’s many historical books called the Jinshu 晋书(Book of Jin), which covers the history of the Jin dynasty from 265–420 ce. Its editorship has been attributed to Fang Xuanling (579–648), an official of the Tang dynasty. The biographical record is about Liu Kun and his contemporary Zu Ti. The former was a Jin statesman and military strategist, and the latter a famous general who, until his death, led a series of successful military expeditions against Central China’s long-time enemy in the north, the tribal Xiongnu.