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4 Elements And Martial Arts Training

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4 Elements And Martial Arts Training

Sensei was enjoying sitting down with the guys after training in the lounge area of the Dojo just watching and listening as they exchanged the traditional exchange of views and friendly banter about the Martial Arts over coffee and soft drinks….

“If it don’t work in a real fight, what’s the point training it?” asked Brian.

“I think there’s more to training in the Martial Arts than just fighting” said Jed “after all, there’s your health to think about…”

“And what about pure enjoyment” interjected Gary “sometimes you train for the sheer sensual enjoyment of moving your body, it doesn’t always have to be about health or fighting….”

“Always said you were kinky,” said Jed, “there has to be something wrong with anyone who wears a thong under their gi….”  Everyone laughed…

“Yeah, what’s Borat gonna say when he finds it missing” joked Brian.

“At least I can floss and train at the same time” laughed Gary.

“Seriously though” said Brian, ‘what are you going to do if you’re attacked on the way home tonight” and you’ve been thinking of ‘health’ and ‘sensuality’ (he made those ridiculous ‘speechmark’ finger gestures) and not enough about fighting?  After all, we do live in a violent and crime ridden area…”

“I’ll show ‘em my thong” joked Gary “that’ll scare ‘em away!”

“What if it don’t..” said Jed, “that’d be even more scary!”

“You guys are hopeless” said Brian in frustration, “what do you think Sensei?” All eyes turned to Sensei who hadn’t really been thinking but just relaxing and enjoying listening to the banter.

Sensei looked thoughtful for a while as he considered to what depth he would answer the question, all the group were senior grades so he took the opportunity to answer with a brief lesson.

“We all relate to the world in different ways, we’re all made up of the elements earth, water, air and fire…”  Sensei was being deliberately vague to gain the group’s attention and mental focus.

“Well that’s about as obscure as to why Gary wears a thong” said Brian knowing what Sensei was doing but couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a bit of extra ribbing…

Sensei laughed, “as I said, we’re all made up of earth, water, air and fire with differing balances and this dictates how we relate to the world.

“Explain please….” asked Brian.

“Once upon a time…” joked Sensei…. “there was nothing and everything at the same time, then with the birth of the universe, every time an energy was created it’s opposite force was created at the same time, you all understand in/yo and yin/yang so I don’t need to explain that to you again. But then 2 split into 4 with earth and water the yin energies and fire and air the yang energies.  Earth is winter, air is spring, fire is summer and water autumn.

Our corporal body is made up from that which is grown in or comes from the earth, we are 99% water, we breath air to live and our energy is heat or fire.  Each element has it’s own energy or ‘feel’ to it.  Our character and how we relate to the world around us, including our martial training is also made up from the nature of these energies.

Earth is practical, a predominantly earth person, like you Brian, will want to know how to make a technique work and what uses it has, he will lean towards the physical and the practical, but maybe will not be able to look up and see the higher and more arcane purposes in training.  An earth person will tend to say ‘I do’.

Water is emotion based so a predominantly water person will say ‘I feel’, water can be stubborn and will often take a long emotion-ridden path to get there. They are the most likely person to be ‘wet’ or a ‘drip’ in the Dojo but should not be underestmated as they have the ability to stick to the training if you know how to counter them with the fire they need.  Remember water will wear away stone given time and can also make a person caring and sensitive to others.

Air is communication and thought. A predominantly air person will say ‘I think’ and will be the person in the Dojo most likely to be talking about training instead of doing it.  They can think good Karate and will have all the theories but need to be balanced with the practicality of earth to be successful.  Sometimes they have to be told to ‘shut up and get on with it’!  Having structured knowledge can make them good teachers as long as they realise that they can also bore students to death by talking.

Fire is energy and heat and the person most likely to say ‘I am’.  The fire of enthusiasm can burn fierce and fast, they will have the energy and the temper to go with it.  They can over train and are susceptible to injury because of their enthusiasm, they will also burn out quickly and are the least sensitive, so they are most likely to upset other students and need to be balanced with the pace and sensitivity of water.

Therefore to balance a student’s elemental make up, as coaches we have to awaken the hidden elements in them.  An earth person will look for the practicality and need deeper aspiration from air and water in their training, a water person will want to give substance to their emotions and need the drive and ambition of fire and maybe the practicality of earth.  An air person will have the structure and science of movement and will probably need practicality of earth and the sensitivity of water to move forward.  A fire person will just want to get on with it but needs the pace and grounding of earth and the sensitivity of water.

If we are ignorant we don’t understand why everyone is not the same as us with the same views, but when we realise that they are actually made different we can see why there is so much diversity in the Martial Arts..”

“And why some wear thongs and others don’t!” exclaimed Gary…

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