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Elements Part 1 (2017)

In this section, the concept and principle of Elements will be discussed, though only in a physical and mental capacity. Spiritual Elemental training in the context of Martial Arts transcends and exceeds the physical almost completely and is a tin of worms that will not be opened in this segment. Many life skills can be learned here, so it is not just the Martial Artist who will benefit from this. This leads on from a way of life as well as a way of fighting.


To keep things simple without getting into too much depth, Elements come in the form of Metal, Fire, Water and Air. Let us examine the characteristics of each:

  • Metal

    • Hard, heavy, strong, unwavering. Styles that incorporate such an approach require much in terms of hard muscle and bone conditioning and solid stance work. Metal can also be fluid in how it is moved. Techniques are performed with complete confidence, power and strength, which cause much in terms of overall damage to the opponent.

    • Someone with a metal like personality may come across as strong, confident and certain, but may also be unwilling to change his views.

  • Fire

    • Burns and consumes everything it touches, travels quickly and can be relentless. Styles that incorporate fire are ones that require a level of aggression in the defensive and offensive movements; think of touching a flame and pulling your hand back quickly. Fire also comes with smoke, so techniques may involve attacks against one’s vision and breathing. Techniques may also involve very destructive joint manipulation movements and locks that flow from one to another, sometimes, depending on the severity, irrevocably aggravating the previous injuries to not only the skin, but bone, muscle, tendons and ligaments.

    • Someone with a fire like personality may be very aggressive or assertive, or aggressively assertive. He may also be very quick and snappy with responses.

  • Water

    • Can be hard and soft. Water flows around everything and is very adaptive; placing it into a solid object and it takes the form of the object. Styles that incorporate the water principle tend to be soft and calm, but can move swiftly and suddenly become hard. Water can either be a ice, a lake, rain, waterfall, river and even tidal waves, so you can see the range of forms in which water can take. Techniques may involve cascading combinations, more throws, grappling, attacks against the breathing as well as movements around the opponent’s guard and solid strikes to the body. Either you can be the water flowing around the boulder in the river, or you can be the boulder allowing the water to flow around it; you may be able to visualise this already against multiple opponents.

    • Someone with a water like personality may be open minded and flexible.

  • Air

    • Absolutely everywhere. Flows through and around everything. Styles that incorporate air into their movements tend to be soft, evasive and very fluid. Air is arguably the hardest of the 4. Air can take the form of hurricanes and tornadoes also. Techniques can therefore also cause much in terms of damage, sometimes irrevocable. This may be a throw that slams the opponent onto a very hard surface or forcing them to land in a disadvantaged and compromising position.

    • Someone with an air like personality may be similar to that of water, but may be more easy going and relaxed.


Of course, these are generalisations as they are principles aimed at guiding as opposed to rules that are aimed at controlling and restricting. However, there are many styles that do fit within these elements. Can you think of them?  If you are able to truly fight or react in a way that completely fits and satisfies all of the above elements, then you are heading in the right direction. If not, this is where it is essential to expand your paradigm and be completely open to change, adapt and develop.

With regards to these elements, can you identify times where you have exhibited such behaviour? It is for certain that you will recall times where you have. These are all to do with how we feel. Stay tuned for Part 2.

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