Elements Part 2
Following on from Part 1, Elemental principles can be applied to a real life situation. For instance, you may be feeling very confident and strong. If a group of people were to attack you, you may be able to comfortably fend off the one (METAL) before his friend lands a hit which may trigger a more aggressive emotion to compensate (FIRE), however, Fire requires oxygen; we as people are no different. If you take the oxygen away, the fire ceases. In this case, you may be out of breath, where you may have to resort to fighting in a softer manner, where you are more reactive and defensive (WATER) as the attacks are still oncoming. You now have very little energy, where you may choose to employ a more evasive and non-aggressive and almost passive approach (AIR), where your opponents become frustrated and try even harder to fight but in getting angry, they begin to telegraph their techniques where you will see them coming more easily.
It may not even go in that order either; you may be ill or injured and in no position to fight but faced with a physical confrontation. Adopting an Air or Water approach would be far more beneficial than potentially further aggravating your condition if you were to use Metal or Fire.
When having a conversation or argument with someone, some people automatically resort to these elements. An argument or dispute that is not a physical confrontation can often result in people having similar reactions. For instance, in saying something out of spite and angering another individual, you will have a tendency to clench your face as you expect that person to respond in a similar manner; you are essentially preparing to take a metaphorical punch.
Now what happens when you identify someone who fights with a metal like style? Do you fight metal against metal? What happens? Metal against metal may cause damage to both parties. Fire against fire; they consume one another and expand, where things get out of hand and others inadvertently get involved and injured. It is generally advisable to face such an element with its antithesis. For instance, somebody using a fire like style or approach to fighting or even the way they talk can be extinguished if you adopt a water or air approach. Think about that; if somebody is very aggressive towards you but you are calm and objective in your regard back to him, that aggression often loses its bite.
For arguments and disputes, you may feel irritable and lash out at someone (FIRE) even if they did not mean to upset you (hand touching the flame). You have now burned them; depending on what you said, you may be able to put some ice on that burn as a way to apologise (WATER). Of course, you may elect to say more harmful things, where the degree of the burn is more severe. Most people who have a relaxed and calm approach (AIR and WATER) toward their equanimity generally have less issues with others and are more easy going, relaxed and do not take things too seriously.
Most people who train tend to choose certain disciplines that only fit into one type of element. Ask yourself what type of style you currently practice with the elemental paradigm. Often a fighter may lose due to lack of experience; true Martial Arts takes everything into account. It is important to be able to train even when you do not feel like it; this is where you will see where you need improvement. Most fights happen when you do not want them to, where they often catch you off guard. You are unprepared for it and perhaps not in the right frame of mind or being; you use your only element-discipline to resolve it, though if you are practicing a predominantly metal style, which requires a lot of physical energy and you become tired and the opponent is still coming toward you relentlessly, you will not have the energy to fight on or run away. It is therefore absolutely essential for a Martial Artist to practice and learn in as many conditions as possible to be truly effective. Most only ever train in the gym but cannot extrapolate that training and apply it to another location in a different environment under a different condition. Doing combat training for competition purposes may not be enough for a knife attack on the street. That being said, somebody who is proficient in self defence and has been in many real life situations and can handle himself well under those conditions such as a security guard, may not do so well in a competition.
As previously mentioned in an earlier article that a Martial Artist has mastery of his physical, mental and spiritual faculties, one should never act in anger. A Martial Artist should be able to implement and execute movements from those Elements to better deal with the situation. Fire does not always been anger either; it can be used as a tool also, however this takes practice and experience. Water and air are similar in that it takes time to perfect these concepts, knowing when to be hard and soft. It is intentional for this segment to be somewhat vague so that you are able to use the content to apply it to your own paradigmatic development.
Martial Arts is all about application and how things apply to your life. If you cannot apply it, either you do not yet fully comprehend it or it is useless. Martial Principles feed into our way of life and can benefit and enrich the way we live to the point where we can defend ourselves accordingly or resolve conflicts peacefully. Using elements as an analogy, these principles should be used to guide you to further develop and improve your ever growing understanding.