Monday, 18 February 2008

Fire with fire, fire with water

The paragraph that started my philosophical thinking for this week is from another blog:

"Most people are taught in life (and in most other martial arts) to meet force with force – to fight fire with fire.[...] However, isn't it more intelligent to fight fire with water, not with fire? When was the last time a fireman showed up at a burning home with a truck full of fire?"

In a normal case, you do meet fire with water: an aikidoka answers to an attack with water, i.e. we are not supposed to add any force to that of the attacker but redirect the force and make the energy flow.

This is the basic case but let's play with the ideas of water and fire and their use in aikido.

I think an attack can be fire or water, doesn't matter. If fire is concentrated into a sudden blast it can destroy everything. If water is focused into a tiny ray it can cut the toughest diamond.

An aikido technique can be fire or water, too. As water, it finds the least resistant way and lets the opponent's energy flow so that water itself doesn't have to 'use' its potential energy. As fire, if you absorb the energy of what creates fire (a log, for example) and emit it back as heat and pressure then you used the energy of the attacker and threw him with his own energy. If there's no log to feed the fire, there isn't much to emit back, only a tiny spark is enough until the attack comes.

So is it fire with fire, water with water or what? :) And what if I bring in the rest of the basic elements, i.e. earth and air?

Are these two things (fire and water) the same as yin and yang? Or yang and yin? I don't know but it was good to think about it in the morning.

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