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The Zen of Soaking

"Earth is the ground upon which we stand and that from which we are made. Air is in our every breathe. Fire drives our hearts and gives us warmth and conviction. Metal is what is tested when times get tough. Water is the essence that makes us complete." - Z.o.S.

At this point, we shall begin to peer deeper into the soul of the Water Warrior. Ancient civilizations divided the universe into five elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, Metal, and Water. Here, too, we shall divide the essense of the Water Warrior into these five elements. Though the scientific knowledge of the ancients was limited, their wisdom was great and should be remembered, not forgotten.

The Five Elements :.


EarthEarth 土 :.

The substance that we walk upon and the solid that constitutes our body. Its firmness gives us strength. When traversing the ground, one must always observe the quality of earth beneath our soles. Its condition will advise us on whether to proceed quickly or slowly... loudly or quietly... forcefully or gently...

The Earth within us gives us strength. We must balance its development through exercise and eating well. Earth ex corpus when eaten becomes part of the in corpus. It is all too easy to fill the body with junk foods. To become one with the environment, one should choose more natural foods. Do not take this is a sermon about eating right... take it as a guideline for developing a healthier body, ultimately resulting in a better life and better soaking ability. The Water Warrior must balance mind, body, soul, and tools. No part should be developed at the price of another. All parts make up the whole.

AirAir 气 :.

Clear, fresh air is something we almost take for granted, surrounding us invisibly with an ether which allows us to live. As in Earth, the Air about must be observed, but not with the eyes. The Air can be smelled, looking for scents which may suggest a hidden person or persons. The Air can be felt, making the Water Warrior adjust their shot to compensate for wind interference.

While the Air about the body will affect how one's streams travel, the Air within gives the body strength to continue moving. Practicing taking slow, deep breaths can actually increase one's stamina by increasing the amount of oxygen in one's blood to help the muscles continue to work. It is when the body is lacking Air that one begins to feel the pain of cramps, knotted-muscles, and lactic acid build up. To prevent this, the ability to take larger breaths when needed will prevent one's muscles from working anaerobically and keep them happily contracting aerobically, getting a work-out without as much pain.

FireFire 火 :.

Virtually intangible, but its effects can be felt even from a distance. The passion and conviction for soaking is the fire that should burn within.

One needs to draw from one's fire to overcome the insurmountable; accomplish the impossible; live the unimaginable. Of course, this begins to sound more like a rally cry, but the idea here is to rally one's thoughts around being the best one can be. Water Warriors are able to assess their weaknesses and strive to overcome them while further developing their strengths. The energy to accomplish this is, quite simple, from the burning desire within to do what the average cannot.

MetalMetal 金 :.

Metal represents that which is strong, yet malleable. Metal can be dull or sharpened, typically cool to the touch. Neglected metal may corrode or rust away, but cared for metal will have a beautiful, lustrous shine.

It is a common notion that in battle, our metal (a.k.a. mettle / courage) is tested. Through various practices, meditation, and self-reflection, the Water Warrior will grow more in tune with the Metal. The enlightened Water Warrior is able to shape, hone, and polish their inner metal to meet and withstand whatever comes one's way.

WaterWater 水 :.

Water is the essence of all that we are. The Water Warrior is made of water, uses water in his art and listens to the wisdom held within every droplet he uses. Without water, there is no life, no soak, nothing. The Water Warrior has learned to respect and cherish water, making every stream count and seeking vengeance upon those who squander their water so carelessly.

With the Earth, Air, Fire, Metal, and Water are one's disposal, the task becomes clear: To master the art, one must be the master of oneself. Thoughts should be effortlessly translated into action. Actions should be quickly deciphered by thought.

Forest creek

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