Chapter 3: Metaphysics – The Four Basic Elements
a. Fire –
Fire is perhaps, the first most important of all the elements to discuss, because it is the most misunderstood, and its true nature is too often taken for granted. Obviously, it is an element of destruction, capable of ravaging all from a child’s wooden sword, to the entire lumber supply of a kingdom. Yet how often do you look up in the sky, notice the sun, and appreciate the energy it grants to all life on Earth? How often do you give thanks for fire’s life-sustaining warmth, its technological importance in innovation and invention, and even the importance of its destructive path clearing the way for new life?
Fire is indeed, a destructive element– but it is every bit as much constructive as well. It all depends on whether or not it is harnessed, or where it is naturally occurring. The dead forest rife with rotting twigs and leaves all over its floor is grateful when fire cleans away the underbrush. The trees, perhaps scorched, now left with a newly-enriched soil after the first few rains. Therefore, fire is to be feared and respected.
In the martial arts, fire is diametrically opposed to Earth. When it comes to a relatively even match, fire will boil away its water opponent, if that opponent is not careful. It will consume its air opponent– but it will be frustrated by earth. It takes a massively greater fire stylist to defeat an earth stylist. This is because of each’s strengths and weaknesses.
Fire’s greatest strength is its unrelenting ferocity. It flourishes in the fuel of air, and licks rapidly at anything in its path until it is able to utterly consume it, melt it, or char it to a brittle, fragile version of its former self, moving through or around it. It can do this so long as there is more fuel for the fire than there is endurance of its obstacle. Endurance however, is the key strength of earth, and therefore it is the most steadfast against fire’s relentless assault. All fire must do to win any competition, is what it does best: unleash itself at full force instantly, explosively, and with every ounce of its energy until it has nothing left. All one must do to defeat fire, is survive this onslaught.