How to make the most of the Four Elements.

(photo: Svenmarck)

While there are 10 stances (or postures used in the Martial Arts as seen on NinjaGym.com) we can take physically, most of those stances fit into one of the 4 elements: Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth.

The four most popular stances are those that relate to the elements. These stances are important because they teach us the basic reactions with a variety of attitudes.

Each stance allows us a different attitude. In relation to the stances, there are four states-of-mind to focus on. Almost any situation that you will face will require one of the four elements as a response. These elements are important in communication as well as in self-defense.

And always remember that body language is a screaming method of communication! Most people fit into one of the elements at any given moment in time. If you wish to build rapport, then it is wise to adapt the same or similar element in use. Let’s review these elements and their associated states of mind.

The mental strategy and states concerning the four elements are:

Element Attitude State Stance
Earth Strength, Control and Confidence Immobile Combat
Water Adaptability, Flow and Comfort Defensive Defensive
Fire Aggression, Speed and Courage Offensive Fighting
Wind Compassion, Sensitivity and Calm Receiving Open

If you want to compare this with the three modalities, then wind would most likely be the kinesthetic person, fire would be the visual, and water would be the auditory. It is best to use these elemental states when the person in question is in that particular element, or “in his element,” so to speak. If someone is reaching out for someone to listen, then it is wise to adapt the element of wind. If someone is screaming and shouting, then you can temporarily adapt the element of fire. In this case you fight fire with fire, but you put it out with water. Before you want to win someone over to your cause, you need to match their current state of mind to build rapport or respect and then you can lead them over to your side. If someone is being stubborn, he can adopt the element of earth. If someone is lashing out for self-protection, he can adopt the element of water.

Once you have entered into the same element as another person, it is possible for you to lead them into another element. In the martial arts we call this concept “mirroring” and it happens to be one of the key strategies for developing your skills as a martial artist. When I am teaching students how to perform a front kick I will ask them to follow my movements – to mirror me. The goal is that they try their best to do exactly as I do. In building rapport you match a person’s Mind, Body, and Spirit. For example:

Show interest in what they are talking about

Match their posture, movements, and breathing pattern

Try to see things form their perspective

First you pace; then you lead. By mirroring another person you build rapport, and once you have rapport you can start to control the situation and they will in turn mirror you. Remember that people will respect you when you enter their element. If you try to motivate a person in the earth element with an attitude of fire, s/he may get upset with you. You first must have rapport, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to get into that person’s element and match their current state of being.

In combat, this might be a little different. Most likely you will need to adopt the physiology of fire, especially if you have no time to negotiate. If you see an upcoming attack following a verbal assault, it would be wise to use this verbal moment for getting into that person’s element. In kickboxing, a fighter can quickly change from one element to the next to keep his opponent from being able to adapt and learn his strategy. This is fighting from the void or all of the elements.

Winjitsu Work Out

Study the 4 elements listed in the chart above, and learn to recognize them when you see situations developing. The body language technique of mirroring will help you gain rapport with others and allow you to then influence their behavior.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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