Fire and Water

Chinese philosophy can be like a labyrinth in the dark. For one thing it  is old but continuous with key concepts changing and reforming throughout the centuries. When we talk about the Greek myths a comfortable distance stands between us and the stories. In essence the Greek gods are dead (not really) but the Chinese gods move among us.

Take the concept of Yin and Yang which, by now, just about everyone on the planet at least recognizes. In some sense, though mentioned a lot, the abstraction of Yin and Yang are too general to be of much use. It’s like talking about “pure good” and “pure evil”, philosophically entertaining but difficult to itemize.

For martial artists and Qigong practitioners we need something more down to earth, less like quantum physics, and more like chemistry. We need fire and water.

It is obvious that fire and water are the Yin and Yang of our world. In fact it is said that all came about because the Governor of Fire, Li, and his brother, Zhong, were responsible for the separation of Heaven and Earth. Why was this done? In some beliefs it was to punish humans for their sins. In some it was that they needed room and heaven was so close they could not even walk upright nor draw their mortars high enough to pound their food.