Will matters and your will is free.
In martial arts, some claim to be able to disrupt your chi and make you weak. They can, because they fight you before actually fighting you. They have developed an awareness of their own chi advanced enough that they can recognize chi patterns in you, and they deliberately shift their state to exhaust yours. Not to destroy yours, because that would weaken them as well. When fire meets water, both get cancelled.
Is that what boxers are doing when they do the head games before a fight? If they do it skilfully, yes. It would tell them whether to remain quiet or get loud, or even be friendly. You can sap someones strength by being warm and friendly as well. That is the earth category.
Throw earth on fire? Yes, or pulling metal out of fire. Both are positions of strength.
How would you pull metal out? Fire creates metal from earth. When you greet the fire with earth, you end the conflict as metal. If you stay metal, then you cut down your tree. You actually cause yourself injury in the fight with your rigid stance. So you plunge metal into water and strike. Every time you get metal, you go to water then counter.
So be warm and friendly to a fiery (passionate) person and you make the person be metal which would be too rigid to fight you effectively? Actually, be warm and friendly to a fiery person and they make you metal which will clarify their stance. You reflect their energy. Then you go to water, the state of releasing metal, and in that state you can’t be touched by fire, but you won’t be damaged by the water either. The clarity of thought, and feeling unified, baffles the temperamental person so it’s more like the fireman’s axe then a hose. Expose the fire to chi and it automatically balances out. You restore the wood.
Fire and wood are opposite? Fire and wood are, yes, though not in the western sense. Just as there is a progressive or creative cycle, there is a destructive and regressive cycle as well. So fire, wood, earth, water and metal are all involved in that as well.
If you remember the five categories (earth, fire, water, wood, metal) and keep your head out of the clouds, the wuxing system is pretty easy to use. I mean keeping your head out of the clouds as a metaphor and mnemonic device. They don’t use air. Air is space. It has a place but it isn’t one of the five categories. It’s more synonymous with Tao, like cosmic gasses, nebulae. All the five categories arise from it. Also like the five digits on our hands. Our most primal thought is associated with our hands. We instinctively think of five and the other five. We first stare at our hands when we encounter “self”.
Muhammad Ali was known for his banter. Was he a particular element or good with all of them? He was good with all of them. He was known for changing his state and even honestly telling people why he made what sounded like egotistical statements. They asked him if he believed in them. He responded roughly along the lines of that not being the point. His “intimidation” tactics were self talk. He was psyching himself up into the state he sought for the fight.
He was always taking the opponent off balance with talking. Indeed, and his talk wasn’t really insulting. Insults are really the lowest form of creativity, and he was more of an artist than that.
January 17, 1942. I think he was a water horse or metal snake. Being a water ox myself, if he was water horse he was like me but quicker and more changeable. How that relates to our respective psychologies is as a water horse he would go over you or around you, whichever is faster. I won’t go around you, but will give you plenty of time to get out of the way and won’t be moved myself. I am more mobile than an earth ox though, and less blunt force unless met with force.
I guess being metal makes me rigid, but malleable? Rigid, but flexible. Strangely, you routinely spring back to center.
All day could be spent exploring wuxing in its many facets, and some older Chinese actually do that though usually they favour one topic over any other.
Sounds worth exploring more. Excellent.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.