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Posts Tagged ‘five elements’

The way is not with the bow, but with the bone, which is of the greatest importance in shooting.-Junsei Yoshimi (Shaho-Kun)

I ran across the following in an email notification from one of Rick Beal’s blogs:

The very marrow of our bone carries electricity & Chemistry throughout our bodies. Kido is the artistry of painting the flow of these energies in a natural way.

It brought to mind something a ran across several years ago and still find intriguing:

In The Bodhisattva Warriors by Terrance Duke, on page 465, he states:

“Long before Western medicine had arisen, the Ksatreya Vaidya (healers) taught that the elements of Fire and Air combined in the marrow to create, or revitalize, the blood. The marrow was therefore considered to be an important source of life energy.

If the marrow became imbalanced, the balance of the body’s elements (dhatu) would be thrown out of order and, in turn, all the bodily functions suffered. In addition to the blood, the physical vital energies also were held to “mature” within the marrow, and thus the marrow was a point of contact between the different energy systems of this, and other, worlds.

So, here, we draw on the Five Element Theory that Miyamoto Musashi writes of in his Book of Five Rings. If we think of the aforementioned energies in terms of Kyudo, we might refer to this as ki.

In the 2011 Second Quarter issue of the Journal of the South Carolina Kyudo Renmei, Blackwell sensei discusses the Five Element Theory. (http://sckrjournal.org/issue/2011-second-quarter/article/japanese-culture-in-kyudo-the-oriental-paradigm)

And… as I have been told… “the essence is in the marrow.”

Something worth thinking about.

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The martial arts divides the energies into the yin and yang and then further divides this in the five elements-water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.

The five element theory incorporates two cycles…

Generating or Creation cycle, where one element promotes the next one:

1. Water feeds wood, promoting growth potential. Water is vitality and grace. and is linked to the bladder.
2. Wood fuels fire, creating heat and energy. Wood is bone and sinew and linked to the liver and toxic processing.
3. Fire ash nourishes the earth, enabling it to sustain life. Fire is energy and agility and is linked to the heart and circulation.
4. Earth is center and stability, giving the other elements a place to use. From the earth comes metal. Earth is muscle strength and is linked to the stomach and digestion.
5. Metal is the combination of the elements, or result of them. Thus, creating either strong or weak metal. Strong metal can enhance or show weaknesses in the other elements. Mentally, metal is knowledge. It is linked to the lungs and respiration and elimination.

Overcoming or Destruction cycle, where one element exerts control, suppresses or inhibits the other:

1. Water cools fire
2. Fire tempers metal
3. Metal shapes wood
4. Wood growing penetrates the earth
5. Earth channels and controls water

Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings describes the five elements in regard to kendo. Blackwell Sensei pointed out that the five elements apply to kyudo as well. According to my notes, we can think in the following terms:

Earth-Metsuke
Water-Hikkitori
Wood-Kai and Nobia
Fire-Hanare

Buddhisms’ five element theory replaces metal with void.

Bow to Life: 365 Secrets from the Martial Arts for Daily Life by Joseph Cardillo discusses the Five Element Theory in this manner:

Traditionally, martial arts (as well as Chinese medicine) offer the interplay between the five elements-metal, water, wood, fire, and earth-as a way of living. Each element represents a particular expression of Chi. Most dojos zero in on the constructive/creative and the destructive potential of each. This helps you to understand many subtler aspects of Universal Energy and to integrate them into your daily life. For example, metal liquefies into water, which produces wood, which produces fire, which produces earth, which sustains all life, and so on. Furthermore, for thousands of years, martial arts have taught that ultimately within any particular element each of the others can be found, and that such is the dance of life-“everything is part of everything else”, a banner that the most current of scientific research enjoys waving. Let such awareness enhance you by bringing you more contentment and clarity.

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The Shaho-Kun was written by Master Junsei Yoshimi, also known as Daiuemon Tsunetake, during the Tokugawa period. While the Raiki-Shagi deals more with ethics, such as courtesy and virtue, the Shaho-Kun relates to the issues of shooting. It is broken down paragraph by paragraph on page 25 of the Kyudo Kyohon.

It reads as follows:
“(1) The way is not with the bow, but with the bone, which is of the greatest importance in shooting. This means that when you are going to shoot, you must not lose your overall awareness and become preoccupied in just manipulating the bow and arrows, but remember that the shooting effort should also be made with yours muscles and bones.”

I have looked at this, read it and re-read it, trying to put it in words of my own. I came up with “Put yourself into your shooting.” This is possibly an over simplification. With more background information, things come into better focus.

In The Bodhisattva Warriors by Terrance Duke, on page 465, he states:
“Long before Western medicine had arisen, the Ksatreya Vaidya (healers) taught that the elements of Fire and Air combined in the marrow to create, or revitalize, the blood. The marrow was therefore considered to be an important source of life energy.

If the marrow became imbalanced, the balance of the body’s elements (dhatu) would be thrown out of order and , in turn, all the bodily functions suffered. In addition to the blood, the physical vital energies also were held to “mature” within the marrow, and thus the marrow was a point of contact between the different energy systems of this, and other, worlds.

So, here, we draw on the Five Element Theory that Miyamoto Musashi writes of in his Book of Five Rings. If we think of the aforementioned energies in terms of kyudo, we can refer to this as ki.

With this in mind, I take this to mean that we put ourselves into our shooting by extending ki through our arm and into the bow. In addition, I would also think this is one of the reasons tenouchi of the left hand is of great importance.

Therefore, we mustn’t think solely of technique (the bow) but hold in highest regard the spirit (bone) as well.

This leads us on to part 2, which begins with “Placing the spirit (Kokoro)…”

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