The Five Elements


I remember well the words of my late teacher about the five elements:


Metal means the strength contained in the bones and the muscles, the mind being firm like iron or stone, being able to cut gold and steel.


Wood has the meaning of the bending but rooted posture of a tree.

Water means force like the waves of the vast sea, lively like a dragon or a snake, when used, it is able to pervade everything.


Fire means strength being like gunpowder, fists being like bullets shot out, having the strength to burn the opponent’s body by the first touch.


Earth means exerting strength heavy, deep, solid, and perfectly round, the qi being strong, having the force of oneness with heaven and earth. This is the syncretism of the five elements.


Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai (Circa 1920)