One of the fundamentals of practicing a martial art, qi gong, or yoga, basically any holistic health practice, is to, “Balance the Fire and Water in the body.”

Balancing the Fire and the Water…?

Here it comes… it’s either more new age woo woo blah blah, or some theory that puts the responsibility back in the practitioner’s hands. Gross. 

Eastern thought is weird right??? I mean… Dragons???  Medicinal Deer Penis??? Powdered sea horse??? Noodles for long life??? Doesn’t the orient know that many noodles contain gluten?  Is there not a California in Asia somewhere to educate these people?  I hope they’re gonna be ok…

the idea is

 The brain is WATER and the body is FIRE.

Water: flowing and adaptable, it represents suppleness and always changing. Always learning, solving problems, not holding onto thoughts, feeling, and observing.

Fire: manifesting into the physical world. Movement, creation, action.

The body does the bidding of the brain Thus if the brain is soft and adaptable (Water) the body (Fire) can create that in the physical world.  This is how we achieve balance. The water guides the fire. Yeah yeah, then we get steam… I get it. I lost you already. 

Ok… It’s trying to do the thing Xanax tries to do in your mind, as well as, what Zumba does for your body, but isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause: drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, memory problems, poor balance or coordination, slurred speech, trouble concentrating, and irritability. Other, less common, side effects can include diarrhea, sweating, headache, nausea, blurred vision, and appetite changes. Most importantly you can choose the music.

Notice I didn’t say it’s FREE. It’s not… I see money as another form of currency.

The 3 basic currencies are: TIME ENERGY & MONEY.

You’re gonna need focused time and energy to achieve this. Thus it isn’t free.

This is poetic metaphorical theory, and of course, it’s up for interpretation. I mean, hey, the brain is best at justifying and convincing ourselves of damn near anything. We are getting fatter as we stand in line for Fit Bits, lonelier as we stay “connected” on Social media, sicker as we advance in medicine, and more and more brains are justifying that we just need more resources and technology to solve these issues. We don’t need more education until we get more avenues for integration.  Education is Water, Integration is Fire.

We’re drowning in our own Education.

The words don’t mean as much as the essence of what this is trying to say. You could add whatever words you want in there for all I care. If it helps you, you could say your brain is Netflix and your Body is Beyonce… this isn’t sacred… it’s just smart.  Eating right and exercise isn’t sacred, it’s just a fundamental process of taking care of yourself.

I use this idea all the time. Balance the Fire & Water in the Body.

When they’re out of balance we can get a few different results. Let’s use Ghandi’s Salt March as an example.


The Salt March was not a passive act. It was an act of revolution. It took creativity and realistic actualization of how to use his capacity and resources. Plus you need your body as a martial artist, however, his weapon of choice was walking over 200 miles. No offense, but most great martial artists I know would have to stand there and punch it out with the british army due to the fact that their knees are so beat up they’d walk about 5 miles then just turn around and start swingin’.


Brain is Water and Body is Fire

We can think, flow, and adapt as the body is capable to create and do what their brain is asking. Thus achieving balance.

Ghandi played this right. I’m sure he did a check in with himself and got real with it. Probably by looking in the mirror and having a talk with himself.

I’ll assume the talk went somewhat like this:  “Alright G-man, you got an army telling your people you gotta buy salt from them. This isn’t right, you gotta do something… what are you gonna do about it?

Fight?  I can’t fight… They have guns and I can’t even do a push up… honestly, I did take a symmester of Tae Kwon Do in college, but I sucked and really only did it cuz this girl I liked was taking it, plus the only other PE credit was weight lifting or Basketball…

{splashes water on his face} Cmon G-man!!! What can you do… THINK!!!

I can walk like a champ. I’m skinny too, so there’s next to no impact on my knees, and honestly, it relaxes me. This revolution kinda stresses me out. I’m probably not the only one that thinks this way. So maybe a walk is what this nation could get behind.”

BOOM!!!! Revolution!!!

The aftermath of this Tactical Decision did result in many people beaten and arrested, however, just as in learning to fall. You’re going to hit the ground, so land on something that can take it. In this revolution, he knew there would be some “push back” so… Beaten up and people arrested, or Bloody Gun battle and bombs dropped on people…

(Here’s how it might have unfolded using other fire water imbalances)

Brain is Fire and Body is Fire

We get the over aggressive types.  Rigid, fixated, dominating, over ambitious mind, and a body that does the same. Fighting fire with fire though, you may just burn yourself out. I see this with Athletes that don’t know how to “turn it off”, or the “Impose your will” mentality, which can also be a toxic way of exercising positions of authority. Hmm…

If Ghandi was this type it may have happened like this:

“The British can’t just come in here and take our resources, don’t they know we’re India, and these colors don’t run…”  “We need all the citizens to arm themselves and fight this highly organized army… they don’t know who they’re fucking with!!!”

[he busts out the gate of his Ashram with gun in hand]

Fire fight ensues, and revolution breaks out across India. British are now given orders to kill, not arrest, kill anyone who appears Indian or resisting…

I’m sure in at least 2 of the indian people’s heads as they’re shooting it out with an army, they may think, “I wasn’t aware they had Tanks, and Airplanes!!!”

The aftermath of this decision would come out a little different. No predictions really. I do feel that freedom may have been achieved or maybe not, either way, at what cost. I mean hey, Ghandi may have just fired one shot at the British and they in Monte Python Holy Grail fashion, they just scream “RUN AWAAYYY!!!” and balance was restored. You never know.

Brain is Water and Body is Water 

Thoughts are soft, adaptable, fluid.  The body is too. Watery, soft, fluid, however not quite up to the task of “Making it Happen” in the physical world. We can be too fluid. Perhaps we feel we’re always compromising. The lack of fire can leave us cold, dark, soft. In the Yin Yang, all Yin means your dead, actually, you can’t even die without a little Yang showing up to finish the job.  It’s the path of always wanting to sit and meditate to achieve through stillness, yet you’re just withering away.  DO A PUSH UP!!!  WORK!!!  Effortlessness is bought through effort. Surrender is not a passive act.

If Ghandi had this combo it may go like this:

“Hmm,  there’s an army telling our people we must buy salt from them. This isn’t right, what can I do?

Fight?  I can’t fight… They have guns and I can’t even do a push up… honestly, I did take a symmester of Tae Kwon Do in college, but I sucked and really only liked the meditation.

{splashes water on his face} What can I do???” “wow, this is so stressful…”

[Ghandi buys a plane ticket to Costa Rica to “decompress” thanks to his trust fund, and realizes that he can afford salt and should be grateful for that]

The aftermath may be that he lives life trying to self medicate and heal his spiritual wounds through weed and hallucinogens in London where he holds gatherings trying to purge the guilt of living such a privileged life to other British that also feel guilty about what their people did to the people of India.

Brain is Fire and Body Water

Hot Headed and out of shape.  The body isn’t going to be able to contain or maintain the demands of this relationship. I mean a perfect example of this is Rush Limbaugh.  Hot headed, and crazy out of shape. A life of addiction to pain pills. Why? The body can’t handle it. The Tech world is similar. The speed that this industry moves at is insane the stress is high, the competition is brutal, yet the body isn’t needed. The hands are soft, the body is underutilized. As a bodyworker, I feel that one of the most violent things on the planet is THE CHAIR, or THE OFFICE JOB. It’s not killing us, it’s just creating chronic pain and that’s creating dependency on medications that are, in result: killing us.

We are now remedying this with tech campuses all around offering tools and education on this. However, the brain needs perspective too.

A fiery mind may just go into fight or flight (yes I know… it’s really Freeze, Fly, then Fight) mode for a reason other than Fighting or Flying.  This mechanism is designed for some serious circumstances.  Why is the tool used to run from danger, fight off predators, or deal with potentially life threatening situations turning on right now in this office? or in traffic…?

It’s due to a lack of practice in this realm. We can train the mind and body to understand the difference between someone cutting them off in traffic or a bear chasing them. There’s a huge difference by the way. You have a disease if remodeling your house adds the same stress as coming home and it’s on fire, and your baby’s in there, while you’re being attacked by bees in your underwear on your first day at a new High School.

If Ghandi was this type:  hmm… the options are endless.

  1. Ghandi say’s “fuck you wankers!!!!” Then throws a rock, tweaks his shoulder then gets beaten to death.
  2. Ghandi starts a one man show that’s really dark and uncomfortable for the viewers. (he even gets naked on stage). Then due to bad turn outs and reviews. He gets addicted to heroin, due to the fact that the British have taken most legitimate ways to make a living in India now, so drugs are out of control and really easy to get. He then becomes a heroin addict. Not in the Kobain way but in the Courtney way.
  3. Starts a radio show, gets really popular, great ratings, has the power to effect change, but the success goes to his head, then gets caught with a few hookers, looses credibility and moves to late night AM radio for weird racist Indian people that just won’t let the past go, and becomes addicted to pain killers.
  4. Ghandi’s rage gets the best of him and he beats his children, becomes an alcoholic and is finally killed by his wife.
The aftermath of this one, well, no one really wins. It’s the energy to create and achieve with the reality of our own minds eroding us away. Pretty much scorching the earth from the inside out.

I have to give Honorable Mention to the Hunger Strike that he did though, due to the fact that it may be a way of withering away.  Although it may seem that you’re not using your body, however, the amount of physical discipline that is needed to fast is pretty intense. This could be an interesting conversation in how an unbalance can be a tactical decision.

This could be argued as fire water balance or fire brain water body or water brain water body.  Leave it to Ghandi to screw with my ideology.