Hatsumi has made reference to the five elemental stages of life. He based these of the five elements of the Godai: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void. His description is quite true and sound, but based on Japanese Buddhist philosophy of the five elements. What I mean is, he started with the five elements, then tailored them to make them fit the stages of life. Each of these stages were about twenty years.
After carefully considering this logic, I have determined that life is indeed based on five main stages, which is coincidental to Hatsumi’s explanation. However, they are not necessarily the same five elements as his...or are they?
Stage One: conception through birth. This stage only lasts 9 months and is lived entirely within the uterus of the mother. It is a time of growth, nurturing, development, and rooting. Because of the rooting of the umbilical cord to the placenta, this stage could be seen as the stage of Earth, as a tree’s acorn firmly roots itself into the earth and draws water and nutrients from the soil, but has not yet seen sunlight directly.
Stage Two: birth through adulthood. Now the child is getting his feet wet. They are learning, assimilating, establishing their identities, their security, and skills to advance through life as an independent life form. Since they are now getting their feet wet, this stage is similar to Water.
Stage Three: Now they work. They live the bulk of their life at this stage, from about twenty years old until retirement at about sixty-five years old. They establish their possessions, positions, wealth, family, reproduce, and make plans for the next stage. This is when they are usually the strongest, the best looking, and are all fired up with energy to get stuff done. This stage is closest to fire.
Stage Four: Now they retire at the ripe old age of sixty-five (traditionally). At this point, they coast through their remaining years on the wealth they have built up. They tend to be less good looking, lonelier, as their families have grown, they are weaker, and have accomplished the majority of their life goals. They simply fly through these years like the wind as the perception of the passage of time has greatly increased.
Stage Five: Death. This stage merely begins at the passing of a person. If this stage is akin to the Void, then it is most appropriate as the afterlife begins for them and the rest of eternity sits on this final and never-ending stage. It exists in a dimension outside our space and time, void of our world and problems and rules such as time itself. It is here we reap the decisions of life as we shed our mortal coil and live in spirit forever in either heaven with our Creator, or hell with him that tried to trick us and hide the truth all our lives.
It was asked of me what my thoughts are on the five elements residing in the body, and how it relates to movement. A gentleman who contacted me said he had visited or talked with about five hundred martial arts masters and wanted to know the answer to this, but was thus far unable, or unhappy with the answers he was given. I asked him if he meant the relationship of the elements within our body as it relates to an internal concrete thing, or an external abstract idea, or even perhaps it’s connection with God. He quickly pointed out that he believed god existed within all the elements. His appearance and name was that of an East Indian, so I fully expected him to say something about Hindu or their ideas of gods. But he didn’t. He sounded most like an Asian with the ideas of the five elements, with added beliefs of agnosticism and mother earth worship. I thought about it for many days before getting an answer back to him, but my first thought was that if he was seeking this answer from so many masters and could not reconcile their answers, perhaps it was not that they were giving poor answers, but perhaps he merely wanted to confirm his own ideas and was seeking validation. This is not the same as seeking truth. It seemed as though he would continue to ask the question until their answer was the same as his. Nonetheless, I cannot tell anyone what they want to hear. I suspected where my thought would lead me with this, but I gave it some fair thought anyway. My conclusion was this: In the purest sense of the elements existing without our bodies, in harmony or not, magical or not, yes, to some degree they do. Four of the elements are matter. Earth is dry ground and could be seen as the foundation, certainly it is from the standpoint of the periodic table of elements. Earth is made up of many things, but for clarity we will not muddy the waters (no pun intended). Evolutionists believe we were gunk or a blob of protoplasm in the dirt and that protein molecules came about just right. The Bible tells us, which I believe wholeheartedly, that God, essentially formed the earth, then formed man from the dust of the earth. I can assume we were cold. It also says God breathed the breath of life into us and then we became alive and conscious. Well there is your air, and certainly we have our entire respiratory system that still maintains that is true. Water had to have been introduced in this process or we would be too dry to sustain life. Our bodies are seventy percent water. And we know that our cells’ nuclei convert adenosine triphosphate and oxygen into energy, whose byproduct is heat. I suppose this is fire, and we are certainly warmer now than when we were lying in that dust waiting for life, but there is no actual fire. We are not an internal combustion engine. We create some heat and also depend on heat coming from the sun, as does nearly all life on this planet. So there are four of the elements. What about the void? Well that is basically the lack of matter (not air, though, as that is a gas, but still matter). Or space. Or a vacuum. Or emptiness. Or nothingness. But it is something or nothing would be nothing and then not nothing. Then it becomes philosophy and we are staying grounded in reality here. The Bible tells us that we are made in God’s image. It also tells us we are triune like God, ergo, the void within us would be spirit, a completely different type of element than the others, which must be matter. And yes, I do believe we have an actual spirit within that will live on after the other four elements are aged and decayed and failed us. Does one consume the other or give rise to another? Not exactly. I don’t think so. The water may flush out some of the earth, and the air helps convert earth and water to fire (digestion), but let’s be real. We all know what’s really happening in our bodies. Our bodies take in food and water and air, and expels that which it does not need, creates a little heat in the process. When we die, those first four are completely irrelevant. What are you doing with your void?
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