After our early morning exercises in the Cardo we continued further into the Old City. As we passed over ancient wall after ancient wall Karma commented on the analogy between our Circle of Strength tour and these stone fortress walls designed to protect against enemies. Just as these walls were built as a defense strategy against enemies and would be conquerors we see our way as a collective way of strategy. As women, lovers, sisters, mothers, daughters, or Sensei, we teach a way of strategy. This way is expressed in the Five Elements and provides an excellent analogy for why we do what we do, in general and more specifically what has brought us together from all over the world.In the element of Earth we find our unwavering resolve to dedicate ourselves to the empowerment of those less fortunate than us. The Earth embodies why we do what we do every day, and why we have undertaken the Circle of Strength tour, we believe without question that those less fortunate and less able than us are to be held in the highest regard and we strive every day to empower them to take control of their lives. Water teaches us that in all things, life and war, we are to be determined yet calm. We are often confronted with unexpected circumstances and events in our lives. Water teaches us balance. As a strategy, we learn from Water that there can be many ways to confront a problem. In El Halev we don’t teach just “self-defense” we teach life-skills. Life-skills are so much more than how to physically defend oneself. Water envelopes completely, it gives life, it can caress gently or it can hit like a ton of bricks, it has the power to shape and it can move mountains…water wins in the end, every time. Rocks make big splashes, but in the end who has captured who? The Fire element has a spirit that is fierce. The Fire element teaches us how to assess a situation…At El Halev we begin by raising awareness of dangerous situations so that conflict may be avoided. If conflict cannot be avoided we empower individuals to develop assertiveness in their response, exerting healthy boundaries and confident body language and voice. If conflict is inevitable we provide individuals with simple and effective self-defense techniques that do not require physical size or strength, or even years of training. All in all, we take these three strategies – awareness, presence, and physical – and apply them with a fierce spirit of determination to protect.
In the Wind element we find freedom. In order to know our own way we must know the way of our enemy. By gaining awareness, presence and simple physical skills from Fire we now have the freedom to spread our wings and ride the Wind.
Thing No Thing, the last element, is not necessarily an easy thing to understand. Please allow me the liberty to shine one narrow beam of my own personal understanding to such an esoteric concept. In short, Thing No Thing deals with things that cannot be seen. If we think on this for just a moment we realize that the most important things in our life are those things that cannot be seen. For example, the love we have for friends and family cannot be seen. The reason that we as individuals practice our chosen martial art cannot be seen. Why we have come from all over the world, as long time friends and new friends, to travel thought Israel to train together, laugh together, cry together and empower those less fortunate than us cannot be seen. We are here in Israel as individuals and as a group for a thing that cannot be seen.