the great battle… 

A martial arts student was working out when he asked his karate instructor, “What fighting style beats all other styles of martial arts.”

The Instructor thought a moment then replied, “A long a time ago, a fight broke out between Wind, Water and Fire.”

It all started when Wind said to the others, “I am wonderful. I am much more important then either of you. I am the most powerful thing on earth.”

And the others said, “You are not!”

And Wind said, “Yes I am. I help do many things. I dry out the land after a heavy rain. I help scatter the seeds and pollen so that plants can grow. I carry children’s kites and dry their family’s laundry. I carry clouds, butterflies and bees through the sky. And most important the Creator has used me to carry great signs to the people of the earth. I am very important”, said the Wind. And blew a big gust of hot air right into their faces.

“Is that so,” said fire. “Well, I bring warmth from the sun and light up the day. I cook food, keep people warm, and change clay into pottery. And most important, the Creator has used me even more than both of you to talk to the people of the earth. I am the most important thing on Earth.” And at that Fire leaped up and threw huge flames high in the air and made Wind and Water very hot indeed.

“You don’t know what your talking about,” said water. “I am better than both of you put together. I am home to millions of living creatures: fish, plants, whales, seals…oh so many that I can’t name them all. At that he paused to catch his breath and then continued. I give drink to those who are thirsty. What would the children do without me to swim in during the hot summer? But, most important the Creator has depended on me to do many things.To bless, purify, and quench the thirst of all Earth’s children. I am truly the Creators best and most wonderful thing.”

Wind was very angry. and said, “I carry the birds, bugs and bats. . . all kinds of things. How can you even think that you are greater then me. I am greater then the both of you for sure.”

At that the Wind puffed up his cheeks ever so big and blew as hard as he could. Fire leaped up high and Water hissed. They all yelled and shouted at the same time.

And the Earth, oh the poor Earth, it was such a mess.

The Wind blew things down, Fire burned things up and
Water gushed and flooded everything. It was terrible.

The Creator heard the three spirits making their awful noises, and heard the people on earth crying out for help. The Creator was very, very angry.

STOP!, commanded the Creator

. . . And all was silent.

The three spirits stopped and looked around and stared at the terrible mess they had made of the earth. They felt just terrible, because after all they weren’t totally bad spirits.

“We were being selfish”, said Fire.

“Yes, we were”, said Water.

“Look at what we have done,” said Wind.

“We have to fix it right now. ” So Water put out the fires, and Wind dried up the floods and Fire burned up all the things that Wind had wrecked.

Finally, all was back in order. “Do you know what?”, said Fire. “I have learned something from all of this. We don’t need to fight about which of us is the most important, because we are all important. The Creator has given each of us a special job to do.”

“Yes,” said Water. “We depend upon each other.”

“The more we work together and use the special talents given us, the happier we will be”, said Wind.

“Then the world will be a peaceful home for all of us.”

“So Water, Wind and Fire became good friends from that time on. And they behaved themselves most of the time except when Wind felt like a storm, or Fire felt like eating some trees, or Water decided to make a flood, no one’s perfect.”

The martial arts student then asked, “Which is the best? This does not tell me which style of martial arts is the best.”

The instructor replied, “They are all great styles, it is better to work in harmony with others rather than to be at war with others. All styles can be devastating, it is better to extend an open hand rather than to swing a fist in anger.”


In martial arts the four elements are an important lesson. Each element compliments the other. Each needs the other to create the perfect balance in order for life to exist. The Korean flag has the four elements on it. (air is heaven here) Then there is the fifth element… Life!

A student asked his teacher, “What is the best way to live?”

The Zen Master answered, “Understand the elements and use them wisely, you will then discover the best way to live.”


may the elements be kind to you this day