What are the Five Elements of Kai Chi Do?

Energy Hand by Elena Ray

The form and structure of Kai Chi Do is the Five Elements: Root, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.

Each Element has a meaning and a purpose.  Each one has a spirit.

Root, our connection to Source or Life Energy, comes first.   The Root Element is grounding.  In Root posture, we stand with our feet separated and our knees bent, to give us strong balance and support.  We center ourselves with prayer hands and The Depths, a series of self “hugs” derived from the practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu, a kind of acupressure that releases blocks along the body’s energy pathways, known as meridians.

The Air Element uses the power of breath to synchronize the inner and outer worlds.  Air = receiving inspiration and then relaxing, releasing.  Air is the integrative energy of Kai Chi Do.

Charles and I were first introduced to breathwork about 25 years ago, through Leonard Orr‘s rebirthing technique.   Doing the circular breathing method, we discovered that our breath was able to bring closure to unresolved memories and feelings – directly – without us trying to figure out the why, without trying to undo the past.  Leonard’s work introduced us to the power of the breath (but it had long been known to yogis as pranayama – Prana, meaning breath, vitality, life force).  Many people have told us that the breathwork in Kai Chi Do helps to calm their minds and enter a heightened state of awareness.

Fire is the vertical energy, the relationship between Self and Source.  Instinct.  Intuition.  Passion.  These are the gifts of the Fire Element.  We circulate the energy, and the Fire Element dissolves obstacles.  Our job is to maintain balance as the intensity increases – the pace where we can allow purification and transformation – without force, without resistance.

The Spirit of Water is horizontal, cultivating the connection we have with others.   After activating and intensely circulating energy in Fire, we relax in water.  We hold hands and swing our arms and feel the release and the allowing of energy.  We feel the Spirit of Water flow throughout the group.

The Earth Element is the blending of the physical and the spiritual.  It’s about exchanging energy with others and being a part of this community we call Earth.


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