Though Shui Long’s central technique is to work with water, there is an added method that incorporates interaction with fire.  At the start, a novice practitioner is taught to observe fire’s character.  From these observations, the novice learns Water turns into Fire.

Shui Long practice demonstrates this adage perfectly. Water has a special relationship with fire within the body, and the use of cold water in Shui Long provokes the inner fire in the body to produce heat, warmth, strength, stamina, and health (but these are only the physical results!)

The human body, essentially a container filled with water, thrives due to the presence of an inner fire. It is possible to say that life itself is fire. So, in practicing Shui Long the main result is stimulation of this inner fire.

Fire is needed not to warm yourself after shui long diving or immersion, but to work with the fire specifically as an element. Fire can teach a person a lot of fun. It can play with a person and even trick him or her. It gives warmth, although it also can take the inner fire out of you while you are working with it; however, the more open you can be to the fire, even to this exchange of energy with the fire, the more it will energize you as well as shift your consciousness.

shuilong practitioner doing firework exercises

Fire as an element to practice with exposes the student to smoke. As a rule, modern man is unaccustomed to being near smoke, and finds it irritating. It makes the eyes water, the nose burn, the mouth dry. Yet, smoke has the capacity to purify the body: it cleans the energetic channels, it invigorates the skin and pores.

Native Americans knew this ability and it is reflected in their custom of smudging the body before entry into the sweat lodge. As a rule, a little time spent enduring exposure to smoke gives the ability to overcome some of these unpleasant effects very easily. So, part of fire practice is to present your body to the smoke, to let the smoke cleanse and preserve you, to be ‘smoked’ by the living fire (but without cigarettes!). pores.


fire animation

they birth their fire together;
their past growth spirals away
in orange tongues and smudging smoke
into the hazy day;
they let themselves be
the fire’s sustenance,
until their past calendar rings
and tough outer skins
heat into ashes of the past
that flake away on the rising heat.

fire animation

as they burn, they shift;
another gentle reassignation
helps them reignite
the orange tongues that faded
to small jets licking pine. . .

fire animation

sparks fall on the bed beneath them
and where they face one another
the two logs
glow together whenever
a breath brushes over them
and sends their spirits up
in silver smoke.

fire animation

my hair
still smells
like their commingling.


In building your fire, use all natural elements  whenever possible; define the direction of  the wind  and make the fire in such a way that the wind will blow perpendicularly over the firewood. Wet wood will burn this way easily, though it will make a lot of smoke.

On the second new moon of the lunar new year, the Awakening of the Water Dragon is celebrated by taking the charcoals from the fireplace or firepit and making a path from the water’s edge to your practice area. This ritual honors the Water Dragon’s presence and helps bring prosperity (spiritual as well as material) for the coming year.

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