Water is the mother of all things, while fire is the father. Water is nourishing and supportive, and represents humility, as water always seeks to move toward the lowest level.
Water is powerful in a very feminine way in that it is persistent and adaptable ( water can cut diamonds). The internal arts owe much to water as we seek to move and change according to the obstacles placed in front of us.
Tai Chi is sometimes called “swimming on land”. I love the idea that water does not flow on until every indention is filled. On a physical/energetic level in Tai Chi we use a small amount of Peng Jin to fill any sharp places, any angles, so that when we release the chi, it can flow unimpeded. Watch any good Tai Chi player move and it appears as if he or she is a roundish, elastic container, filled almost to the top with water, rolling on the ground. When it stops, it settles, and in movement it has enough give so it can adapt to the different shapes it encounters.
Another wonderful property of water is that it can store energy in the form of heat, and then release it over a long period of time. Whenever you encounter water, take a moment to pay your respects.