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Yin-Yang Wu-Xing

 

 

 

Chi is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy. Like many fundamental Chinese philosophical terms no translation captures its full meaning. In fact, translations often obscure and conceal the rich structure of meaning in the concept of Chi, Yin and Yang and Wu-Xing.

Chi at a simple level is energy. The font itself implies the steam that rises from a grain of cooked rice. In the human body, in cold weather the breath appears as steam in the same way. Chi encompasses all organic life-energy and the energy of nature in various forms. Hence nothing in the human body is not Chi, and nothing in nature is not Chi. Chi is universal, it transforms, and is indeterminate.

Chi however demonstrates an order within its apparent chaos. The basic order inherent in Chi is exhibited within the concept of Yin and Yang; the ordering force of balance, control, cohesion, sustenance and evolution. Hence Chi is not to be perceived as an arbitrary, random power, it is to be perceived as leading to seasoned and proportionate evolution and sustenance of life.

Yin and Yang refer to two aspects of Chi as a whole, yet in a process of change and transformation one aspect could become dominating and outstanding, as such this aspect of the Chi becomes perceptible and experienced. Yet, at the same time the other aspect exists and subsists.

Yin and Yang originally refer to the sunny side (Yang) and the shaded side (Yin) of the valley. Which side is which, will change throughout the course of the day, demonstrating the transitional and impermanent nature of the concept. Both the shaded and the bright have the light as the central subject, similarly Yin and Yang have Chi as their central subject.

Yin and Yang represent the dualistic qualities inherent in the natural world. Whether Creative or destructive, aggressive or passive, form or energy, all express the universal concept of Yin /Yang.  Yin or Yang cannot exist independently of one another, they have a co-dependent relationship. They are opposite but complimentary to one another. They are relative to one another; therefore something can be Yin in relation to one thing, but Yang in relation to another. When Yin and Yang are in harmony they are equally balanced, however they are in a constant state of flux. However infinitely big one becomes, the other will simply become infinitely small – nothing is absolutely Yin or absolutely Yang. Yin and Yang is the fundamental concept behind the Chinese classic, ‘I Ching’ (Book of Changes).

With chi as the basic substance process of all things in the world, we have the yin and yang activities of chi providing both a structure and a process of creative transformation among all things in the world. Then with regard to things in the context of the yin and yang interchange; we have to introduce a further structured distinction in the activities of the chi based on yin and yang. This is the distinction of Wu-Xing.

Wu-Xing (Five powers) expands on the Yin/Yang concept further, and represents the more complicated relationships and concepts in nature.  Wu-Xing refers to Five elements/ phases/ agents or functions. These theories date back to ancient times when people made simple observation of their natural world, the constant struggle between the sun and the moon, and the changes of seasons. Yin-Yang Wu-Xing expresses how things are constituted and relate to one another. Wood (Mu), fire (Huo), earth (Tu), metal (Jin) and Water (Shui) are the Five Powers. They can create, destroy and regulate one another. Like Yin and Yang these names are labels, representing a larger concept, their basic characteristics are:-

Wood is growing and firm.
Fire is bright and burning.
Earth is solid yet adjustable.
Metal is sharp and cutting.
Water is soft and penetrating.

The significance of the ‘Yinyang-Wu-Xing’ theory is that we can consider the opposite and complementary relations among chi structures in the human body or between the human body and external environment not only in relations of creation and destruction but in the primary order relations of differentiation, unification, balancing and harmonization of the yin and yang.

The Creative Cycle

The Destructive Cycle

 

 

Wood produces fire

Wood subdues earth

Fire produces earth

Earth subdues water

Earth produces metal

Water subdues fire

Metal produces water

Fire subdues metal

Water produces wood

Metal subdues wood

The ‘Wu-Xing’ and some of their main correlations:

 

Wood

Fire

Earth

Metal

Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions

East

South

Center

West

North

Seasons

Spring

Summer

Midsummer

Autumn

Winter

Colours

Green

Red

Yellow

White

Black

Numbers

3, 8

2, 7

5, 10

4, 9

1, 6

Yin Yang

Shaoyang

Taiyang

Balance

Shaoyin

Taiyin

Planets

Jupiter

Mars

Saturn

Venus

Mercury

Viscera

Liver

Heart

Spleen

Lungs

Kidneys

Receptacles

Gallbladder

Small Intestine

Stomach

Large Intestine

Bladder

Body Organ

Eyes

Tongue

Mouth

Nose

Ears

Emotions

Anger

Joy

Sympathy

Sorrow

Fear

Tastes

Sour

Bitter

Sweet

Acrid

Salty

Climates

Wind

Hot

Moist

Dry

Cold

Relations

Father

Daughter

Ancestors

Mother

Son

The Wu-Xing Shou (five ways of hand), is one of the most important hand forms in the ‘Shen Zhao Pai He Quan’ system.
Within the Wu-Xing Shou pattern are the fundamental techniques and principles that lay the foundation to the entire system.
For example, the basic principles of,

a)      Swallow (Tun), to absorb or deflect an incoming force.
b)      Sink (Chen), to sink the weight.
c)      Float (Fu), to unbalance an attacker.
d)      Spit (Tu), to strike out.

The Wu-Xing Shou pattern begins in the He Ping Ma stance, the names of the patterns are,

1.      Bai He Zhan Chi.
2.      Bai He Shou Chao.
3.      Shuang Shou Hu Shui.
4.      Shuang Long Chu Hai.
5.      Bai He Chi Chong.
6.      Shuang Long Sou Zhu.
7.      Bai He Shuang Pu Chi.
8.      Bai He Shou Chao.

A more in depth discussion of the Yin-Yang Wu-Xing theory can be seen in the members section of this website.

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