Below are some examples  of Yin and Yang opposites but note that according to taiji theory each contains elements of its opposite and the height of one leads to the creation of the other.

Yin

Yang

Shady

Sunny

Insubstantial

Substantial

Defence

Attack

Swallow

Spit

Sink

Float

Store

Release

Close

Open

Light

Heavy

Anti-clockwise

Clockwise

Water

Fire

Earth

Heaven

Energy body

Physical body

Female

Male

Moon

Sun

Completion

Creation

Cold

Heat

Empty

Full

The theory of taiji or the constant interplay of Yin and Yang underpins many, if not all aspects of traditional Chinese culture and indeed extends into every day life. In taijiquan we constantly seek to embody yin and yang both in the physical body and in the interplay between mind and body. Furthermore the tactical and strategic principles of the art are rooted in the taiji.

For example consider this teaching from the Art of War and its commentaries: “Good warriors make others come to them, and do not go to others. This is the principle of emptiness and fullness of others and self. When you induce opponents to come to you, then their force is always empty; as long as you do not go to them, your force is always full. Attacking emptiness with fullness is like throwing stones on eggs.” — Zhang Yu in his commentary on Sun Zi’s Art of War

Starting Points


Standing
Wuji, the prelude to taiji
Even as we stand in an undifferentiated posture our breath, the very stuff of life, starts the taiji. Now as we consider the slightest shifts in weight distribution we see more clearly the birth of the taiji.


Moving
 Following the principle of going from the large to the small we start our study of yin and yang in movement with:
yin and yang as up and down left and right.


Yin and Yang and constant change
The process by which all things are constituted of the ever-changing relationship between yin and yang is described by the Chinese bagua of which there are two arrangements the pre-heaven and the post-heaven

The 8 basic symbols of trigrams are:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
trigram symbols
qian2
dui1
li2
zhen
sun4
kan3
gen4
kun1

Hexagram with numbers

 Hexagram with symbols


In the pre-heaven sequence the eight trigrams correspond to taijiquan’s eight basic powers thus:

Qian Peng
Kun Lu
Kan Ji
Li An
Sun Cai
Gen Lieh
Dui Zhou
Zhen Kao

In the post-heaven sequence the correspondence is thus:

Kan Peng
Li Lu
Dui Ji
Zhen An
Qian Cai
Kun Lieh
Gen Zhou
Sun Kao

By examining the trigrams we can learn something about the combination of yin and yang in the corresponding powers.

The relationship between the pre-heaven and the post-heaven diagrams in martial arts is explained in three different ways:

1/ Train the post-heaven to remedy the pre-heaven

2/Train the post-heaven to return to the pre-heaven

3/Train the unification of pre-heaven and post-heaven

In order to make practical use of these trigrams in our training we shall consider the pre-heaven arrangement as the ideal that we are aiming for and the post-heaven arrangement as a guide to the qualities our movements should embody in order to attain that ideal.

The Five Elements

As well as the eight powers taijiquan embodies the five movements: forward, backward, left, right and zhong ding or central equilibrium.
These correspond to the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

Forward Metal
Backward Wood
Left Water
Right Fire
Centre Earth

We can practice these both in solo movements and with a partner.

The constant interplay of yin and yang can be found in every aspect of taijiquan whether, form, pushing hands, weapons, applications or neigong but REMEMBER:

NO MATTER HOW COMPLEX ALL OF THIS SEEMS, THE ESSENCE IS VERY SIMPLE:

One Yin, one Yang and turn the waist.

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