The five elements in tai chi chuan The Five Elements are
a fundamental concept which impacts on many areas of life.
In time one can develop an intuitive understanding of the
interaction of the elements. There are many explanations
of the Five Elements applied to martial arts, and I've yet
to see one that explains the directions (forward, back,up-down
etc.) in a way I can integrate with my knowledge of TCM
(Traditional Chinese Medicine). So here (I trust) is a simple
interpretation on I hope to improve as my understanding
Water Just like a great river, water has enormous power
combined with tremendous softness. Water prevails without
doing, just by being itself. 'Water' houses the will. The
emotion associated with this element is Courage & conversely
Fear if this element is weak, The bones are the related
tissue. Weakness in this element can cause lower back pain
and sore knees. Controls reception of qi, memory and concentration.
Energy flows up the water channels and the legs and back
(Bladder, Kidney) from your root in the earth at the bubbling
spring point (K-1). People may lose control of the bladder
in times of great fear as the qi suddenly descends. Sense
organ - the ears
Wood Like bamboo 'Wood' has flexibility. It controls judgement
& strategy. This element houses the ethereal soul which
gives direction in life. The emotion of 'Wood' is Anger.
In people with long term Anger you may see two vertical
furrows between the eyebrows. 'Wood' controls the sinews
(ligaments and tendons) and ensures the free flow of qi.
Sense organ - the eyes
Fire Our Shen (mind or consciousness) is housed by 'Fire'
which also governs the blood and blood vessels. 'Fire' is
linked with sensitivity, relationship to oneself and toward
others. The triple heater channel or meridian of the 'Fire'
element distributes original qi (chi that you are born with)
and its energy radiates in all directions. The sense organ
of the 'Fire' element is the tongue.
Earth Very central parts of the body such as the waist fall
under the influence of this pivotal element. Its functions
include transforming. It houses another aspect of the mind
- the yi (focus and intellect), Imbalances here can lead
to or be caused by worry which knots the qi. 'Earth' controls
the raising and descending of qi, sinking & connection with
the earth. It also 'dominates' the muscles and the limbs
providing nourishment to the body. Sense organ - the mouth
Metal (air) Element which governs the exterior - defence,
boundaries, skin, taking in and letting go. It governs qi
and controls breathing. 'Metal' houses the 'po' (animal
nature). I suspect that 'Opening' and 'Closing' in the form
are part of the 'Metal' element. Sense organ - the nose
NB: None of the information supplied should take the place
of consulting with a doctor nor can we can take any responsibility
for any injuries resulting from its application. Tai chi
should always be learnt under the direction of a competent
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