Monday, April 5, 2010

Symbolism In Tai Chi Chuan


Click on image to enlarge

I found this first chart over at "The Rum Soaked Fist", posted by Doc Stier.

Here is my somewhat limited description of how it works:
The top of the diagram displays heaven, Yang energy. When energy rises up the body it becomes more Yang. At the bottom we see earth. Likewise, energy descending in the body becomes Yin, as earth is Yin energy.
In the beginning, there was "Wu Ji", the great void, nothingness.
Within the Wu Ji, something began to stir, represented by the dot in the center of Wu Ji. This is labeled as "The first differentiation".
The stirring splits into the dialectical opposites, which strive to interchange, hence the blending into the Yin-Yang symbol, each side containing a portion of the opposite.
Yin-Yang gives birth to The Five Elements, which are also the basis for the philosophy in Xingyi Boxing. The elements have a creative cycle, and a destructive cycle.

And the Five Elements produce "The Ten Thousand Things".

One thing that really interests me is that the "Wu Ji" phase makes me think about "The Big Bang Theory" of the origins of the known universe. In fact, if there is a physics professor out there I would love to see the parallels they could draw between this ancient symbol chart and revelations in modern science.

2 comments:

Toldain said...

Not just the big bang, but the process of differentiation is known to take place at the particle level as a commonplace thing.

That is, in free space, a pair of particles, say, positron and electron, will spontaneously appear. After some time, they might recollide with one another and annihilate each other, leaving nothing at all. But sometimes, one of the particles gets caught in the gravity well of a black hole, and the other one doesn't. Hawking predicted that this effect would make black holes "glow" with the energy of the unabsorbed particles, and this would allow them to "boil off" as it were.

If that's not an example of "separation of yin and yang" and yin begets yang, and yang begets yin", I don't know what is. A black hole absorbs light, and yet it glows. Nothing that sticks to it can get away, and yet it will boil away to nothing over time.

By the way, I'm not a physics professor, but I am (well, was, really) a math/science prof.

Dojo Rat said...

Thanks Toldain,
Have you read Fritz Capra's "The Tao Of Physics"?
I read it over 20 years ago and it blew my mind