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#295686 - 10/23/06 12:27 PM 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts!
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello:

I am looking for coherent & articulate explaination of 5 element theory as pertains specifically to Martial Arts practice, and or particular specific arts.

However I have a few basic criteria... The explaination CANNOT be cyclical. They should not be mysterious. They need to be in English! I am NOT seeking chinese cosmology in place of discussion/explaination. "...the yin/yang element of Tao which is described by the yang elements of the 5 element theory..."

Is anyone familiar with websites, arts, discussions which are comprehensible re: 5 element theory? Looking for the Adam Hsu's, Robert Smith's the Donn Draeger's & Dave Lowry's authors/practitioners/presentors of the Chinese arts....

Can anyone help point the way to understandable 5 element theory discussions/articulations specific to the martial arts?

Jeff

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#295687 - 10/23/06 01:03 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Ronin1966]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
Hi Jeff,
Are you asking how the 5 element theory relates to fighting in the martial arts?
_________________________
Chris Haynes

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#295688 - 10/23/06 02:04 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Fisherman]
Sagaratoko Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 9
Loc: Florida, brevard
I wouldnt mind knowing myself

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#295689 - 10/23/06 03:41 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Ronin1966]
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3400
Loc: MiddleEarth
I think you'd better answer this one Fisherman!
_________________________
Allow me to acquaint you with my friends Mr Jab and Mr Cross...

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#295690 - 10/23/06 04:23 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Reiki]
Lucid Warrior Offline
Member

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 213
Loc: TwinCities, MN, U.S.
Okay, I may be way off here, but I'll give you my current understanding, and I'll try and do it in relation to actual physical movement so that you can understand. In order to do this, I will need to discuss yin/yang and neutral. Also, It's easier to explain if you consider the 8 universal forces that the 5 elemental forces are a part of. For this, we look to the later heaven/post heaven pakua.



First, picture at the center of your body a point. This point is neutral. Then picture a yin/yang symbol on the front of your body. If you were to direct a (to keep things easy) muscle contraction to push, then, from the neutral point, direct an outward pushing motion through yang. If you wanted to make a pulling motion with your hand, draw in to the neutral point through yin. With me so far? Yin would be pull (draw in), yang would be push (expand outward)... all this starts from and ends at the neutral point at the center which is represented in the pakua by the circle that surrounds the yin/yang symbol (I think).

Now, for the 5 elemental forces and 3 additional universal forces, they are represented by bars of yin and yang. Each set of three bars is a mixture of yin/yang push/pull (in movement). For Kan (water, the symbol at the bottom of the pakua I linked to) it is 2 parts yin, and 1 part yang, which in movement is two parts pull and 1 part push. Try this now, extend your arm and then pull it in towards yourself, but, when you pull your arm in, fight it a little with the pushing muslces. If you pull and push, but pull more than you push, you will still pull inward. -thus, two parts pull, and 1 part push... all directed at the neutral point at the center, through yin and yang at 2 parts yin and 1 part yang.

This is where it gets more complicated, and I'm not really going to go much further into it, but, there is more than one trigram in the pakua that is two parts yin and 1 part yang. The order does make a difference, be it yin-yang-yin (water) or yang-yin-yin (wood). This is much more complicated to explain in terms of movement, so I wont even try right now. What is important for me to explain is that the pakua, no matter the order, is always neutral. If you count the number of yin bars and the number of yang bars in all 8 universal forces, they still add up to ballanced yin and yang, which is neutral, like the neutral point at the center. Because of this, if you use the energy of movement through the pakua, you creat movement without movement, because the whole pakua neutralizes the movement as ballanced. I believe tht this is a major key to an 'internal movement'. But there is so much more to it than just that, especially when consider corrisponding organs, senses, emotions..etc.. I hope I didn't screw this up. It's a difficult subject to discuss, especiall when trying to explain it in the western tounge and mind. I gave it my best shot, anyone can add or take away from anything I said.

Whatever the case, you will not be able to make use of this information without proper guidance.


Edited by Lucid Warrior (10/23/06 04:29 PM)

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#295691 - 10/24/06 08:25 AM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Lucid Warrior]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
Excellent Lucid. Thanks for taking the time to post that.
Hopefully that is what Jeff was asking about when he refered to 5 element theory.

This portion of the metaphysical side of martial arts I am not all that familiar with. I am familiar with the 5 elements as refered to in Xingyiquan, how they have creation cycles and destruction cycles, but as far as its relation with the trigrams of the bagua, I am at a loss.
_________________________
Chris Haynes

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#295692 - 10/24/06 01:39 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Fisherman]
Lucid Warrior Offline
Member

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 213
Loc: TwinCities, MN, U.S.
Thanks Chris, the push/pull application of five elemental theory may not have been the best example, but I was hoping it would help establish a solid understanding of the mathmatical values of each element in relation to yin/yang and neutral... And with that, show application of it. I probably should avoid the more metephysical sounding explanatins, since that usually leads to misunderstanding and food for trolls. Definatetly nothing mystical here.

I don't really know about how Xingyiquan applies five elemental theory, but for any application, the pakua/bagua offers such an excelent conversion table for any element to and from yin/yang.

I'd really like to hear from you about Xingyiquan's application of five elemental theory.

In hopes of connecting what I was saying before with Xingyiquan, I photochoped the pakua to show a few different things-

Creation cycle mapped with pakua-



Controling cycle (I believe this is destructive cycle) mapped with pakua-



Elemental forces in relationship with yin/yang mapped with pakua-



I guess the original subject of the thread, (explaining 5 elemental theory in english without being to mysterious about it) is difficult. I think I may have actually made things more confusing, so from here I'll call it quits. I don't think I can offer a better explanation of martial application, unfortunately, that is beyone my abilty... but, if someone can get something out of anything I said, then I guess I did okay. I'm done.

steve

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#295693 - 10/24/06 08:24 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Lucid Warrior]
Sagaratoko Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 9
Loc: Florida, brevard
i think you did an excellent job however one thing still bothers me,
Quote:

I probably should avoid the more metephysical sounding explanatins, since that usually leads to misunderstanding and food for trolls



FOOD FOR TROLLS!? what does that all mean? im so noob!

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#295694 - 10/24/06 09:17 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Sagaratoko]
Lucid Warrior Offline
Member

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 213
Loc: TwinCities, MN, U.S.
Quote:

i think you did an excellent job however one thing still bothers me,
Quote:

I probably should avoid the more metephysical sounding explanatins, since that usually leads to misunderstanding and food for trolls



FOOD FOR TROLLS!? what does that all mean? im so noob!




"Do not feed the trolls" usually means to ignore the person who is 'trolling'. But Around here, sometimes it seems like a troll can confuse a lot of newcomers by mixing fact with fiction... and I don't want to give that type of trouble maker any ideas. And I certainly don't want to confuse anyone who is serious. -(Often times myslef, lol)


From wikipedia -
In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who enters an established community such as an online discussion forum and intentionally tries to cause disruption, most often in the form of posting inflammatory, off-topic, or otherwise inappropriate messages

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

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#295695 - 10/24/06 11:26 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Lucid Warrior]
Sagaratoko Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 9
Loc: Florida, brevard
thank you! that clears things up pretty well, and fortunatley is a lot more simple compared to the 5 elemental theory! lol

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#295696 - 10/25/06 12:42 AM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Lucid Warrior]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Lucid Warrior Steve:

Much to ponder, much to digest before forming the next line of questions per se....

Regardless my thanks for your effort & those of others on this challenging-difficult subject...

Are there particular arts, or subsets of arts which members feel articulates these particular ideas meaningfully well, and likewise coherently (sic in English )

Jeff

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#295697 - 10/25/06 10:40 AM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Ronin1966]
Kempoman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/15/00
Posts: 1484
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:

Hello:

I am looking for coherent & articulate explaination of 5 element theory as pertains specifically to Martial Arts practice, and or particular specific arts.

However I have a few basic criteria... The explaination CANNOT be cyclical. They should not be mysterious. They need to be in English! I am NOT seeking chinese cosmology in place of discussion/explaination. "...the yin/yang element of Tao which is described by the yang elements of the 5 element theory..."




Weeeellll usually if you go to books or a web forum that is what you will get. You really need to find an instructor who can show you the subtleties of five element fighting concepts but I will try

In xingyiquan there are five fists (or forces) which correspond to the five elements:
Metal(Pi) - Splitting , Like an axe chopping up and over.
Fire(Pao) - Pounding, Exploding outward like a cannon while blocking.
Water(Zuan) - Drilling, Drilling forward horizontaly like a geyser.
Earth(Heng) - Crossing, Crossing the line of attack while turning over.
Wood(Beng) - Crushing, constantly exploding forward.


These principles (and movements) are used in the following manner..

One assumes a possibility of three outcomes constructive, neutral and destructive. This follows five element theory of the cycles of the same name.


Pi quan is used to defeat (destroy) Beng energy.

Pao quan is used to defeat (destroy) Pi energy.

Zuan quan is used to defeat (destroy) Pao energy.

these are example of the destructive cycle which tends to be more yang in nature, there also the use of the constructive (I like to use term regulatory, it is a better description of what is happening)which moves the incoming energy in a desired manner and direction and the cuts its head off.

It is these subtleties and intracacies that are learned from a good xingyi instructor. The Hung brothers were some of the best. Of course each of the fists contain properties of other elements and the animals are extensions of the elements.

These are things that must be shown and not read about, but I think that you can get and idea from this.

--KM
_________________________
Yeah, if you want to get dry-humped and dookie-licked.

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#295698 - 10/25/06 02:01 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Kempoman]
Lucid Warrior Offline
Member

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 213
Loc: TwinCities, MN, U.S.
Kempoman, thanks for xingyiquan context. Probably a little closer to what he was looking for.

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#295699 - 10/26/06 09:57 AM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Kempoman]
Fisherman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
Hi Kempoman,

Quote:

Of course each of the fists contain properties of other elements...




That being said, do you think that this is what makes up the creation cycle?
Example: Pao chuan contains some 'elements' beng chuan and this is why you can see similar energies in the forward hitting fist?
Maybe this is why the linkage forms flow so well together? One element flows through one transitional phase to the next element either creating or destroying.
I know that the animals are related to specific elements, do you think that the transitional phase between elements is where the animals come from?
Just curious, I do know the Hebei Xingyiquan 5-elements and their likages via the Hung lineage, I am not all that familiar with that many of the animals though. I primarily focus on the bagua stuff.
I have heard that some of the post-heaven bagua that Hung Yi Xiang taught was actually xingyi animals though, so mabey I know more of the animals than I think.

Good discussion!
Chris
_________________________
Chris Haynes

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#295700 - 10/26/06 11:45 AM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Fisherman]
Kempoman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/15/00
Posts: 1484
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:

Hi Kempoman,

Quote:

Of course each of the fists contain properties of other elements...




That being said, do you think that this is what makes up the creation cycle?
Example: Pao chuan contains some 'elements' beng chuan and this is why you can see similar energies in the forward hitting fist?
Maybe this is why the linkage forms flow so well together? One element flows through one transitional phase to the next element either creating or destroying.
I know that the animals are related to specific elements, do you think that the transitional phase between elements is where the animals come from?
Just curious, I do know the Hebei Xingyiquan 5-elements and their likages via the Hung lineage, I am not all that familiar with that many of the animals though. I primarily focus on the bagua stuff.
I have heard that some of the post-heaven bagua that Hung Yi Xiang taught was actually xingyi animals though, so mabey I know more of the animals than I think.

Good discussion!
Chris




Chris,

Well, we're really gettin' down to the nut-cuttin' here.

Here is what I have learned and distilled from the last ten years of focusing on xingyiquan.

There are five forces, powers, energies in xingyiquan (of course there are two sides to each).

When done correctly each force is very powerful in an of itself, but combining them using the five element cycles is
where the devastating power that xingyi is famous for comes from.

The linking form is key in this process as is An shen pao(the two man set).

These however are only examples of "how" to combine them. This is the key difference between someone who teaches the techniques of xingyi and
someone who teaches actual xingyi.

Learning and internalizing how these five forces blend and change into one another is the key to xingyiquan. It is my assertion that this is the
purpose of progression from the five fists to linking form to ba shi to the animals forms. That said these are just examples the key is understanding
the transition from one to another and back again much like playing the guitar. Think of it like single chords vs learning chord progression.

Thoughts?

-KM
_________________________
Yeah, if you want to get dry-humped and dookie-licked.

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#295701 - 10/26/06 08:23 PM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Kempoman]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

That said these are just examples the key is understanding
the transition from one to another and back again much like playing the guitar. Think of it like single chords vs learning chord progression.





That's a really nice way of putting it....

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#295702 - 10/28/06 10:43 AM Re: 5 Element Theory re: Martial Arts! [Re: Lucid Warrior]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
excellent posting Lucid and Kempoman! just one thing to add not in explaining the theory, since I don't have the experience with this to add anything that hasn't been covered. but I will comment on a common trapping when studying a theory such as this.

martial arts theories, particularly very old Chinese ways of explaining things are largely symbolic - but the symbolism connects to very real life principles. THAT connection can only be made by years of being shown and doing.

the trapping is in thinking the symbolism is mumbo-jumbo with perhaps irrelavent spiritual leanings...but it often shouldn't be dismissed as irrelavent so quickly. when you think about it...how else WOULD we describe complex things our body just learns by physical experience and knowledge? the symbolism serves as a guide without geting bogged down in overly-complex technicalities. abstract thinking over logical mind. even the word 'theory' is a misnomer and immediately traps a western mind into a mindset of logic-heavy critical thought.

the trapping of such theories can tip the other way just as well...when we look at the symbolism as ALL spiritual meaning with little to no connection with the physical.

I've found I have to try really hard to try and balance out the abstract vs. logical mindset when learning about things like this...it really is difficult for someone growing up with logical hardwiring to reprogram their circuits - but I'm picking away at it. learning can't be passive, we really have to work at it.

sorry if the post went off-topic...just a side-note to perhaps help the android people like me reading this thread.

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