With my Shiatsu course coming up I've had to really start nailing down the basics of my TCM theory. As its relevant to the PP's, I thought I'd do a quick guide to the 5 Element Theory. Hope this is of interest:

I'm presuming that by reading this forum, you have a basic understanding of the Meridians of the body. If not, in a nutshell according to Tradional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory the body is covered by 20 meridians (12 Main Meridians and 8 Extra Ordinary Meridians) or energy pathways that carry Ki/Qi energy around the body.

The 5 Element Theory

Each of the 12 main meridians are associated with one of five elements; Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. In TCM the Five Element theory is used as a framework to describe the relationships between each of the main meridians of the body, and provide a basis from which to diagnose and administer an appropriate treatment.

The main Meridians of the body can be broke down as such:

Small Intestine
Pericardium (aka Heart Constrictor or Heart Govenor)
Tripe Warmer (aka Triple Burner or Triple Heater)


Large Intestine


Gall Bladder

With the 5 Element theory there are a number of cycles which describe the energetic relationships of each of the 5 elements. From a Martial perspective we only need look at two of them; The Cycle of Creation and The Cycle of Destruction.

The Cycle of Creation

The Cycle of Creation is a nourishing cycle, whereby the Mother meridian nourishes the child. In other words each elements feeds the next one in the cycle and this can be summarized as follows:

Water creates Wood (by nourishing growth)
Wood creates Fire (the wood is burned to make fire)
Fire creates Earth (when it extinguishes it leaves ash, ash becomes earth)
Earth creates Metal (metal is formed in the earth)
Metal creates Water (solid metal melts to form liquid)

For example if we enhance the energy to the Earth, Metal will also become enhanced (metal is formed in the earth). Likewise if we enhance Wood, Fire will also be enhanced (the wood is burned to make fire).

The Cycle of Destruction

The Cycle of Destruction is a control cycle in which one element exerts control over its next but one element in the in the Cycle of Creation. In TCM this is seen as a Grandparent-Grandchild cycle, whereby the Grandparent element exerts control over its Grandchild element, providing control over the behaviour of its Grandchild element. This cycle can be summarized as follows:

Water controls Fire (by extinguishing it)
Fire controls Metal (by melting it)
Metal controls Wood (by cutting it)
Wood controls Earth (by covering it)
Earth controls Water (by damming it)

For example if you enhance the energy to Metal, you will retard the energy to Wood (metal cuts wood). If you enhace the energy to Fire, you will retard the energy to Metal (fire melts metal).

I hope that was of interest, I've had my head buried in books for months and this is the basis of both begining to understand TCM theory and the science behind PP striking.

I've taken most of it from my notes from loads of TCM and Martial books. For those interested in learning how this information applies to PP striking, I'd thoroughly recomend taking a look at The DSI's website has some execellent books and a forum packed full of information!


Edited by Gavin (08/17/05 12:34 PM)
Gavin King
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