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understanding the concepts and applications of chi energy  

The Internal Flow of Chi


the hexagramsWith some imagination it is not too difficult to see how a series and combinations offbroken and unbroken lines can be used to illustrate regular cyclic processes of nature, such as the phases of the moon and seasons of the year.

Ancient Taoists applied this same theory and codification to cyclic processes within the body. This theory is the basis of Chinese Medicine and the flow of energy during the playing of the Tai Chi Form travels the same pathways as Acupuncture and various massage techniques.



begining animationTo describe this flow of vital energy as being cyclical or waxing and waning is quite appropriate and the same hexagram code may be used to indicate the progression of the energy to certain parts of the body.
Consider first the very first 'in motion' posture of the Form ("Beginning"), in which the arms are raised while the knees are slightly straightened. The arms are then lowered and the knees are bent once again.
The movement of this posture is designed to guide the flow of chi (vital energy) from the feet, up the spine to the top of the head, and then down the front of the body to the abdomen.

Fu (hexagram [arrangement of 6 lines] number 24) represents the very beginning, in which the energy rises from the soles of the feet.
Ch'ien (hexagram number 1) represents the point at which the knees are straight and the energy has risen up through the spinal column all the way to the head.
K'un (hexagram number 2) represents the outcome of the lowering, in which the energy has moved down to the abdomen.

In cross referencing these hexagrams with the I Ching it is revealed that the 'holistic' inference of hexagram 24 Fu (Returning) is: You may move freely as there is advantage in all directions with no one opposing you. Keep a firm goal in mind as this is a new cycle of growth - so let things grow. Put behind you the wrong doings of others and they will do the same for you.
Ch'ien (Creative Originality) suggests that it is time to take action and continue with determination. Work hard but do not overreach.
K'un (Fulfilling Destiny) suggests that there is no need to force the issue. Good fortune comes from passive compliance.

The Cycle of Chi

The structure, form or design of Tai Chi tally's with many other oriental philosophies and represents the functioning of Yin and Yang in relation to eight essential forces and structures of the Universe (as perceived of by Ancient Taoists). These are:

Heaven Earth Thunder Water Mountain Wind Fire

Each of these 'characteristics' are associated with particular phases of natures cycle and placed accordingly around the Yin Yang - with maximum Yang (midday) being bright/white, and maximum Yin (midnight) being dark/black.

This cycle operates on the micro or personal and macro or universal level and as such incorporates the coming and going of the seasons, the rise and fall of the tide, the 'birth' and 'death' of stars as well as the birth and death of all the other "ten thousand things".

This theory of the waxing and waning cycle of chi is the basis of the I Ching and is therefor fundamental to all associated oriental theories.


With some imagination it is not too difficult to see how a series and combinations offbroken and unbroken lines can be used to illustrate regular cyclic processes of nature

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