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.
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.
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.
(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.
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
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.