The Eight Trigrams (Bagua)

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To understand where the Eight Trigrams fit into tai chi, we need to refer to the Thirteen Energies, which are made up of, in simple terms, Eight Energies (or Gates) and 5 Steps.  The Eight Gates are associated with the eight trigrams (also known as the Bagua, shown above).  Each of the Five Steps is  associated with one of the Five Elements, a study of the relationship within nature of naturally occurring elements:  metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.  

The Eight Energies (Gates) of Tai Chi

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The Trigrams, or Bagua, below, show the yin and yang forces for each energy:

  • Peng = Ward Off (represented by  three solid lines)

  • Lu = Roll Back (represented by three solid lines, cut in half)

  • Cai = Pluck, or pull down (represented by two yang lines on the outside, and one yin line)

  • Zhou = Elbow Strike (shown as the opposite of Cai, in that the yin line is on the outside and the two yang lines are on the inside)

  • Ji = Press (a sold yang line in the centre, with two yin lines either side_

  • An = Push (positioned opposite of Press and has the yin line in the centre, with the yang lines either side)

  • Kao = Shoulder Strike, or lean (a solid yang line is outside, with two yin lines inside)

  • Lie = Split (the opposite of Kao, the solid yang line is on the inside, with the two yin lines outside)

The Bagua below shows the 5 Steps depicted by the trigrams.