The Eight Trigrams (Bagua)
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
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.