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Um 陰 and Yang 陽

The principle of Um and Yang theory originated in the interest the Chinese had in the patterns and relationships that occurred in nature. Rather than viewing things in isolation, they viewed the world as a harmonious and holistic entity, in which no single thing could exist unless it was seen in relation to its surrounding environment.

Through careful and prolonged observations over thousands of years, they developed a theory that describes the way phenomena naturally occurs in pairs of mutual complementing opposites, such as heaven and earth, sun and moon, night and day, winter and summer, male and female, up and down, inside and outside, and many more. The theory is based on the two basic components of Um and Yang, which are simultaneously material and energy. They are a method of explaining the relationships between things.

The Principles of Um & Yang

  1. Everything has a Um and a Yang aspect.

  2. Any Um and Yang aspect can be further subdivided into levels of Um and Yang.

  3. Um and Yang mutually create each other.

  4. Um and Yang control each other.

  5. Um and Yang transform into each other.

While the basic concept of complimentary opposites and Um/Yang pairs is familiar to Tang Soo Do practitioners, it is not sufficient for the understanding and practice of Ki Gong. In order to understand the Um and Yang principle sufficiently well to practice Ki Gong, the practitioner must begin to intuit the relationship from first principles. The characteristics of Um and Yang are listed in the table below. YANGUMImmaterialMaterialProduces energyProduces formGeneratesGrowsNon-substantialSubstantialEnergyMatterExpansionContractionAscendingDescendingAboveBelow

As you begin to understand Um and Yang, you will be able to answer questions such as: “What is more Um – milk or water?” The question may seem difficult to someone unfamiliar with the Um/Yang model, but after thinking about it, one can intuit that milk is more Um because it is thicker and more substantial than water. From the principles of Um and Yang, we know that everything can be further broken down into additional divisions of Um and Yang. For example, the upper half of the body is more Yang than the lower half because it is above the lower half. Similarly, the front of the body is more Um than the back because in four-legged animals the front of the body is closer to the ground than the back.

There are too many Um Yang relationships in Ki Gong practice to state them all in this short text. However, understanding how to intuit the relationship between any two things in terms of which is more Um or Yang is an important part of your eventual success.

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