Wednesday 29 April 2015

Y is for Yin and for Yang

For years and years I've looked at versions of this illustration and called it a symbol for yin and yang, and, yes, in a way it is.  However on the card, if you can decipher the writing, it says it is Taiji, a complex philosophical perm meaning the Supreme Ultimate.

To add to the confusion, if you like, in the west we tend to use the word Taiji (or T'ai Chi) to describe the martial art which should more correctly be called Taijiquan (or T'ai chi ch'uan), or Supreme Ultimate Fist.

Yin and yang come into it because they demonstrate how apparent opposites can in fact be complementary and depend on each other.  This is central to the principles of Taijiquan where students are taught to meet brute force with softness.

The wording on the card has been taken almost directly from Wikipedia.  The card is one published by an on-line company,, popular in China.


  1. Strange how things get lost in translation.

  2. I've always liked the value behind yin yang. Practicing taichi though is a bit of an effort for me, I become impatient with the slow movements. I have to learn more patience!

  3. It's funny how we anglicised everything and changed the wording-neat postcard


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