Another view on Yin and Yang

You yin your yang?

Who touches kungfu, should know he/she is touching Yin and Yang in the essence.

The Dao, or Taijtu, represents Tao and the change of Yin and Yang. Perhaps you are known with the explanation of extremes going to extremes (the black/white dot is the start to develop to the bigger half of the big circle, where the alternate dot does the same the other way around)

What is often less well known, is what Yin and Yang actually represents. Students of mine, know that the definition to color doesn’t really matter, except from historical point of view. In history, Yin and Yang started defined as Yin being black/dark and Yang being white/light. If you look at a high mountain (like there are suprisingly  many in China), you will see that it has ‘two’ sides. (of course in three dimensions it has way more, but the simplified idea here). One is a warm light sided and one is a cold shadow side. The warm light side emmits/radiates heat, while the colder shadow side seems to ‘radiate cold’.

This is wrong, as cold means absence of heat and the surface will absorb all heat to level. The light side doesn’t actually radiate the heat, as much as it reflects it. This is however where Yin and Yang found their origins.

In Kungfu (Wudan T’ai Chi and Shaolin Kungfu), Yin is seen as the absorbing building movement and Yang is the explosive discharging movement.


Breath in, breath out

The training of Kungfu, of course has to do with the ability to use the excesses as well as the moderation. Think twice to define Yin and Yang as two values. They are NOT. They are the sliding scale. In the west many practitioners TCM and Chinese Martial Arts are having misconceptions about these two. Making them ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. You can NOT do this, except to say that at a certain moment something is more masculine or more feminine. In either Yin or Yang.

Yin and Yang are best translated to ‘More in’ (Yin) and ‘More out’ (Yang). A sliding scale as to say. IF you understand this, there is much you will learn from Chinese Martial Arts and other aspects of life. It will become clearer that a movement can go forward, yet be Yin. Or a movement can go backwards and still be Yang. Where someone who has the misconception of both with easily say an outgoing movement is Yang or the reversed, you will now recognize that these should be observed with the definitions of ‘more Yin’, or ‘more Yang’.

In TCM the same words are used, but for health definitions. Someone is warm, he/she radiates heat and is often called ‘Yang’ (discharge of energy). But depending on the location, it can be actual Yin’ Yang energy (coming from emptiness). So by building of energy, the body is radiating, meaning it requires discharge. Because this is requiring more indepth information, I will leave it at that (You might reference the Ling Shu).

Now you are more Yin

Before you punch, you focus and put your body in place, so that it is effective and you have energy to punch. Before you block, you move your body, so that with the minimum of energy from inside, you can absorb the maximum amount from outside. This is all a buildup from Yin before Yang (whether outgoing, or incoming). As with everything, it is about preparation. Preparing (Yin) is only possible if you take time to analyse the situation. You can find a solution, if you learned the parts that can be used to so so. This also is all Yin in preparation of Yang.

Kungfu is using Yin en Yang in movement and force. Kungfu is also learning to use the movement, the force and movement between Yin and Yang and in reverse.

What is Tao NOT?

Tao isn’t a force in itself. It is the recognition of the universe.

Tao isn’t a thing, it isn’t an object, or even a concept. It merely is our ability to work with the universe.

What is Tao?

Tao-yinyang“Tao is seen in the meriade of things.”

Tao is a concept. It is not an entity, it is not a force. It is a concept of explaining the universe from a dualistic behavior. This behavior is observed by the two underlying/deeper concepts: Yin and Yang.

Basically meaning, that Tao is in everything. Tao is the concept of a unification of matter and energy into a dual relationship (Yin and Yang).

What are Yin and Yang?

Most simple definition of Yin and Yang:

Yin is the direction of anything that is building up, inflowing. Yang is the direction of anything outgoing, explosive. (This is why some accidentally think that yin is female: building a child).

This is what I teach my students (to extend). I always keep it to understandable and reusable things. The deficient and excess yin and yang are from TCM. They are explainable in use of force when in a situation of conflict (verbal and non-verbal), but it takes some time before students get to a degree of being aware of it. The biggest problem with modern day MA and TCM and actually global ‘understanding’  of the concepts of yin and yang, is that they are connected to gender force: Yin=female and yang=male. This is totally WRONG. If you see something being stated like that, be very critical about its source. It is someone who doesn’t understand it. 

How do Tao and Yin/Yang relate?

Tao encompasses everything. All things you can see and all things you can’t see. This includes Energy and matter in the universe, but also the effects of things on eachother.

Yin and Yang are the concept of the effects everything in the universe has on itself and one another.

Tao can be perceived in the the working of Yin and Yang. Meaning, you can see that which is and which is not, through observing movement, existing objects and forces at work. Like Newton found gravity, though not visible, there are many more forces we find out are in action. That is the way the universe works, as such the concept Tao is meant, both in physical and cognitive.

‘Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations’

Tao Te Ching – Translation – Derek Lin

Is Taoism a religion?

In my eyes, Taoism, as it is the heart of the chinese people, isn’t a religion.

There is however a distinction in Taoism. There is classical Taoism, which is like Greek Philosophy, only used to become insightful in nature and the way the universe, nature and humanity works.

Then there is neo-taoism/modern taoism, that is taking the side of Confucius and taoist ‘alchemy’ to find supernatural improvement of life. The actions required in this, could be seen as ‘rituals’ and therefore neo-taoism could be named a ‘religion’.


So, NO, Original/classical Taoism is not a religion.

And, yes, modern/neo-taoism can be called a religion.

But what is wrong about calling something a religion? 

Religion means binding. Binding a person in thought and action. When humans weren’t having a lot of options of understanding or scientifically researching, it was probably helping that someone said: Look, don’t worry, there must be a reason for it.

Those days are over, yet there are people depending on the following of others. Like banks are dependant of people saving money with them, taking loans etc. As such Religious cults need people to pay for their lifes. This is always and intrinsically wrong.

It doesn’t matter if the religion is based on superstitious or supernatural things, or based on reality supporting subjects, the fact that the individual is stripped from the freedom of self, is wrong.

Affairs of the State

I have created a methodology called ‘Affairs of the State’. Actually it is not so much a creation, but an adaptation.

‘Affairs of the State’ refer to the Book ‘Art of War’ by Tzun Tzu (Chuang Tzu). Though this book has been used by many warlords to ‘apply’ to war or conflict situations. I think it is usable in every situation of your personal life. Yes, there are books explaining how to ‘adjust’ leadership for manager, by applying it. But this is still limited and (because it is a ‘western’ use of ‘eastern’ knowledge) a failing adaption for improvement. is created and maintained by Derek Lin. Derek is one of the foremost authorities (in my opinion) regarding explaining Tao and Taoism. He holds an online ‘gathering’ and discussion board, as well as an offline one.