Understanding Yin And Yang With The Cast Of Ranma 1/2

What is Yin And Yang?

Yin and Yang is perhaps the most basic of all Taoist concepts. Almost all of Taoism flows back to this one central concept; the duality of nature.

But before we get into all of that, let's take a time out to consider some things first, shall we? First, let's consider our friend, Ran--

(A loud crash erupts from upstairs, followed by a high pitched scream and some cackling laughter.)


Err. Uhm, excuse me for a minute, will you?

(Happousai comes flying through the room, letting pair of women's undergarments fly left and right. Girl-Type Ranma bounds down the steps a few seconds later.)

"Did You (pant, pant) see the old (pant, pant) geezer come through here?"

Uhm, yes, as a matter of fact. Out the window. But Ranma, I'm actually glad to see you, because I was just trying to explain--


(Ranma proceeds to leap out of the window onto the rooftops outside).

Well. That was interesting.

As I was SAYING, take our good friend Ranma. You may or may not be aware of his condition, but Ranma...uhm...changes, when splashed with cold water. That is to say, he becomes female.

I know what you're thinking.

But consider it; female and male, sharing one body. Female: Soft, Sensistive, Caring. Male: Brash, Strong, Willful. Two complete opposites, merged into one body. It's an amazing phenomenon indeed, but one which also helps me explain Yin and Yang.

You see, the Taoists believed that everything had it's opposite. Light has Dark. Sweet has Sour. Dry has Wet. Dead has living, and so on and so forth for everything that exists. That's what Yin and Yang are; Yin symbolizes coolness, softness, darkness, shadow, passive, wet, negative, and Yang is warmth, hard, light, bright, active, dry. These concepts are symbolized by the picture of two fish, one dark, one light, endlessly swimming after one another. (pictured to the right.)

But that doesn't mean one is better than the other. Light isn't BETTER than dark; it just is, because Taoists believe that despite how different a thing and it's opposite are, they're actually one and the same.


Look at it this way. If there were no women, could there be men? If there was no light, could there be dark? If nothing was sweet, could anything ever be sour?

Taoists say that opposites not only define each other, they CREATE each other. The world is essentially opposite; if it wasn't, the world wouldn't exist at all.

How does this apply to you? I'm glad you asked.

Once again, take Ranm---

(Boy-Type Ranma trudges into the room, looking tired and completely run down.)

Ah, Ranma! We were just talking about you.

"Oh really? Why? it's not because Akane is mad at me again, is it?"

(Ranma sighs and slumps down into a chair)

"I don't know what is with that girl. All I said is that she could stand to lose a few pounds. I swear, she is SO uncute--"

(At this moment, a fiery looking Ryoga bursts into the room, brandishing a rather dangerous looking umbrella.)

"Ranma! This has gone far enough! I'll never allow you to insult fair Akane again!"

"Ry-Ryoga! Wh-wh-what are you doing? I just said--ACK!"

(general chaos and violence ensues)

Well. It seems Ranma has gotten himself into a bit of a tight spot, doesn't it? But lots of us get ourselves into tight spots every day, whether it be from some casual remark that ended up offending someone, or whether we take the wrong job, or eat the wrong things...hmm. I wonder whether how Ranma will pull himself out fo this one? Let's see, shall we?

(The fighting continues.)

"Ranma! I will finally finish you off, once and for all, you heartless barbarian!"

"Ryoga, calm down, GEEZ--"

(Ranma stumbles backwards, grabs the glass of water that had been sitting peacefully at my desk, and promptly splashes himself with it. Now in girl form, Ranma rips off her shirt and...exposes herself..to Ryoga, who promptly flips over, blood spurting out of his nose.)

"What a jerk!"

(Ranma dresses and promptly stalks out of the room, muttering.)

Hmm. That was...oh, never mind.

Let's examine what we just saw. Ranma used his weakness, his changing from boy to girl, as an advantage to beat Ryoga. Definitely unorthodox as a martial arts style, but it worked. Ryoga is still twitching on the floor as I speak.

We've all got Yin and Yang inside of us. Inside the nicest person there's a little bit of a mean streak. Inside the most evil person is a little bit of good. The smartest people have weak areas of study, and the (seemingly) dumbest person excels in different areas. Everyone has these opposites embedded inside them; their pluses and their minuses.

But does that mean you have to let this slow you down? No way! Even your worst flaw can be used to your favor. Examine yourself. What are you good at? What are you NOT good at? Examine your opposites, and turn the negative into positive. If you're smaller than most people, try sports based on speed. If you're a great reader but horribe at math, find an interesting book on the subject. Faults are only faults if you dont use them right, just like Ranma and his...err... physical quirks.

Think about Yin and Yang. Think about your opposites. If you are able to take a good, long look at yourself, your'e one step closer to understanding Tao.

Take me Back To The Lessons Index!