Shísān Gān 十三杆 – 13 Long Pole – Part 2
13 is based on the Bāguà 八卦 – Eight Situations and Wǔxíng 五行 – Five Elements. The Bāguà are Qián 乾☰, Duì 兌☱, Li 離☲, Zhen 震☳, Xun 巽☴, Kǎn 坎☵, Gěn 艮☶, Kūn 坤☷. These repreasent, Heaven, Lake, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Water, Mountain and Earth. But what are these? They are the eight energies which come from the eight situations. Bā 八 means eight and Guà 卦 means situation. These eight can become 8×8 = 64. These numbers come from the Yìjīng 易經 – Classic Book of Changing, so 64 situations. Daoism follows the Yìjīng to help us understand nature and keep everything is balance. Eight situations also means eight directions, East, South, West, North, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, Northwest.
The Wǔxíng – Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Together, these elements make up the whole world. There are many kinds of wood, many kinds of fire, many kinds of earth, many kinds of metal and many kinds of water.
So Bāguà and Wǔxíng together is 8+5 = 13. This means that 13 is everything. Tàijí 太極 is the principle of everything, so for Tàijíquán 太極拳 and for Chinese people, 13 is a good number.