[QUOTE=LGatling;501781]Yes, these concepts are ubiquitous. They do not originate in the martial arts, but rather in the 四書五経 the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism and their hundreds of later commentaries. These broad cultural philosophies were used to guide and enlighten everything from familial relations to tax policy. Adopted by the martial arts, they were modified to enlighten, explain and expand biomechanics, tactics and strategy.

Mr. Sigman's intro to seems right.

This is a selfish question, perhaps. Chinese grammar is not my forte, but I don't understand Mr. Bisio's use of the term 'triad' below. AFAIK a 'triad' is a Chinese criminal gang. There are many famous binary elements such as 陰陽 yin/yang 文武 civil/military 明暗 light/dark etc, and four- and more character idioms 成語 chéngyǔ (Japanese: yojijukugo 四字熟語). I just don't know if there's a specific name for a three-character idiom outside of 三字 san'ji (three characters), and have never seen the use of 'triad' in that context. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengyu

In this discussion, the idea of triads – groups of three – will be used to help understand the concept of ‘internal’. Triads are an important concept in Chinese thought. The most basic triad in Chinese philosophy is that of Heaven, Earth and Human Beings. This is often depicted with Heaven above, Earth below and Human Beings in the center. This Triad is the basis of San Ti Shi, the “Trinity” posture, or ‘Three Body Pattern’ in Xing Yi Quan (Form-Intention or Form-Image Boxing). From this fundamental triad, many other triads can be developed to explain internal arts and internal training. Heaven’s energy (yang qi) flows downward and is received by Earth. Earth’s energy (yin) flows upward. The two interact and co-mingle in living things. Earth manifests and upholds physical forms in response to Heaven’s movement and image. There is an interaction of form and intention, images and manifestations, qi and substance. [\UNQUOTE]

Note I'm not questioning the basic introduction regarding the element 天地人tiān dì rén but rather the use of the term 'triad' only.

I don't know enough about it to comment on the notion of Westerners developing their own 'triads', especially by people who don't understand Chinese and the culture behind the words.

Lance Gatling
I don't think it really matters whether it originated in Confucianism or not for our purposes. By "triad" I believe that he means just what he said - a group of three things, which is quite common (as he also says) in China (and also Japan, FWIW). I don't know of anybody who's making up their own "triads", although there must be someone, somewhere.