The 5 Elements of Application

The Generating Sequence (also known as Sheng cycle, generating cycle, creative cycle, nourishing cycle)

Each Element generates another and each Element is generated by one.

Eg: Wood generates Fire, Fire generates Earth, Earth generates Metal, Metal generates Water and Water generates Wood.

The Mother and Son relationship applies to the generating sequence. As an example this can be expressed as "Fire is the child of Wood and the mother of Earth."

The Controlling Sequence (also known as Ko cycle, controlling cycle, restraining cycle)

Each Element controls another Element and is controlled by one.

"Fire controls Metal, Earth controls Water, Metal controls Wood, Water controls Fire, Wood controlsEarth".

Put another way, "Fire controls Metal but is controlled by Water".

The Overacting Sequence (also known as overacting cycle)

When the balance maintained in the generating sequence is disrupted this causes an Element to become excessive and "overcontrol" another Element.

The Insulting Sequence (also known as rebellious cycle, insulting cycle)

This sequence operates in reverse to the controlling sequence, in that when the balance is broken between two elements the Element usually being controlled will Insult the controlling Element.

"Fire insults Water, Water insults Earth, Earth insults Wood, Wood insults Metal, Metal insults Fire".

  Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Season Spring Summer Late Summer Autumn Winter
Direction East South Centre West North
Colour Green Red Yellow White Black
Taste Sour Bitter Sweet Pungent Salty
Yin Organ Liver Heart Spleen Lungs Kidney
Yang Organ Gall Bladder Small Intestine Stomach Colon Urinary Bladder
Sense Organ Eyes Tongue Mouth Nose Ears
Tissues Sinews Vessels Muscles Skin Bones
Sound Shuu Haa Whoo Tsss Fuu
Finger Index Middle Thumb Ring Pinky

From various sources, mostly Wikipedia.