The basis of all Chinese Metaphysics starts with the element cycle, so here a basic rundown of these principle to give you a simple understanding of how the cycle works. The are 5 Elements, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal.
The production cycle is a cycle in with the elements produce each other. As So, Water feeds Wood, Wood fuels fire, Fire burns off to create ash or Earth, Earth houses and create Metal (iron ores) Metal condenses and creates water. And the cycle continues.
Controlling or Countering cycle
The controlling cycle in which the elements exercise control over each (known as countering other is in the following order Water controls fire, Fire refines or melts metal, Metal chops wood, Wood or tree roots weakens and loosens soil, Earth. Earth creates the boundaries for Water.
Degeneration or reduction cycle
The following the cycle is the elements degenerating or reduction cycle in which the cycle moves backwards. Water rusts metal. Metal breaks Earth. Earth puts out Fire. Fire burns wood. And Wood absorbs water.