What is commonly referred to as the Five Elements is better translated as the Five Phases, as they actually represent processes rather than actual physical objects. They are used throughout traditional Chinese science and medicine to describe actions that are taking place in areas from Astronomy to Zoology.
The Five phases are…
(金). Metal creates Water (水) and conquers Wood (木). Also referred to as Chop. 劈 Drill: Uses the fist to uppercut. It is associated with the element of water (水). Water creates Wood (木) and conquers Fire (火). 钻 Drive: Uses the vertical fist to punch. It is associated with the element of Wood (木). Wood creates Fire (火) and conquers Earth (土). Also referred to as Smashing. 崩 Cannon: Uses the vertical fist to punch towards the opposite foot, while the on-punching arm blocks the head. It is associated with the element of Fire (火). Fire creates Earth (土) and conquers Metal (金). Also referred to as Pounding. Crosscut: Uses the palm up fist to strike towards the opposite foot with the back of the knuckle. Its energy is somewhat similar to that of split (裂) in Taiji. It is associated with the element of Earth (土). Earth creates Metal (金) and conquers Water (水). Sometimes referred to as Wringing.
The basic introductory form, after learning each fist is the Five Phases Linked Form (五行连环拳). This form includes all five fists and the Cat climbs a tree movement, which issimilar to the dragon posture of the twelve animals.