Just a little more thought on the Taoist (Daoist) Motions, commonly called Elements for use as saving throw types for Flying Swordsmen.
Wood (Yang) - Generative: strength, flexibility, cooperation, growth, life
Fire (Yang) - Expansive: dynamism, persistence, heat, agression
Earth (balance) - Stabilizing: stability, conservation, empathy, harmony
Metal (Yin) - Contracting: rigidity, control, materialism, transformation
Water (Yin) - Conserving: stillness, intelligence, softness, fear/calm
So how to best use this in an RPG context, specifically a D&D-based context? First was deciding which element to replace each traditional save category. That was fairly easy.
Death/Poison/Paralysis is now Wood. Your vitality/life force counteracts these negative forces.
Magic Wands is now Water. This one ended up actually by default, but since there aren't magic wands in the game, there wasn't really anything for this save to do, besides 'unofficial uses' like saves vs. traps and stuff. And in that context, your stillness/calm can save you from getting decapitated by the spinning blades or from plunging feet first into a pit trap, so it sorta makes sense.
Petrification/Polymorph is now Metal. Your affinity for Metal prevents you from being transformed to another shape/substance against your will.
Dragon Breath is now Fire. Your dynamic nature and persistence allow you to avoid or resist area attacks and heat (and come on, despite there being 5 basic types of dragon breath, don't we usually imagine a fiery blast of dragon breath by default? I know I do.)
Spells is now Earth. Your stability and harmony with nature, not to mention balance of Yin/Yang, becomes the default save vs. magic without any type, and against many unusual monster attacks.
How they work in play:
First of all, if a spell has an element type listed, use that element to save. Second, all spells are labeled as Yin, Yang, or Chi. If there's no element to override Yin/Yang association, use the better Yin or Yang value for your class. Chi spells only have one save to use, Earth.
Now to tinker with the numbers for the classes. Traditionally, every class in D&D is best at saving against Death/Poison, and worst against either Spells or Dragon Breath. That will be changed. I'm currently thinking about which element to assign as best to each of the 4 classes. Here's the best I've got so far:
Fighter: strongest in Wood. High hit points, lots of vitality and strength.
Wizard: strongest in Metal. Control and transformation being the key points of magic, this seems to fit to me.
Shaman: strongest in Water. Stillness and conservation seem to fit the image of the Shaman/Cleric.
Thief: strongest in Fire. The image of the Thief is one of action and motion contrasted with patience and perseverance.
I may also consider using Earth for the Shaman and then Water for the Wizard, but I kinda like the idea of keeping Earth as the default "everyone sucks at this, and any attack that doesn't fall into another category goes here" save, like traditional Save vs. Spells. So I'm probably going to go with the above.
Now, the final question I'll have to decide. Once the 'best' save is set, do I order the other saves by the generative motion (circle in the image above) or the opposition motion (star in the image above)?