The Yang Style Short Form as taught by Professor Chen man’ching to his students in New York in the 60s is based on Five Principles of Natural Movement. These principles are unique to his way of teaching and are at the heart of what we study.  Without these principles, we would have no understanding of what it is we are trying to achieve with practice and no way of cultivating the benefits of T’ai Chi Ch’uan within our body/mind/spirit. We had to memorize them and they had to fly out of our mouth quickly and without hesitation. Jane and Bataan Faigao made sure we knew them, why they were/are important and how to study them while practicing T’ai Chi. The thread of T’ai Chi is woven into the spirit of all my work be it teaching T’ai Chi Ch’uan, doing bodywork, riding horses or making a painting. Over the many years of practice those principles have held me steady without a moments lapse.

1. Relax

2. Keep your body upright

3. Separate empty from full

4. Move from your center (tan tien)

5. Keep soft hands

In the posts to come we can explore them together and I will give you ideas how to practice these principles while playing with your horse.  I believe that if you contemplate these principles you will find them not so mysterious, esoteric or from another planet. I hope you find them kind of growing on you.