James Shaw has been a student of the Martial Arts for over twenty years. Combining the structural balance of Tai Chi, the energy work of Chi Gong, and the healing aspects of Laing Gong, James has created his unique "Tai Chi for the Equestrian". James first works with the rider on the ground to discover and change imbalances in the rider's body. Then, through mounted work, the rider is able to take this new understanding into the saddle and see dramatic changes in their connection with their horse. James' technique works for all types of riders. He has worked with professional and Olympic riders. He has presented successful clinics throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom. His first book is scheduled for release in the Spring of 2005.
See details of James's UK Tour 2004
Some testimonials for James Shaw and his Tai Chi for the Equestrian:
And Now for Something Completely Different:
Tai Chi Presents a Paradigm Shift for the Dressage Rider
I can't tell you how cool it was! I had an epiphany. My body fell into place just as James Shaw, the T'ai Chi instructor told me it would, and I was riding an awesome canter half-pass. Even better, as my body assimilated the information, I found that I had a plan for the next three months as to how to provide groundwork for this supple and willing little horse and his very talented rider.
I have had the honor and pleasure of riding in front of many wonderful and insightful riding instructors, both local and from the greater area. Consequently, I never expected that my next enlightenment would happen under the tutelage of a martial artist on a borrowed horse. However, I found that Jamie Shaw had plenty of brand new material to teach the group of nearly twenty of us that assembled for the NODA sponsored weekend seminar at the Andrews School. We started with ground exercises and explanation of theory with respect to Tai Chi. This is a soft style of Chinese martial art that focuses on slow and controlled movement using the internal muscles. Further, the art incorporates breath control and proper skeletal alignment to allow a minimum amount of effort to achieve the movement. The art avoids unnecessary tension in the external muscles, which can act to inhibit movement. The student works to develop harmony between mind, body and spirit to keep focus and energy flowing.
Shaw has studied and trained in the martial arts for over twenty years, the last ten of which have been focused on the internal arts. He uses these concepts and his ability to see balance and tension that he has so developed to help horseback riders improve their art. He has worked with numerous riders in the Southern California area, including Betsy Steiner. He also has established national clients in this area. While he begins his exercises on the ground, he is also adroit at teaching in the arena. He integrates the body mechanics that he initiates off horse to give the rider a unique vision of their riding. He is able to express the images in a way that are accessible to the rider and call forth the muscle memory that he has established on the ground. However, his lessons are fresh and thought provoking. He remarked to us "You are going to have a difficult time improving counterproductive riding habits by simply riding more. These habits are more easily changed by properly cross-training."
Beyond the benefits to our riding, which were evident for each of the students who was able to ride for him, he also addressed the long-term health benefits of eliminating energy blockages, of stretching, and of proper alignment. James has even developed a set of exercises to help alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome. He has clearly developed his message as it applies to the riding community, through his own riding (although he freely admits that this is not his area of mastery), through years of teaching, and through the development of a video and a book.
James was comfortable giving instruction to the broad variety of levels of riding that we presented to him. I heartily recommend his seminar to any rider as a supplement to their regular instructor and clinician.