Tai ChiTai chi informs most everything I do.  profound physiological change can't help but change one's psychological, emotional, mental, and spiritual processes.  Changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary, experienced over years of training.

For me, trading is all about self management.  It helps of course to have an edge, but I still find much bigger challenge and opportunity in controlling self,   keeping emotion to a minimum, removing ego, greed, and fear, staying in the moment — the often used sporting phrase "staying within yourself" –  this is where trading crosses into the spiritual, where awareness and intention are combined in equal measure.

The genius of the human organism when one has entered that rare space, the "zone," is remarkable and I daresay exceeds the genius of most trading programs.  it is the same, albeit elusive zone, one pursues whilst engaged in martial contests,  presuming nothing — yet expecting everything.   One responds to what is and not what one hopes or fears.  A state of "excited calm."

In tai chi, "listening" skills are the Holy Grail — discerning the opponent's intention before it manifests in a fist.  Yin — "soft" — is the ultimate defensive power.  Moments of actual conflict should be few and short.  Self-defense starts long before physical contact.  "At the slightest move, I move first," a credo providing security on the streets, i.e., choosing the right train seat, the right road, the right time of day, the right word and in the market, particularly recognizing a move before the move.

While the victories are sweet, the real story is in the trades I haven't done, the moments of stillness, waiting, listening for just the right conditions.  Training and preparation are much more intensive than any actual contest, making the actual contest a low stress exercise.  My active trading is greatly dwarfed by my time studying, watching — listening.





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1 Comment so far

  1. steve leslie on March 17, 2008 4:02 pm

    I applaud you, Sir, for you column. Profound and perspicacious. Two books that I find extremely helpful in this arena: Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams. This short book contains some of the most excellent insights and philosophy one will find anywhere. The reader will be introduced to Bruce Lee, Ed Parker, Yip Man and other great masters. More of a reference book. Dont be deceived, the book is but 133 pages long yet it has incredible meals for a lifetime. I suggest buying two — keep one and give one to a friend. You shall then have a friend for life. Zen and the Art of Poker by Larry Phillips transformed me from a good to an exceptional poker player. It contains 100 rules of poker but the same lessons can be applied to life and trading, in fact all aspects of life. I guarantee those who have basic understanding of poker will make fantastic gains almost immediately if they embrace but a few of the rules. Sjl S is for syllogistic


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