Ma Jia, 馬家 the Horse Family like many other families that trained martial arts used nature as inspiration. The use of animals as inspiration for martial movements makes sense in many ways. From the lack of cognition about consequences from society in combat, to the one-pointed focus on the present moment, and the need to combat only for survival be it hunting for food or preserving ones own life. The natural movements of animals are filled with nothing extraneous. Everything is simple, purposeful and raw. It is we as human beings trying to learn combative movements that put a great of unnatural tension, speculation, and worry into our own movements. We must not endeavor to imitate the way animals move, but WHY they move that way. This is the seemingly lost in translation principle behind traditional animal movements and shapes.
My Two Cents.