Open Letter From Grandmaster Sam FS Chin

 

GM Sam Chin in Slovenia
“At the heart of the center lies the path.”
~GM Sam Chin

Dear I Liq Chuan Instructors, Students, and Disciples,

 
In this entry to 2016, as I am reflecting back on my journey, I want to thank you all for following me and trusting in my guidance. I am grateful to have such a supportive network of students working to deepen your understanding and always approaching my teaching with the greatest of respect. I am also grateful for all who have trusted and followed me in the early years before the formalization of the curriculum and who have changed with change.
 
I appreciate you all for seeking, recognizing, and valuing the cultivation aspects of I Liq Chuan, and I am proud to announce that it is time to truly distinguish the cultivation process of our art. This process will now be going by the name of Zhong Xin Dao (中心道).
 
During my time at the Chuang Yen Monastery I began to develop and better clarify the philosophy and the viewpoint which has driven forward my martial understanding, and which has now evolved to the point that I feel it is important to define and name.
 
I Liq Chuan has been transformed and completed because of the work I have done in looking into the heart of the process, my reflections on the neutral mind, the neutral touch, ultimately the neutral path. Those of you who have been following the curriculum and grading process that I have created for I Liq Chuan are already on the path of Zhong Xin Dao. With this new turning point, I am hoping to create more clarity around the philosophical aspects of your current training. A way to more fully embrace the cultivation aspects and see it as something that I have evolved and created since those early years in Chuang Yen Monastery, something I continue to evolve today.
 
People may ask, does a master still evolve? Of course, I must always be refining and deepening my understanding. This is what has happened more and more over the years. This is why everything continues to dissolve ever more into just one thing. What this means is that Zhong Xin Dao does not just apply to I Liq Chuan, but to all martial arts, and throughout life. This viewpoint for me transcends I Liq Chuan — We train martial arts for self defense, and to cultivate discipline and health. But ultimately, why do we train martial arts? The inherent nature of martial arts is that martial contact provides immediate feedback for training readiness and alertness. At the heart of that feedback, there is a dialogue, between your mind and your body, as well as you and your opponent. This mind-body dialogue is where the deeper cultivation begins.
 
As a young man, I first looked to my father for my martial training. Later in life, during the years of working at the Monastery, I was granted deeper insight into the mechanism of attention, eventually finding a viewpoint which was destined to transform my father’s I Liq Chuan. At first I continued to incorporate these insights and apply them to martial practice.
 
My father taught the approach of knowing yourself and knowing your opponent. During my time at the Monastery I realized that to look into the cause and effect one must understand the conditions. How can we talk about knowing yourself or knowing anything at all for that matter? In order to really know, you must ask yourself what is knowing, how can you know, and knowing from what reference? Only then can you have the right process for understanding the conditions.
Traditionally, high martial skills were carefully guarded, and passed only through direct contact and years of personal one-on-one guidance. Often only the eldest son, or a single chosen student was allowed access to the “Xin Fa” (心法), or Heart of the Knowledge of the art itself. This way masters ensured strong loyalty and support of their students. It was often not practical or possible for them to transmit this highest skill to a larger community without direct contact. For this reason, generally close ‘indoor’ disciples gained more than the wider community.
 
I hoped to change that, I wanted to share the highest skill without diluting or diminishing the quality of transmission. Devising a methodology for transmitting the deepest kinds of knowing took me nearly twenty years. I designed the curriculum of Chin Family I Liq Chuan with such high clarity that those students who do not always have direct access to me are still able to tap into the essence, because the essence is based on the very nature of nature.
Mastery is a product of cultivation and understanding the essence of things. In order to share with all my students the path to mastery, not just mastery of martial arts, but mastery itself, I am now introducing you to my process, … the process of Zhong Xin Dao.
 
Thank you all for spreading the art and for cultivating the neutral way. 
With Gratitude,
 
I Liq Chuan Gatekeeper / Lineage Holder
Zhong Xin Dao Founder
 
January 21, 2016

Kicking Ass

“We as martial artists, we should kick ass, so why do we want to train harmony and balance? Martial arts is not only for fighting. Chinese martial arts – Kung Fu, is about cultivation. Therefore it consists of health, martial, and mental / spiritual to understand ‘who you are’. In other words, to have balance and harmony to be HAPPY. You want to be a happy person. I’m a happy person versus I’m an angry person is different. If I’m a happy person, you are along with nature. Practically speaking, nature has no freedom. If you’re not with nature, you’re against nature. If you’re not with nature, it kicks your ass. That means you kick your own ass. So you train balance and harmony and you still can kick ass. You don’t want to train angry mental to kick ass.” – GM Sam F.S. Chin

How to create conditions and propel movement to your benefit

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnPir2zQSXU[/embedyt]

First you must know or have this…engagement.
That means you must be able to say there’s an engagement. Understand. It’s not that or like I drop, you drop. 3 point. (this, this, this). Yes? Because from here—this is because every POC has 3 points: yin, yang neutral (he demonstrates). But this one, you are inside (inside under 4 strategies) is to open, pass half line to strike. But now, I want to do a movement of closing, the same thing. Then energy must expand to the point to op, in order to go/to attack. You must understand the purpose is to attack. I open, open, pass half line and attack. But if I can say…I can attack…Then, if I go in, you have to close me; if you don’t close me you will get strike. This is just to see the conditions.

Paying Attention to Neutral to Gain Clarity – What is Neutral?

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjl075tRj1o[/embedyt]

(Lecture given at the National University of Ukraine “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”)

When we say that even now when I’m present, I still don’t know anything. 

What is lacking?

Practically everything comes down to attention. You see these two things, when I hang over here – the nature.  If my attention is not strong enough, I don’t have the clarity. The clarity over here is not ‘you think’. It’s because the nature speaks. So, the nature reveals. It’s as if something is mystical, actually it’s not.  Those who come for the workshop, there’ll be a training to understand that.

Because there’s no answer here, you will fall back to your past experience to get the answer to understand this. So you will always fall back to your past experience, that means you are using the past to judge the moment. Then this is call judging.

When we say clarity. What is clarity?  Clarity means you see the differences. Difference, that means you see the separation.  When there is separation, there’s a unity.  That why we say, “one” cannot unify. You need “two” to unify. But “two” needs “three”, what is the “three”?  “Three” is where that separate the two (point of separation). And also that combines the two (point of unification).  So, the “three” is the neutral.  So can you see when you approach or contact anything, can you see the neutral.  Only neutral will see things equally.  See things clearly.  If you see one side from another side, you are only guessing. 

Like on the mountain top.  If I climb here, you know there’s another slope but you don’t know how (it’s like).  That means you’re on this side trying to see the other side, you cannot.  Unless you’re on top. On top of the mountain is the neutral point that you see everything.

GM Sam FS Chin – October 2012 Lecture In Arizona (With Transcript)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egshan4r3mk[/embedyt]

Discourse of Master Sam Chin at Phoenix, Arizona, Workshop, October 2012

I just want you guys to bear in mind that as we learn, what is learning, the most important part that you should know under our system, because it’s based on the Zen and Tao that is with nature, is understand nature, that is understand the way that it is. You have to keep reminding yourself that there is nothing to learn because it’s already there. This is the first, first thing that you’ve got to understand. If you cannot understand, make it clear why it is such, why I keep on telling you there is nothing to learn. If you cannot understand here, you will be learning the wrong thing because everything is already there you could say. It’s just like this. That’s what makes everyone the same, everyone is equal. Understand it now? Because it’s already there. You don’t think you can create something? You understand that now? Because it’s already there. So you, me, everyone is the same, has the same thing; that’s what makes us equal. Alright? So, the only thing is that understanding here then you need to understand the way to learn, then you only have the right approach. Because nothing to learn, that means you cannot add anything, you cannot take away anything. Alright? And you can say that nothing belongs to you too, yes? Laughs You see? Because it’s there! But nothing belongs to you doesn’t mean that it’s nothing. That means nothing belongs to you but that it belongs to you, everything belongs to you too. You see?

It’s only a matter that you know how. If you know how, you can use whatever you want. If you don’t know how, you can’t even use it. Because even then you still cannot use it. Understand? You can say this is the main, main concept here; nothing to learn, everything is there. Alright? If you know, everything’s yours. If you don’t know, you can’t even use what? You can’t even use it. When everything is yours, you don’t carry it around. Why do you want to carry? Everything is yours already. Laughs So there’s nothing to fight for it. Why do you want to fight for it? Everything is yours. Who do you want to fight with? Huh? Everything is yours already. Who do you want to fight with now? Tell me. Yes? If you understand here, the beauty is here. Alright? So from here, then you start to say, okay, how to approach the learning. Try to recognize, to realize what is what. Alright? So apart from here, to be with, to be with, to understand this, because the nature itself is change. To understand that, because we have a lot of garbage within ourselves. We have built up a lot of garbage. So that’s why we want to go back to understand what is neutral; mentally neutral, physically neutral. Yes? The most common thing is that, because without neutral, if you are not neutral, you cannot change with change. Alright? Can you change without being netural? You cannot. Understand? So we learn to be mentally neutral, physically neutral. Now, then you look into neutral; of what quality is neutral, what quality has the neutral of the mind?

Some answers from audience: No preference, No judging, Peace, Happiness, Openness, Stillness. You see all this is neutral. Alright? You see all these qualities is the neutral quality. That means that you are flowing with present, flowing with present. That means when we say present, that means you are changing with change. When we say about maintaining presence it means you are changing with change. Maintaining is changing. You need to change to maintain. Alright? If you cannot change, you cannot maintain. Alright? So the present has all these qualities. So present. Neutral is that you should be happy. Yes? Because you are not judging. You are seeing things as it is. Then you can change, then you can keep up. So this is so very important here. Okay?

Question: We talk about everything changes but then we talk about some things that don’t change like neutral. 

Answer: Because neutral is change. Laughs Neutral itself is change. Because the change doesn’t change. The change is permanent. Understand? What is permanent? Change is permanent. You see? Understand now? 

Question: No, because awareness doesn’t change; it’s always there.

Answer: Awareness is change. It’s always there, but you keep up with the change. The reflection of awareness sees change, but the quality itself that you maintain over there, yes? That you maintain over there, because what you see all change. The process, alright?

Question: Unable to hear 

Answer: Awareness is the effect of what? Awareness is the effect of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the cause. Alright? So you’re mindful to aware. How do you maintain mindful? In the present moment. Present moment is what? Present is change. Yes?

Question: Unable to hear

Answer: The concept does not change, but to be with the principal you need to change. You see? You need to change to be with the principal. Then only you can balance and harmonize with it. Alright? When we talk about into action, into movement, in time and space, it’s different from the concept. Understand that now? In time and space everything changes. That’s why the poem; that’s why we wrote it. So now, in physical neutral we need to understand the six direction energy. Alright?

The space, physical is the space, the xyz has 6 direction energy. That means the 6 direction; that’s why the 6 direction energies are also the 3 dimensions. Usually we only talk about the 3, because the 3 dimensions contain the 6 energies. But I put back the 6 energies there, because sometimes students cannot see the 3 dimensions ?? energies. So with the 6 energies here, because of the xyz, understanding the center, balancing the up down, forward backward, left right, sometimes I call it the junction, sometimes I call it the neutral line, maintaining the neutral. That means when you’re on the junction, you can go all directions. Alright? So on point of contact have junction; on your body have junction. With the contact the spacing have junction. Because the junction is the neutral point that object and subject here have to cross. Alright? So, that is the spacing junction, but point of contact of a body junction that all this must be able to meet and match. The junction you can say is also 3 dimension spherical energy; it’s a cross in 3 dimensions. That’s why we say the 6 energy and 3 dimension is a neutral energy, is a fullness energy that can change. Understanding here then all other movement is only born correctly. Understand that now? To maintain. But through our curriculum we learn to recognize.

We go from stage 1 to stage 2 to stage 3 to stage 4 to stage 5. Each curriculum we learn different ?theory?. We go through all this learning block to learn through, to understand, to incorporate the 13 points. Now the 13 points is the reference point of unifying your body. The 5 mechanism is the unification of the movement. Now, when I say that now, when you come in contact, how you act, why you act, what is your reference point of act? What do you base on to act? 13 point is the reference point. Laughs You balance the 13 point to the point of contact. But the point of contact that to balance this 13 point to the point of contact you are using the cross, using the cross and center to match. But you must have the 13 points first. Then only to match with the cross, or the cross match where? Where to end? Understand that now? There’s 13 point over there. So the 10 10 starts with 13 points. There is the process of learning 10, there is the quality of 10; 10 10. The quality of the 10 is the ?subject? of the 13 point. So if you understand your 13 points good enough, there is unification in yourself that you keep on balancing, unify yourself with the action of five mechanism movement. Any movement has this five mechanism, but not necessarily is unified.

So when you move you must have this five unify mechanism with the 13 points. Okay? And then on point of contact, when you unify your opponent, you’ve got to have flow, fend, roll, and pivot. Alright? So and here we have four strategies to understand the cross, understanding this open and closing line where it changes. That’s why the four strategies comes from here. So this concepts, to understand this principal, this life that you’re training, you must really hang on to over there, so your precisement, so your movement is correct. If you cannot understand this; what is enough, what is not enough, what is too much. Without understanding this mechanism, the diagram of the mechanism of this line, you don’t know, you can’t understand. Not enough, or enough, or too much. The line of mechanism, the diagram. We have three diagrams; one yin yang diagram, 13 point diagram, and the mechanism of that movement of this line diagram. So you understand the yin yang diagram first; understand which one is yin which one is yang, then you understand the 13 points, then you understand the line of mechanism of this line. To understand the preciseness, the precision, is under these 3 diagrams.

All this you must understand that book and system guide is not just there for drawing. It has some purpose. Laughs Understand that now? So the training and the learning process you must focus enough to see this. Alright? So then we have 6 energy, 3 dimension, and physical as a base. Sometimes we call that the primordial energy or sometimes we call that internal power, because it is a spherical energy, it’s a core energy. Maintaining there then you have fullness, you have readiness; this readiness and fullness that you can change.

Transcribed by Theresa Phillips, Tucson, AZ

Understanding Physical Neutral

Often times, many people misunderstands that being a martial artist, one must be ‘aggressive’, rough, and tough in order to have the upper hand over your opponent. Quite the contrary, here, world renown martial artist, Master Sam Chin explains why you should focus your training on “neutral” instead.

In this video, Master Sam Chin talks about what exactly is “physical neutral” under the Zhong Xin Dao principles. It explains how understanding the neutral on touch helps you connect to your opponent center(s) and built a network that sends you all the information. Only on neutral, you’re open to receiving the most accurate details without the influence of your own judgement.

He also reveals how by being neutral helps you escape from being bound by timing and spacing, so you no longer need to concern about speed and being ‘faster’ than your opponent. There’s no speed faster than “you being already THERE”.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFUZ5qdqwRQ[/embedyt]

Transcription as follows:

So under the arts of ZXD/ ILC. The principle is on mental neutral and physical neutral.  Mindfulness, right mindfulness is the neutral attention and the physical center starts with one point.  A point is a center point. A center point, how do you classify as a center?  That means a center must have forward, backward, left, right, up down.  That means it’s 6 directions. At least 6 directions then there’ll be 3 dimensions.  So this is the neutral energy and also how to look into the space.   

ZXD is the approach teaching you to hold on neutral.  As Tao said, circle with center, everything adjust and fall in place to the center.  So it’s a bit tricky here. I can explain, Does anyone have beads.

Now, this is a center.  If I try to use this to adjust.  This is one side, this is another side.  I try to do this, to go to the center to adjust, to coordinate to go to the center. The ZXD (approach) is that, I hold the center.  Everything falls in place.  Understand? You see when I hold there, everything will go to there, will align. So in the training. Can we maintain and hold on the point? But you must be careful that the oint is also keep on changing, you must be able to flow to be with the point.  That means all movement will aligning to the point.  So this is one of the approach.  

In our principles, first we talk about circle with the center. Then center to center, then how you link the center. When there’s a link, there’s a tension to hold the link.  So the tension turns into one.  For instance, these 3 things. 3 points. This to this.  If you don’t link, then you drop this.  This will be with this.  Then this will turn into the past.  If I have this, this, this, linked, this turn into one present.  So we are holding onto that neutral.  So when we can hold, how many centers.  It creates a network. When I create a network, like a wireless network, for instance.

If your network is as big as this house, that means you connect there connect there.  If my network is the whole compound, that means my radar is bigger.  Like the table is my radar, your radar is only this.  That means anything inside here, you know.  Outside you don’t know. But outside is under my radar. So that means I know this will be going into your radar, into your space.  That means this is your future, so your future is under my present. So this is about timing and spacing.  If I’m there occupying all the time, I’m there all the time, there’s no more time and space.  So how can you be faster than me?

English Translations of 21-Form’s Chinese Movement Names… with Video!

For anyone interested, here’s my translation of the 21-Form Chinese name literal translations copied out from a Facebook post, so it’s easier to search for in the future. Again, if there are discrepancies to the video clip (http://youtu.be/KfD035mD3U0) from February 2014 Tucson Retreat of Mr. Teng Ruey Chen, the original namer of the movements in Chinese, describing the poetic names, please consider that as the more official version.

1. Commencing Form – Yin Yang Opening and Closing (Commencing Form) 陰陽開閤 Yin Yang Kai He
2. Left & Right Holding Ball – Auspicious Lion Playing with Ball 祥獅戲球 Zuo You Xi Qiu
3. Whirl & Hook – Waving at the Heaven and Wiping the Earth 揮天抹地 Hui Tian Mo Di
4. Pull & Push – Double Hook and Push Palms 雙鉤推掌 Shuang Gou Tui Zhang
5. Drag & Shoulder – Powerfully Uprooting Mountains and Rivers 力拔山河 Li Ba Shan He
6. Brush Knee & Push – Taming the Dragon and Releasing into the Depths 降龍放淵 Xiang Long Fang Yuan
7. Circle & Press – Brushing Off Dust and (Re)turning Body 抹塵還身 Mo Chen Huan Shen
8. Whirl, Turn & Push (Both Hands) – Dissolving Force for Advancing 化勢為進 Hua Shi Wei Jin
9. Turn, Tap, Fend & Push – Turning Body and Forward Push 轉身前擠 Zhuan Shen Qian Ji
10. Turn, Right Palm Strik – Five Thunders Bombarding the Crown 五雷轟頂 Wu Lei Hong Ding
11. Row Backward & Forward – Left and Right (Dragon) Playing with the Phoenix 左右戲鳳 Zuo You Xi Feng
12. Split Hands on Both Sides – Splitting Heaven and Earth Twice 二分天地 Er Fen Tian Di
13. Brush off, Press Down, Elbow Strike & Push – Brush, Press, Chop, Push (Spinning According to the Force) 掃、按、劈、推 (迴旋順勢) Sao, An, Pi, Tui (Hui Xuan Shun Shi)
14. Turning with Holding Ball (Horizontally) – Holding Ball and Turning Body 抱球轉體 Bao Qiu Zhuan Ti
15. Left & Right Kick – Left Right Seize and Kick 左右擒踢 Zuo You Qin Ti
16. Relax, Whirl, Fend and Push (1+3 times) – Chi Piercing and Unifying into One 氣貫合一 Qi Guan He Yi
17. Turn, Brush & Strike (Right & Left) – Returning Palms Encroaching the Palace 回掌逼宮 Zhang Bi Gong
18. Grab & Kick – Feeling for the Clouds and Kicking the Moon 摸雲踢月 Mo Yun Ti Yue
19. Dash Both Hands Push – Unifying Chi to Attack the Heart 合氣攻心 He Qi Gong Xin
20. Both Hands Lift – Raising the Great Cauldron and Returning to Emptiness 捧鼎歸虛 Peng Ding Gui Xu
21. Closing Form – Gathering Chi and Completing Exercise (Closing Form) 納炁圓功(收勢) Na Qi Yuan Gong (Shou Shi)

More detailed explanations for individual obscure items:
#2 – The “Auspicious Lion” can also be the “Lucky Lion”, in Chinese customs, lions are symbols of good fortune and omens.
#7 – Mr. Chen explained “Returning Body” really means after the dust is brushed off, the body is returned to its former pure self, or to neutral.
#11 – Mr. Chen mentioned the character “dragon” doesn’t appear in the Chinese movement name, but it’s implied because dragon is often paired with a phoenix to symbolize male and female or yang and yin, and in here represent the cooperation/coordination of both hands.
#16 – 气贯,”Chi Piercing” is not only through the body trunk, but to every part of the body and extremities.
#20 – We had discussions about the best word to represent “鼎“, and cauldron is chosen over tripod, but it’s mainly the visualization of lifting something wide and heavy that’s most important.

Translated by: Jeffrey Wong

Here is the companion video:
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfD035mD3U0[/embedyt]

Butterfly Form English Translation from Poetic Chinese Names

Here are the English translations for the Butterfly Form movements from the poetic Chinese names. Each line consists of original English name, Chinese poetic name, Chinese “Pin Yin” phonetic pronunciation, and literal translation. The whole point of this translation is to show the literal meaning of the Chinese names, to provide a contrast with the original English movement names.

1. Commencing Form 陰陽開閤 (Yin Yang Kai He) Yin Yang Opening and Closing
2. Double Hook 擺掌雙鈎 (Bai Zhang Shuang Gou) Wave Palms Double Hook
3. Wipe and Push 妙手勁推 (Miao Shou Jing Tui) Skillful Hands Powerful Push
4. Left & Right Pull 左右震拉 (Zuo You Zhen La) Left and Right Shocking Pull
5. Grab & Hook 擒虎困獅 (Qin Hu Kun Shi) Capture the Tiger and Trap the Lion
6. Split 分天裂地 (Fen Tian Lie Di) Parting the Heaven and Splitting the Earth
7. Trap & Strike 撂手擊中 (Lue Shou Ji Zhong) Trap Hand and Strike the Center
8. Tap, Roll, Punch Up & Down 掄拳反打 (Lun Quan Fan Da) Rolling Punch Reverse Strikes
9. Fend 義臂震掌 (Yi Bi Zhen Zhang) The Righteous Arm Shocking Palm
10. Turn, Double Strike Right & Left 旋天蓋掌 (Xuan Tian Gai Zhang) Spinning Heaven Covering Palm
11. Drag & Throw Left & Right 左右威撼 (Zuo You Wei Han) Left and Right Shock & Awe
12. Grinding Hand 放龍回淵 (Fang Long Hui Yuan) Release the Dragon Back to the Abyss
13. Wave & Push 揮掌攻心 (Hui Zhang Gong Xin) Wave Palm & Attack the Heart
14. Turn, Shoulder & Hip Push Left & Right 迴旋推山 (Hui Xuan Tui Shan) Whirl and Rotate to Push Mountains
15. Threading Hands Right & Left 扭轉乾坤 (Liu Zhuan Qian Kun) Reverse the Rotation of Universe
16. Wipe and Push 划掌合推 (Hua Zhang He Tui) Wipe Palms and Combine Push
17. Project Down, Grab & Kick 震下擒踢 (Zhen Xia Qin Ti) Shock Below, Grab and Kick
18. Forward Double Strike 進逼轟掌 (Jin Bi Hong Zhang) Advance and Bombard with Palms
19. Shovel Left and Right 左右開攻 (Zuo You Kai Gong) Mounting Attacks from Left and Right
20. Fend 義臂震掌 (Yi Bi Zhen Zhang) The Righteous Arm Shocking Palm
21. Closing Form 納炁圓功 (Na Qi Yuan Gong) Collect Energy and Complete Exercise

Thanks to Scott Savitt & Lipyeow Lim for correction suggestions and reviews.

Translated by: Jeffrey Wong