Understanding the Approach


Selected points about excerpted from GM Sam Chin (and instructor Yen Chin’s) online session:
Spinning Hands – Part 10
Sat. Sept. 25, 2021 

If you cannot see down to the base of origin, your actions will not be flowing enough. Because everything for the Mechanism of movement is based on Absorb Project, Condense Expand, and Open close and under the three planes with Concave and Convex–this is the is 5 Mechanisms that we have been talking about in movement. But with that movement, with all this movement, they come from ONE point; they all come back down to one point of rotation or one point on the pivot point: the pivot point and the rotations. So, with one point we must be able to see 1, 2, 3. That means on one point you must able clearly see the reference: the center reference and the Yin and Yang–the interchange of Yin Yang. So, the change of Yin Yang you can say is Open Close from the rotation So, when we say “rotation”, it’s what? It’s clockwise or counterclockwise. From clockwise or counterclockwise then you can say that from Yang to Yin or Yin to Yang, with that rotation. With clockwise counterclockwise we also could be saying open close right? So, movement is all about Open Close. Within open close you can produce what?–pull push, absorb project, condense expand, concave convex. All these move through the space of 3 dimensions with the 6 directions. This is the format that the students must obey with. They follow this progressions from one point of rotation to see that separation and unification. So, if you can bring your attention down to that one point to see Open Close from the rotations, and understanding the change here from Yin to Yang or Yang to YIn or Open to Close, Close to Open, Condense to Expand, Expand to Condense, or Absorb to Project, Project to Absorb or Concave to Convex, Convex to Concave. 

So, WITHIN this change we have been covering that EVERY time there is changing from one side to another side, and because of the different energy, how at the change in the center there must be a Loop. In training the Basic Exercises, we say when you Project, you must Expand to Absorb. From Absorb to Project then we must Condense to Expand–so there is a loop. From the beginning, we have been training all these basic concepts, the Foundations: of going through vertical line, horizontal line, and also the sagittal line, right? Horizontal, vertical, sagittal–the 3 dimensions of changing. You can see is from forward to backward, up to down, down to up, or left to right, or right to left. That PROCESSS, from one side to another site is always our Loop: that means for Open to Close or Close to Open. That is the WINDING energy –some would say that is a “grinding” energy to release. That you grind to wind or grind to release–sometimes we use the words of a “loop” or a “spike.”  All movement is based on this and fajin, which is releasing power, must come from here also! That means to be able to release in this way, you are releasing ALL the unifications, from section to section.  You LINK all the sections and with that Open Close with Winding, and release the power. So, in action, the movement is the same, and the only thing that is different is now, when releasing power, there is more of we talk about in our System as Loose, Soft, Elastic–that kind of pressure–of how you are pressurizing and releasing. Apart from here, all movement must obey the macro-cosmic energy flow. 

In our System, we talk about Structure, Relaxation and Energy—that all movement must obey the macro-cosmic energy flow. When we talk about macrocosmic energy flow that means all Yin to dantian and all Yang to Ming men to complete the cycle. If you obey that flow, you observe it always goes through from dantien (from the fingertip to dantien for the Yin) and for the Yang from the ming-men it goes to the fingernails and the toenails–that macro cosmic energy flow. So for all that movement, do you clearly see the flow WITHIN this action? If you cannot, you need to adjust this flow as only then is your action appropriate. 

See all movements down to this level of awareness. I’ve been trying for all this long period of time to guide students to SEE (feel) the fundamental things. The fundamentals work in 3 Processes: first we say, understand the foundation. Then, with the foundation, there is a movement that you can use to try to understand the applications — how to use it. Then, with these two, the last step is that you need to condition it. Normally, we put it like this:  first we train under the foundations, we have applications, and then when you work more on it turns into some kind of “jin”–a kind of being purified or you have been transforming the energy into more kind of Chinese call it ‘jin’ but it’s more like it’s been “cultivated”–the movement has been cultivated and made clear and conscious about it. So you’re able to be conscious about it. And you are able to coordinate and harmonize it, so that you can work with attention–that means YI, CHI, and LI. The Yi and Chi and Li as One.


If you know how to fajin, I don’t care, if your fajin isn’t according to these principles.  You must work with these principles until your understanding gets down to the base of origin and is very simple. Then, in just one move here, you can fajin already, because it’s just open and close. Right? It’s nothing much. It’s not that it has any special kind of movement. It is only the rotation and open close! You must be able to produce the power in this way. If you cannot do that, Ah, then what’s the point—if when it comes to at point of contact, you cannot do it in one instant? When you want to do it, it is too late already. You must be able to do it on initial touch! 



The center will tell you what to do because when you hold the center, you cannot leave the center. Once you leave the center, if your actions leave the center that means your action is wrong. So the connection is very important — that’s why you must able to hold the connections. The connections is where the balance point is — that tells you are you moving correctly or moving wrongly. If you’re moving correctly, that means you’re holding that center to wind or to move. If you’re moving away from that center that means it’s wrong or you are using too much force on the center, but if something is not happening so you could do something, that means it’s still wrong because you are not balancing the point .That means your conscious attention of the balance point must be must be clear – can you see: is your attention there or not? Later on, it all comes down to feeling connections to the balance point, no other thing. Who is going to tell what is right, what is wrong, what is too much or what’s too little? It’s all based on connection and balance point. Are you holding it or are you leaving the point? We keep on saying that you always hold on to your center to  do the yin and do the yang, but at the same time you’re also holding opponent’s center to see which direction to do  the movement —-because the center is the reference point of seeing the difference. If you cannot connect it, then you will not be able to see the reference and you cannot use that as a reference to see the difference. Then you will be guessing how to do it based on your habit or based on your past experience, If I can hold on, then I just need to hold on to see the difference; this is where the power of the moment is.

This is the top secrets–it’s simple but it’s not easy. Because if your attention is not there you cannot do it and it comes down to why it that your attention is not there?  Are you trustworthy enough or are you trustworthy and honest enough to yourself and to others? If you’re not honest enough, there’s too many problems within your mind, too many thoughts that come to disturb you, then concentration cannot be there.  That’s why we always talk the precepts: we talk about to be to trustworthy first; to be honest enough to yourself first. If you try to play, fool around, try to cheat, you’ll i never ever reach that level. No one blocks you; it’s only a matter of you blocking yourself because tall different views will come up. Where does the view come from? It’s all your thoughts –that view comes out– to block you.  That means you cannot have a direct connection and experiential feel, because you can’t even hold there for a split second. If you can’t hold there for a split second, how can you observe the moment? If you cannot observe the moment you cannot see the difference. This is what our Zhong Xin Dao is about. That’s what the skill is about. That’s why I say that I’m not afraid of teaching you — are you are right person or not? Are you a grateful person? ARE YOU honest within yourself or with everyone, you see? If you cannot, sorry.  It’s not that someone blocking you; it’s you yourself that blocks yourself. That’s why we talk about training this art is not about just training how to defend yourself. It’s training on how to better yourself to understand yourself and your surroundings. It is also geared towards the cultivations.

Butterfly Form Puzzle

Please note: The crossword numbers do not correspond to the official order of the movements.

3. _____ Left & Right
6. Drag & _____ Left & Right
8. Tap Row _____ Up & Down
10. “Movement #9”
11. Left & Right _____    
12. _____ & Push    
14. _____ Double Strike    
15. _____ Hand    
16. _____ & Push    
17. Double _____    
18. _____ & Hook    
19. _____ & Strike

1. “Movement #6”    
2. _____ Form    
4. _____ Hand Right & Left    
5. Turn _____ Strike Right & Left    
7. _____ & Push    
9. _____ Form    
10. “Movement #20”    
13. _____ Down Grab & Kick    
17. Turn Shoulder & _____ Push Left & Right


Events and Members Around the World

Content from:


In Motion Center in association with Taijiquan Tutelage of Palo Alto is pleased to announce that Grand Master Sam F. S. Chin is coming to the SF Bay Area.

4 Day Workshop Series
November 5 – 8th, 2021

“The Fastest most Direct Way to the Tao that I Know” in Grand-master Sam F. S. Chin’s observations. [Details here…]


Congratulations to our latest group of graduates in Italy! Launched in September 2020, our Instructor Training Project in Italy was born in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the course of the lockdown, this intrepid group has persevered through restrictions, closures, and cancellations. They have successfully completed their first examinations!

Italy Group

Our Instructor Training Project in Rome continues. You are invited to join them for the first of a series of Level 2 Intensives beginning on November 6-7, 2021 in Rome! Contact joshua.craig@iliqchuan.com for more info. 

Saturday November 6
Basic Exercise #11: Concave-Convex
Sunday November 7
Basic Exercise #12: Hip Roll

Below is the schedule for our 2022 trainings in Rome!

  • January 22-23
  • March 19-20
  • April 30-May 1
  • July 8-9-10-11
  • September 24-25
  • November 12-13
On September 11-12, 2021, the Martial Art of Awareness participated at the second IMAD (International Martial Arts Day) celebration in Rome. We were represented by Italian Instructor Alberto Benedusi, who introduced participants to the 21 Form and set the stage for a new Student Level Project in Rome.

We want to thank the UIKT (Unione Italiana Kung Fu Tradizionale) and all of the project participants for their friendship and support!

The next IMAD in Rome will be on June 4-5, 2022!



Instructor Licencing Certification Program
On September 11th and 12th, our first group of instructor candidates in Germany gathered for a two-day course in Darmstadt! Led by Instructor Joshua Craig, this weekend program was an in-depth look at both the grading criteria and how to lead students through Basic Exercises 1-5 and Basic Exercises 6-10, along with common questions. The weekend was both intense and rewarding. Congratulations to all of the participants for taking the first steps to becoming Licensed Instructor.

Stay tuned as we will soon be announcing new Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan Study Groups and Schools in Germany.

On November 13-14 Instructor Joshua Craig will be leading a workshop at Instructor’s Frederik Wahl’s school in Hamburg, and everyone is welcome!

To be notified about future workshop dates in Germany, please contact our Regional Office. (info@kampfkunstderachtsamkeit.de).


At the Russian summer camp on August 16-29 at the North Kunsangar retreat center, the first Russian experimental all-around I Liq Chuan competition took place, which included competitions in pushing hands, 21 form and an interesting competition that allows you to show concentration skills. The winners of the competition were given unique, specially created prizes from the school. The event was organized by Grandmaster Alexander Skalozub, and instructors: Dmitry Trofimov, Marina Gubnitskaya, Andrey Araslanov and Natalia Kozlova.

The winners of the all-around were Maxim Novikov (instructors Alexander Skalozub, Daria Sergeeva),  Sergey Kham (instructor Daria Sergeeva), Mikhail Lushnikov (instructor Ekaterina Shestakova)

Gradings were also conducted, congratulations to those who passed!

Level 5 – Ekaterina Balitskaya (instructor Marina Gubnitskaya)
Level 7 – Viktor Bashkeev (instructor Alexander Skalozub)
Level 8 – Andrey Araslanov (instructor Alexander Skalozub)
1 instructor level – Mikhail Obukhov (instructor Marina Gubnitskaya)



Join us every Saturday for an hour virtual interactive training. We progress along in the ZXD / ILC curriculum following the System Guide. This is a complimentary benefit to all current members. Sessions are conducted in English. If you are a current member and not receiving the log in details, please contact us with your name and member ID at: admin@iliqchuan.com

Embodying the Viewpoint


By Lan Tran (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: student level 4, instructor level 1)

In the 7 years that I have been training in the Martial Art of Awareness, I am only now coming around to understanding the process of change, and what GM Sam Chin means when he describes the Approach to the philosophy, concepts, and principles as seeing what the means “To change with the changes in order not to change.”  In 2014, I met GM Sam Chin right when I was about to quit training in the martial arts altogether.  I reluctantly went to a workshop he was holding in Boston, mostly at the suggestion of others, and I didn’t have high hopes.  In my view at the time, I figured the event was just going to be another internal arts master who was going to waste my time and have me wave my arms around for a day.  I showed up at the workshop and sat down on the ground to GM Sam Chin’s opening talk. This talk was almost two hours long but by about 3 sentences in, I was hooked.  

As GM Sam Chin talked about his approach, I was thinking to myself, this is fascinating.  He was explaining how the system was based in Zen and Taoism, and how one should approach training.  Once the talk was done and we took a short break, Sifu came up to me and asked me to show him what I know.  On the touch, my world crumbled like a house of cards.  It was probably the biggest lesson in humility that was ever dished out to me in my life.  In that moment, I realized there was no skill in my skills.  I was frozen in space with nowhere to go.  As excited as I was to learn this art, I was also discouraged because if it took me 40+ years to have “no skill”, I couldn’t even imagine how long it would take to acquire a modicum of real skill. The cost-sunk bias I confronted was real: could I “give up” the four decades of training and start over again?

Being a long time martial arts instructor, the way I learn best is when I am teaching.  I enjoyed taking a concept and conveying it to students in my own words.  Teaching, in a way, was my way of validating to myself if I got the information across.  Having signed up at that Boston 2014 workshop to be a ZXD life-time member, I thought I could take the “fast track” to Instructor level 1, imagining “once I get to that level, I’ll know what I’m doing. “ Well, I had no idea how deep this rabbit hole went—and clearly hadn’t yet grasped Sifu’s process of learning how to learn, much less learning how to teach this ‘learning how to learn!’  

Certain aspects of the training, even in the first three levels, do impart real usable skill, a reality which even stumped me more.  How was it that even with the newfound skills, my senior brothers and sisters shut me down with a level of effortlessness I couldn’t fathom, much less figure out? What was I doing or not doing?!  My confusion—or lack of mental clarity—got to the point about 2 years ago that I didn’t even know what I was doing anymore.  I couldn’t figure out why my “skills” were so intermittent.  It couldn’t be my coordination, I reasoned, so I was again lost. That low point, in retrospect, was the beginning of a turning point. 

Of course, all this time, GM Sam Chin had been consistent with his message, constant in delivering his viewpoint in that direct, neutral manner that IS the embodiment of his entire Approach,. And he remained unwavering in his willingness to share his art by guiding students to see things for themselves.  In all honesty, though, it has only been in the past 2 or 3 weeks, that I can say I have begun to understand Sifu’s approach TO the approach. Over the course of 7 years, it has been a revolving cycle of me letting go of my current mental constructs, letting go of my identity, realizing my ego, and facing myself on a deep psychological level. I came to realize that I couldn’t just “understand” the viewpoint intellectually and still run the viewpoint through my own filter (which I HAD been doing). After all, the resulting effect of me having done that was that I was still seeing Sifu’s viewpoint through my own filters—in essence, I was changing the viewpoint to MY viewpoint. Although I heard Sifu repeatedly tell me “it’s all about attention, it’s all about constantly balancing,” and him patiently asking me, “Where are you placing your attention?”  I realized I had to embody the principles. I had to change my approach.  I had to change my understanding of the viewpoint—and how I go about in the world, how I see things, how I process information, how I related to other people, how I understand change. All these transformations have had to come through the Zhong Xin Dao viewpoint. Only now could I embrace dropping my viewpoint to really step fully into my role as an instructor of the system — to spread Sifu’s message in the way he needs it conveyed. Otherwise I would be stuck in still just ‘teaching my thing.’ 

It’s not surprising that I have had to change my approach to teaching in my regular weekly ZXD classes with my students so that I could model the viewpoint by giving instructions through the viewpoint. In this more aligned way, what my students see is TRULY about the viewpoint—guiding them to observe for themselves where (and how) they are placing their attention.  

My 30 years of teaching had been getting in my own way—so much so that I couldn’t even see I was going off on a tangent. And my own ego, and my own pride, of my past way of teaching didn’t allow me to ‘let go’ to embrace Sifu’s approach to how to give neutral instructions, or be a ‘finger pointing to the moon’ in a way that effectively guides students to their own learning.  I realized once I embody the viewpoint, Sifu’s approach manifests a quality of simplicity. That elegance has brought a smile to my face and renewed enthusiasm for teaching.  I’ve taught 3 classes so far maintaining this approach, and can witness the students immediately recognizing for themselves the meaning of “The Neutral Touch”.  I am so grateful for Grandmaster’s constant instruction, and for the instructors, too, working so diligently, to uphold the family’s system of cultivation. In this art, the direct experience truly does produce direct results.  



Sifu Anael-bey and Sifu McKillip pay visits to GM Chin


Sifu Sharif Anael-bey, GM Chin, Hsin Chin, Sifu Aaron McKillip

Today the Chin family welcomed Sifu Sharif Anael-Bey of Yee’s Hung Ga International Kung Fu Association and Sifu Aaron McKillip of Lee’s Summit Academy of Martial Arts to Queens NY! Both Sifus traveled great distance specifically to meet with GM Chin.  After a hearty Cantonese dim-sum breakfast together, GM Chin and his wife Kooi welcomed them back to their home to continue an exchange of philosophies and stories. While sipping tea around the kitchen table and talking about the art of Zhong Xin Dao / I Liq Chuan, Sifu Sharif referenced our system as “The Ghost in the Machine” by Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle to describe the Cartesian dualist account of the mind–body relationship, while Sifu Aaron added that this was the “thing” that he was searching for and wasn’t present in other arts he encountered.  Both Sifu’s were enthusiastic about learning more about the system, and how they could use this system as a tool in order to help further optimize their own practices.  Sifu Sharif is looking to establish a stronger relationship moving forward with our organization.

GM Chin illustrates the concept of meeting the contact point and establishing defense.

Recognizing Continuous Movement

“Knowing the present is flowing and
balancing with the moment”

~Grandmaster Sam FS Chin

click to tweet

What does it mean to be living in the moment? What and when is the moment?  How to recognize it while in action?

What does it mean to be in the moment? What and when is the moment? Here we use Martial Art of Awareness and our body as a tool to help us recognize the break down of movements as well as the continuity of moment to moment which translate to our daily action.

One continuity must have 1, 2, 3: the principle always begins in 1 – 2 – 3. That means with two (2) there’s a separation. Because the continuity is about one-to-another [the ‘3’].  If there’s one alone, there’s no continuity because there’s always one in relation to another: that means there’s a separation. When there’s a separation, how do you make it as One , as a unification, to make it continuous [the ‘3’]?

This continuity means it’s linking and connecting, so you can generate power or are able to generate connections from which you can listen. You need a connection in order to listen: you must have  a line that must be clear that unifies to connect to be able to get the right information. Understanding here, everything is based on yin and yang. It’s always yin yang, yin yang, yin yang!  Because the continuity is about yin to yang and then yang back to yin. Then yang back to yin…All the yin yang, yin yang here has separation, so then you must see how to unify it.  In between the yin and yang is the separation and also is where the neutral is. It’s also the balance point in order to unify it.

On this balance point to unify it here, we have the exercises of ‘looping’, ‘spiking’, or ‘wiping’ to change. Like we Project to Expand to absorb (because projecting/expanding is yang). Then you have to Expand to loop to Absorb: that means to connect the yin to come back. So it’s always yin yang. Like Open Close, Absorb and Project. Absorb to the Neutral then you make a loop to Project. The loop we sometimes talk about as the infinite—the infinite circles. The infinite circle of rotation.

GM demonstrates this principle in action: with arm out, so we can observe the difference from shoulder-elbow-wrist.

Like the yang— if we rotate like this [demonstrates] it is rotating with yin.  Then this is rotating with yang. Rotate with yin, rotate with yang. But if just rotate like this [does it incorrectly, without conscious attention], then the unification is not strong.

See when I yin rotate here:  [demonstrates properly] then I CONDENSE to the center and expand to the yang [draws yin so fingers circle in toward the palm] to the center and EXPAND from the yang and rotate and come back to the middle. The yang expands and comes back. You see a Figure 8.  [Stretches yang tissue out to their fingertips].

So this yin yang changes and in between there’s a loop that ties, that connects. This principle APPLIES TO EVERYWHERE on change. It applies on everywhere where the movement changes from yin to yang or front to back. For example: [GM demonstrates]: from front: absorb to dan tien, make a loop to the back. Then from the back (ming-men), expand the loop from back to go to the front.   Up and down is the same. Up (the top) is yin; going down is yang. When you go down, from the ming-men it’s yang, so there’s a loop. Every movement tis based on the continuity of these principles. So just go back to the principle of 1, 2, 3.

Get access to the full hour video through our Subscription Video Library!  

Events & Members Around the World


September 4-5, 2021  
Level 1 Grading Workshop in Rome  |  12-hour workshop
This weekend! This workshop will provide a thorough review, highlighting the grading criteria and relevant philosophy for each exercise, followed by your grading. This workshop is also ideal for existing Study Group Leaders and Instructors who wish to become more clear on the exam criteria, the examination process, and student evaluation. At the end of this workshop, each participant will leave with specific feedback so that they may take their home practice to the next level!

September 11-12, 2021
IMAD – International Martial Arts Day event in Rome!
This celebration of martial culture is organized by the UIKT Italian Union of Traditional Kung Fu! The Martial Art of Awareness will be joining Masters and Instructors from over 20 styles, and you will have the opportunity to sample a variety of workshops – including our Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan!


On August 9-15 the 7th Martial Art of Awareness intensive training and grading in Poland was lead by instructor Dima Siomov. Together they trained worked on structure and relaxation in ZXD ILC basic solo and partner exercises.

Register for the next intensive training here coming this Autumn:  https://zxd.com.pl/trening-intensywny-w-wiznie-listopad-2021/

Congratulations to the following students on their successful grading!
Agata Łobacz: student level 3
Edyta Pachowiak: student level 3
Marcin Poćwiardowski: student level 3



On 14 August in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, another grading session took place, and Marta Khaidarova was successfully graded for student level 2, Ruslan Turgambaev for student level 1!  Instructor – Gadilbek Mursaliev. Another milestone on the road! 

The event was followed by a traditional tea drinking ceremony!



September 11-12 2021
Preparation for Study Group Leader Level 1 in Darmstadt Germany
12-hour workshop

This special workshop is for students who have graded Level 2+ and who wish to open a Study Group in their area! Topics will include:
• The Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan training process
• The role of the Study Group Leader and of the Instructor
• How to lead students through each exercise
• How to assess and adjust students in each exercise
• Understanding the basic function and application of each exercise
• Review the essential grading criteria for Basic Exercises 1-10


On the last weekend in August, Instructor Lubo Tzolov conducted a workshop in Berlin. Amongst the participants, we welcome new member Ortwin Pötter and his “Chinese Close Combat – Academy” students from throughout Germany. Ortwin shared that his Ba Ji Quan’s Sifu – Adam Hsu encouraged them to learn other styles and Ortwin found Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan.

We are delighted that everyone were able to share and train in person. Two ZXD ILC students from Hamburg also traveled specially to be there.

The advanced level and understanding of martial arts and body mechanisms was of great benefit to the participants in realizing the benefits of the ZXD ILC curriculum. Ortwin also successfully completed the grading for level 2, and instructor Lubo Tzolov had the honor of presenting him his sash.

All participants were very happy and satisfied with this opportunity to broaden their horizons. It was the first but definitely not the last Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan workshop in Berlin.


Online Session for Members

Join us every Saturday for an hour interactive training. We progress along in the ZXD / ILC curriculum following the System Guide. This is a complimentary benefit to all current members. Sessions are conducted in English. If you are a current member and not receiving the log in details, please contact us with your name and member ID at: admin@iliqchuan.com

Fun Trivia

Mind Bender (Answer)

Kudos to Gage Reichard, 12 year-old son of instructor Steve Reichard from Allentown, Pennsylvania for being the first person reporting back with the correct answer for this puzzle that was introduced in our last newsletter!

For the experienced riddle solvers, you may already have noticed this is inspired by the “Einstein’s Riddle”, or also known as the “Zebra Puzzle”, and the clues are basically similar. 

For those who are seeing this type of puzzles for the first time, applying our Zhong Xin Dao principles can be helpful: Observe carefully that each clue listed had a paired relationship, and the relationship can be on the same axes (columns/rows), or cross-dimensional (diagonal cells), in line with our three-dimensions / six-directions in the training processes.  Also keep in mind what GM Chin mentioned about the “1-2-3” concept: “One cannot be unified.  You need two to unify: Yin and Yang. In order to unify two, you need a third: Neutral. Neutral is the mediator to harmonize or separate Yin and Yang. That is complementary.” Applying that here, each set of relationships is linked with another pair, then another pair, until you can deduce and link up all the cells to get the complete picture.  If the clues were written as “There is a yellow cabin.  There is a Jasmine tea drinker… etc.”, they would not be useful at all to solve this puzzle.  By observing the relationships closely, you can logically arrive at the following result:


Dragon’s Well

Tie Guan Yin


Pu Er

Wu Long






















However, this is a slightly simpler puzzle than the originals, due to the relationship mentioned that each person has a key to the book box of another person, which can help minimize a step or more depending on the order of your logical approach.

Finally, Jeff was able to unlock the five books, and found — nothing inside.  There was never any secret in Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan! There is nothing to learn, and therefore, no secrets to hide!  By maintaining the correct point reference, you will know the correct actions.


Title: 21 Form


4. _____ & Push    
5. _____ Form    
7. _____ Backward & Forward    
8. Brush off Press Down _____ & Push    
10. Left & _____ Holding Ball    
18. _____ & Press    
19. _____ Both Hands Push    
20. _____ Form    
21. Both Hand _____


1. Turn Right _____ Strike    
2. _____ & Push    
3. Brush _____ & Push    
6. _____ & Kick    
9. Relax _____ Fend and Push    
11. _____ with Holding Ball    
12. Left & Right _____    
13. _____ & Shoulder    
14. Turn _____ & Strike (Right & Left)    
15. Turn Tap _____ & Push    
16. _____ & Hook    
17. _____ Hands on Both Sides

Answer to last month’s puzzle HERE:

Reflections on Balancing and Beginning Again

Prof. Kung Yang Lin with Prof. Grandmaster Sam Chin
Prof. Kung Yang Lin with Prof. Grandmaster Sam Chin
Prof. Kun-Yang Lin, Dance Professor at Temple University with Prof. Grandmaster Sam Chin of Martial Arts of Awareness.

Reflections on Balancing and Beginning Again:
Participants New to the Art Offer Insights into the Philadelphia Workshop Experience

It has been a long year of lockdown and people from along the Eastern coast of the US – from upstate New York, New Jersey, across Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina and Florida–were excited about coming back to the first in-person, post-Covid workshop, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) on 24 July 2021. Out of concern for our community members’ health and well-being, the workshop required participants to be fully vaccinated.  

In addition to 25 regular members, the workshop welcomed 8 first-timers to the art! Of these, four have already signed up as new members in our Philadelphia-based Martial Art of Awareness ZXD/ILC group!  

Attendees also included students who have come through the Academic Approach. While Ezekiel Mathur is well known, for he is now Instructor Level 1, student level 4, he first was introduced to the art through his graduate studies at University of Pennsylvania through Nancy and Lan’s first ZXD/ILC-related seminar there. Two Cabrini University students were excited to meet GM Sam for the first time at this workshop: recent alum Jason Roman (pictured with Ezekiel) and current rising senior, Bushra Islam. Bushra has the distinction of having been in the first cohort of the BALANCE Learning Community (LC) at Cabrini, designed by Nancy and Lan, and now in starting its 4th year. She has served as a Student Fellow of the Balance LC for the past 2 years, helping 20 first-year students each year adjust to their transition into higher education. She helped guide them through Nancy and Lan’s course “Conflict and Cooperation,” which fulfills the university’s “Values” core curriculum requirement.

GM Sam Chin has spent the past year offering online Zoom instruction and emphasizing the right viewpoint needed to clarify and refine one’s understanding of the art and train one’s skills appropriately. Long-term members of the art know how distinctive this approach to learning is and they really appreciate Prof. GM Sam Chin’s method of Question and Answer sessions.  It is equally inspiring to hear new participants reflect on their first-time experiences of meeting Sam Chin, Hsin Chin, and other instructors assisting at the workshop.  Here is one example from a ‘newbie’, who recently heard of the Martial Art of Awareness within the past month and attended Saturday’s workshop. Viel Ty had this to share about the Philly workshop:

“It was a privilege to attend my first workshop studying the “Martial Art of Awareness”, Zhong Xin Dao – I Liq Chuan. As a new student of ZXD-ILC with experience studying other styles of martial arts, it was my intention to come to the workshop ready to learn and with an open mind.  I came out of the workshop with a greater appreciation for the curriculum and many takeaways that transcend beyond martial functionality.  My biggest insight is the idea of using the correct (and present!) references to bring attention to yourself, what you feel, and what you are doing. He also stressed that you have so much more in your control in all areas of your life only if you are truly aware of yourself.  What I found even more incredible was how clear and unwavering that message is – not only from Grandmaster Sam Chin but also from all of the mentors who shared their time with me at the workshop.

Thank you to Grandmaster Sam Chin and his family for sharing their time with us this weekend!  Thank you to my teachers, Lan Tran and Nancy Watterson, for a fantastic introduction and overview of the system in these last weeks leading up to the workshop! I greatly appreciate everyone’s warm welcome and conversations with me and in support of my new journey with the ZXD-ILC family.”

A second attendee, who like Viel has joined Philly’s ZXD/ILC group, also offered his perspective on the day. Dante Crowder had this to say:

“Grandmaster Sam is very down-to-earth and is not looking to hold back any information. Although he does have that Grandmaster aura, I actually felt very relaxed and comfortable. Secondly, all the Instructors from Level 1 and above were very helpful and very kind. Although I was a beginner, not one person acted like they were too good to work with me. In fact, everyone regardless of their experience had a solid skill set and was more than willing to share the knowledge they had with me. I feel ZXD can — and will —  change your life if one is patient enough to listen, not rush, and follow the system.”


Finally, at the workshop, Prof. GM Sam Chin also was able to share his art with another professor, Kun-Yang Lin, (Professor of Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia). The workshop was actually held in Kun-Yang Lin’s studio, called the Chi Movement Arts Center and home to his dance troupe, KYL/D for which he is choreographer and artistic director. (One of his dancers and the Director of their school-based “Chi Movement” curriculum, Sophie Malin, also attended and—as a direct result of her experience at the workshop—has become a member of the Philly group!)

Professor Kun-Yang shared several insights he took away from his experience of the workshop, especially the care GM Sam took with his opening “framing” talk and the one-on-one transmission of direct, experiential “feel” of the art: 

 “I appreciated how Master Chin’s opening talk referred to Eastern philosophy, concepts and practice and how the art’s practice itself relates to life! As a professor of dance, of course my “practice” is a different method, but the emphasis on change and balancing and continuity—and especially FLOW—all resonated with the approach I use with my dancers. I appreciated the message of how “awareness” is different from “knowledge” and also the discussions of yin and yang in terms of 3 components (1,2,3 for unifying and separating).  

When Master Chin spoke of the martial art of awareness as a ‘tool’ for training mindfulness, that resonated with me. “Dance” is my tool, my practice for examining my body, my mind.  I especially appreciate the various approaches Master Chin drew on to deliver that methodology. One key take away is thinking about how he has simplified his curriculum down to its very essence of knowing. And how he explained the importance of slowing down the training to bring your attention “there”: you have to be able to place your concentration and focus on the very process of paying attention.  This is an important message for all of us on our individual journeys: being constantly open to receiving what teachers guide us to recognize for ourselves.  Understanding one’s own body/mind…that’s your own process; another person can work with you, but you have to do your own work—it’s your own practice: owning your own body and owning your own mind.” 

Fitting words to carry with us as we continue our own practices—alone, together, solo, or in partner training.