ZXD Academic Approach : “Beginner Mind, Zen Mind, Observing Mind”

“Beginner Mind, Zen Mind, Observing Mind”
Certificates of Completion Awarded by Grandmaster Sam F.S. Chin, Honorary Professor Emeritus to students at
Cabrini University / Radnor, PA USA. 12 December 2022

The ZXD Academic Approach Team (Nancy Watterson, Lan Tran, and Rich Kelly) has been busy this academic year 2022-2023!  

On December 12, 2022. Members of Cabrini University’s Balance Learning Community received certificates of successful completion of the global curriculum of the Martial Art of Awareness (Zhong Xin Dao / I Liq Chuan, specifically the new “Beginner’s Mind, Zen Mind, Observing Mind—Entry Level program” developed by Honorary Professor Emeritus: and Grandmaster Sam Chin.  They are the first students to complete this program in a university setting, studying the practice as part of their American Studies class “Conflict and Cooperation” co-taught by Lan Tran and Nancy Watterson, a fully-academic 3-credit course that also fulfills part of the general education core that addresses cultural dimension and civic engagement. Students explore their own values while integrating ZXD’s curriculum and movement-based kinesthetic learning as a tool for learning about awareness and the process of ‘learning how to learn’. in a university setting, in a course that fulfills the  general education requirement.

Inst. Rich Kelly guides students in skills-building activities that offer tangible practices for engaging with others respectfully—foundations for civic consciousness grounded in compassion.


To help the students prepare for the Entry-level program, Instructor Rich Kelly travelled to Cabrini University multiple times to work with first-year students as well as graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators from the Graduate School of Education. The Center for Global Learning, with support from PCCE grant-funding, also sponsored GM Sam Chin’s participation and a community-based workshop “Refining the Balance Point.”

By using martial arts as a tool for awareness, students—including senior citizens— practice simple solo exercises and safe cooperative partner activities.


Then, the team received a 2nd Civic Imagination grant from the PCCE, this one in conjunction with the International I Liq Chuan Association (501c3), collaborating on a series of diverse community-based events with Cabrini University and Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson. In addition to leading a graduate class at Bard, the team also sponsored a Qigong workshop for senior citizens, which was held March 18th at the Living Seed Yoga Center in New Paltz, NY (owned by our own fellow ZXD practitioner and instructor Carisa Borello).

The collaborative project, Applying Embodied Learning and Mindful Movement in Everyday Engagement builds on the initial phase of the project, Embodied Awareness & Cooperative Dialogue: Moving from Self-Observation to Social Compassion. The Academic ZXD Team, led by Master Rich Kelly, held workshops at Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson on using clear references for recognizing how to be in the present moment and deal with changing conditions.  In April, the ZXD Academic Approach team was accepted to present an interactive workshop at Gannon University in early June.