One Point Approach

GM Sam Chin One Point Approach

“Because of the concentration, if you can hold; that’s where the clarity comes. With the clarity you have that kind of peacefulness.”

~GM Sam Chin

Mindfulness = Direct: Knowing and Acting in the Present Moment

We have been here [at Mid-America Buddhist Association] for the past 6 days.  So, what have you guys learned? [Looks around]. What is the most important part that you are here for, first of all?  Yes, mindfulness. Another word for mindfulness is the purpose is to have DIRECT. Direct experience. Direct experiential knowing of the moment. Yes?  So, the same thing as we do training (in ZXD); that’s what the reverend (Ji Ru) talked about. Practically, we don’t need to remember. When you ‘remember’ things, that means you try to get things from the past.  If you want to use things you ‘remember’ on, that’s from the past. So we talk about the past and the present. The training of present is direct! Direct doesn’t need to remember.

Here is where we try to understand what is it that is direct, that there’s no need to remember and we still understand. What is there that you’re able to see and how can you know in that direct moment? How can you act with that direct moment without using the past experience? Here is the toughest thing. Because every moment if you can’t hold onto the direct moment–say you need to penetrate, you need to connect—if you can’t do that it will fall back to your memory, you will fall back to your past. That means according to your past and falling back to that kind of senses contact, the past experience, those are past senses and past experiences: what you like, don’t like or what you don’t know, the 3 types of feelings.

Stillness, Concentration, and the Power of Attention to Hold

It’s coming from stillness. Stillness is the concentration. It’s the present point and also the balance point. Because of the concentration, because of the power of attention that you can hold, you are not being stirred up by past feelings, past emotions, so you won’t be stirred up like that. So, you won’t be using the past experiences to judge. (When you use past experience to judge you always fall back to: What I like, I want more; what I don’t like, I reject, or what I don’t know).  Because of the concentration, if you can hold, that’s where the clarity comes. With the clarity you have that kind of peacefulness. With clarity you get satisfaction and joy.

That’s why the next two [qualities] are joy and equanimity. With equanimity you have the balance: the peace of mind. This is only 2 of the kinds here. In our system we normally call it as past and present: present is direct.  

In 2014 I called this the I Liq Chuan Path and now we name it as Zhong Xin Dao (ZXD).  You guys understand? — you need to follow this path. The first topic we talk about the philosophy, concept, and principles, because you need theoretical things at first to guide the philosophy. The first part of the ZXD philosophy talks about how we are using the Zen and Tao philosophy. Because for every system, if they use a different base or different philosophy, their training will be different, and the outcome will be different. Because you’ve got to be aligned: know from what kind of concept and what kind of principles for how you train the philosophy—ask what is the philosophy that needs to come out? So every time you need to look back to the philosophy.




See the Nature to See the Truth

First of all, the Philosophy of Zen and Tao is talking back to the Nature itself; everything is going back to its nature to see the nature in order to see the truth. So we ask: what is the characteristic of the Nature itself in order to see?  First, the characteristic of nature is change—that’s what Buddhism talks about impermanent.  And no self: we don’t have one solid entity —it’s all by conditions that combine to form.  You can’t be one; there must be two. That’s why the Tao Te Ching talks about: the Tao that born one, one that born two, two that born three, and then everything is formed. [From here is the way you approach and see things—to understand things. Lately, I try to talk about this because to understand things, you must always see from different angles.  Recently, I heard one of the talks on a TedTalk called “The Danger of One Story.” When you see a danger of one story then you think “oh, this is what it is, it’s just this—you have to be able to see through different angles. So, a lot of the words we use will get you stuck, will block you, will jam you.  When you listen, you must check it from different angles: sometimes words like center: a center is what? When we say center, a center must have 6 directions; 6 directions is a center. Because when you look at 6 directions there is a center.  If a center doesn’t have 6 directions, it’s not a center. Or you say a circle must have circumference. Or, you do a circle without centers, then if the circle doesn’t have a concept or principle of a center, that is not a circle. They always have relationship to form this. So a center is a junction point. A junction point is because it’s a center: the junction point has the ability to go in all different directions. If it has that ability, I call that neutral. Yes?

Present, Formless, Neutral: the changing balance point, stillness point, present point

The neutral is not like standing on a fence: left, right, middle and middle is neutral. But neutral has a middle quality also, because it is a junction and a junction has the ability to go in any direction: not to get stuck in any direction. That means you can change. If they can change that mans what? They are formless, yes?  So there are all these abilities to see things. Formless is what?  You can say it’s also empty!  Every word has certain particular meaning by itself, but they also have relationship to other words.  So we talk about being present, formless, and neutral: these have a RELATIONSHIP but they have slightly different qualities. Because we need that in order to change. If the characteristic of nature is always changing, then you need to change with the change to be in the present. Tao also talks about how if everything is changing, it’s a balance point. So, when I say a ‘balance point,’ it’s also changing. Then what is a balance point that doesn’t change? So we say, “changing with the change to maintain not to change”—that’s the balance point! That balance point is also a stillness point. And that stillness point is also a present point. Until you can understand this, then here is what we’re training the concentration to hold: to change with the changes to

maintain not to change. Here is where you know the change. Here is also HOW you know…and WHAT you know from here. So training, if you can’t connect and hold over here, you will fall back to your memory, fall back to your past to judge the moment. Over here, if you can hold and link, we say that there’s nothing to remember, because you act in the moment of connecting and matching. That’s why we come up with the Meet and Match, from here.

Everything is from the Point of Contact

That means that everything is also from the point of contact. We know from the point of contact and act from the point of contact, but here is where the 2 things at the POC: are you present—to connect? —or, do you fall back to the past, memory to judge, or do you act on the point of contact.  That’s why here, on the philosophy side we talk about the nature itself; the way things are. Then sometimes we talk about the characteristics of the nature itself is the way things are—things as it is: that means you can’t add anything, you cannot take away anything. If you add or take away anything you interfere, that means you are not with the nature, you aren’t understanding the nature. But that doesn’t mean you cannot change. So, by understanding the conditions you know how to approach.  In the Zhong Xin Dao Path here I make it simple in a way, so that the concept, ‘there’s nothing to train’ is to remind you to see things as it is, not to ‘remember’ anything: it’s direct.  The most important part is that the training is not to accumulate or imitate.  Your training is through recognizing the moment: recognizing the moment and realizing what is.

Falling and Arising IS the Change

Recognizing: what is recognizing? Recognizing is seeing what is happening that happens—at that moment that’s called recognizing. It’s the change from seeing here to everything else: all these days this week we’ve been talking about this ‘falling and raising [arising], fall and rise is the change.  So we say that the learning process is only to recognize and to realize. In principle, it’s only so you can understand what is the past and what is the present. The past, you’ll fall into the feeling of ‘you like, you don’t like.’ So, approaching the present is stillness and clarity—but it’s direct. Stillness and clarity that means it’s the connection of being direct, and being in the moment with the balance point.  The balance point is the change with the change that doesn’t change. So when we come to action, then how can we recognize the balance points.

Physical Balance Point and Mental Balance Point

You see, the balance point on point of contact is on physical and on our mind.  The balance on the mind is about the concentration, to hold. It’s mindfulness. And the balance point is about center! When we say center that means it must have 6 directions and 3 dimensions (3d6d) to be considered a center. We talk about center we have your center, opponent’s center, environment’s center, and a point of contact center. First, we talk about structurally, unification of your center. Structurally—unification of your center—we have structure center: sometimes we call it Unification of The Self. Unification of the movement (the balanced movement) and the Balanced point of contact: they all have a center with 6 directions-3 dimensions.  

From the center, what kind of center we use—there are so many centers. First of all, we talk about our own center: where does our own enter come from? How is the center formed? First, it’s the gravity: we live in this world so the first thing is the gravity: everything has to related to gravity. How to build a building, how a tree grows, everything has to deal with this? Because of this gravity and then every object has a mass (the camera right there has a mass, the table, a car, our body has mass). Right? So, with this mass and gravity the relationship forms the alignment. Alignment is where the balance point is, it’s where the center point is. When we say balance point it means it has direction…and from the balance point only can you settle down and relax. And then all actions are from this balance point, this axis, this One point that goes out and returns!   When we say One Point, one point is what goes out and returns—it doesn’t reverse.  Return is a cycle; you need to do the complete cycle. When you talk about connecting, linking, you talk about direct, you need to connect to get the information: coming back and going out—it’s a cycle. So when the cycle is complete, then there’s no more beginning and ending: that means you are always there. Like paying attention to yourself, in the body: the cycle is complete. So, when you connect to others, the cycle is complete, too: you are always there. When we say present, you are always there. So, when you are present and always there, there are a lot of other qualities. In order to be present that means you must change with change, yes? To change with change, you must be able to flow. To be able to flow that means you can’t resist and can’t back off. If you resist or back off that means you can’t flow. So, you can say this is also a balance point:  Example: put your hands together [move them around] this is changing, but on the point here (where they touch) they connect. This point that connects doesn’t change. The pressure doesn’t change, the point doesn’t change, but you are changing: this is what we call the balance point: it’s a flowing point that is changing with the moment.


Recognizing Difference Isn’t Judging

So, from here you know. From here you see the change. Another thing we say is Meet and Match: on holding the point, how can you know?  Like we always ask: What is knowing? And knowing based on what reference? On point of contact, we always talk about a point is a center point; a center point means it has 6 directions. (up down left right forward back). We talk about using the cross first; when they cross there will be 3 points.  (1,2, 3, points). A point must have 3 (1 born 2, 2 born 3: 1 must have 2—that means yin yang; 2 must have 3–the 3 is the neutral; the 3 is the one that separates the 2 and that binds the 2 together!  So, this separation that has unification and separation: that means this one here that has 2—is to see the change. You must see everything that rises and falls—that relatively, it’s very hard to see the continuity—where’s the line that to see: where’s the line of rise, where’s the fall? But then why is there rise and fall? —that means they still have separation.  Yes? In the moment here it’s rising, but where does it fall? There’s a separation that is reached. For me, I use it — because of the separation and unification there’s DIFFERENCE. But understand, there’s difference, but it’s not judging. You have not named it yet! If you name it, it’s different already (‘this is black, this is white,) Because if you’re matching one and one here—you don’t call it ‘two’-then that’s a difference; if you name it, then you’re using the past to name it. It’s not the same—it’s different.   (points to table…) even if it’s the same here, there’s no difference…but even no difference has difference! Under the center, there’s gravity—so based on this gravity and alignment, there’s 3dim, xyz within the space: horizontal, frontal, sagittal: every center has this. This center is related to other centers.  Like our center of gravity and the mass are our main centers, but there are all other centers, for example our shoulder joint, our hips, our crown that separates the front and the back has center, what separates left and right has a center. From the center here, you can see what is left and right, what is inside what is outside, what’s open and closed, what is yin yang. So in action, it will be only this: Open and Closed. So, one dimension has open close. Every one dimension has open close.  

Alright. I’ve said this many times. Any questions?

The Present is Neutral! Train Balance Point through maintaining, changing, flowing

Q about Fear: Anxiety is from all the past fears. Why do you have all this? Because you are using the past to judge the moment. In the moment there’s no good or bad. The only you have to recognize in the moment is based on the condition of cause and effect. On the moment you come into point of contact there are separations, cause and effect. Seperation and unification have this relationship. And they have the relationship of cause and conditions here, have cause and effect: how you act in the moment. Because fear, in the martial arts we do use fear a lot. Fear is a good tool to trigger readiness and alertness. But when we talk about Present—the RIGHT Awareness, all these must have readiness and alertness in the present. If they don’t have readiness and alertness, they are not the right one: because otherwise how could they change? How could they see things?  In fear, in martial arts—the problem is because they go through fear, then the viewpoint is wrong. If you go through fear, you look through ‘red glasses’: everything you see is red. Everything you see/perceive is different. It’s not pure. That’s why we say you must act in the present! The present is NEUTRAL! The hardest part is can you hold on the present. So the present to hold on is the balance point–that you can work on! How can you work on the present? As soon as you say ‘present’—present is gone; that’s why they say there’s no present. Present is for you to work on the Balance Point; that means it’s about maintaining, changing, flowing. Maintaining that means it’s change, yes. If you don’t change you can’t maintain. [gives example of how must change to maintain the same pressure whether incoming force is if you don’t change, the result is 10 or 8+2 is 10. Or 12-2 is 10 …anything you try to adjust, here doesn’t change.]

The first thing we start to train within our body is alignment; there’s a center.  Every time training must have 2 points—have that kind of relationship. First is the gravity: the gravity becomes our point of contact: our feet standing here, comes into contact with the floor. You must see where is the center of gravity that aligns up—to our top here, to our crown. So, training you want to have this balance point and the feet balance point and the crown balance point, why? That means these 2 balance points don’t change! When these 2 points don’t change, [a reference] it means they keep on changing. In order to be firm with the floor and steady with the floor, you must always be changing with the floor. You keep on changing to balance, to keep on changing with the floor to balance, to maintain. There’s 2 things to maintain: one is the Center and one is the Touch: that means the PRESSURE.

Another characteristic, in order to be balanced, must have 2. One point must have 2 energies: one must have 2. To have 1 to 2 is always through rotation, spiral with rotation; if you don’t, there won’t be 2, there’s no return. Rotation has a return. If you only go up and down like this, that means it’s a reverse.  That’s why we came up with words like “rotate on the point, roll on the point, skim on the point, grind on the point”—is to produce 2 direction energy minimum. Because you need to hold a point, touching/holding here there’s 2 (up and down to hold the point, or forward backward to hold the point—6 directions). So, you can stretch to hold a point, or you can compress to hold a point…holding and stretching must be EQUAL force, but rotate to produce 2 equal forces to hold. On POC, it’s the same: must have 2 equal energies to hold in order for it to be balanced.  (Q: Can you hold the point without rotation, with just pure empty mind?) No, this is ACTION/MOVEMENT—but you need the mind to be there. Because you cannot get away from mental/physical. It’s not ‘use your mind to ‘imagine’. You can’t imagine—it’s action!  (Q: can you connect this to meditation practice?) Yes, this is the same as 5 Hindrances

When we talk about ‘fear’ (it falls under greed, hate, ignorance—you like, don’t like and don’t know-it’s the same.  That’s why we put it into only Past and Present (You trigger the Past—you have fear, hate, anger, greed—you have all this, because you judge!) Present is direct, no judging. Make it simple.  We come to train, you already need to understand this. Like Reverend Ji Ru said. You only need to understand this. If you want to go into all this, you will be a scholar; but when it comes to training, direct. From direct here, because of the concentrations… discipline, concentration, and wisdom. DIRECT KNOWING IS WISDOM, it’s not knowledge. Knowledge is the accumulation. Direct is the wisdom. So that’s why I brought you guys here [to MABA temple/meditation halls for retreat] because we need the environment here and also to have the professional like Rev. Ji Ru who can bring you step by step, and this environment to go in and develop that kind of attention. Understand here?  

So it comes down to attention.  With this, you’re able to see the balance point: your job is to be continually adjusting. We are always unstable because of change. To be stable that means a balance point—that means you have to change with change to make it stable. To make it stable that means you can’t be only one side stable: that means you need 2 things together, minimum 2, to make it stable. Because you need a point to be stable in order to have direction. The balance point—the direction comes from the balance point. (I sometime try to explain with the example of the fish: how the fish moves its tail: it’s concave convex, or it’s open and close, and when it whacks its tail, it’s a pivot point, a pivot point is also a balance point. When you do this, and whack the tail in one direction, he goes this way; you hit the other way, he goes the other direction. When you give the direction, only then can the fish swim; if this point isn’t steady, the fish’s head will be shaking. Or if you whack the tail, the fish will keep on going around and around. When the tail gets injured he can’t swim—only go in circle. So every action has a balance point, sometimes we call it also a pivot point. A Balance point is slightly different but it’s on the pivot point. So when we classify it as a pivot, so when this pivot is on the very moment of ACTION, the point itself cannot move: it’s stable. If it moves, it’s not a pivot point. So every time we make a step, it has a pivot point. You hold on to the floor, there’s a pivot point: if the pivot point on that moment can’t hold you fall, slip, slip and fall down. So every action has that kind of pivot point on point of contact That’s why we talk about on point of contact; we have flow, fend, roll and pivot. Like a car, and its running tires. The wheel, it’s point of contact is 90 degrees on the floor. So this 90 degrees is a pivot point, so when it rolls, that moment of rolling, that point can’t slip. So when this pivot point doesn’t move, it changes: but there’s another pivot point, another pivot point, another pivot point. When it changes pivot point we call that roll; we call it a ROLLING changing pivot point. But that rolling point also has the quality of 90 degrees towards the center all the time. So, at the POC, you must produce this 90. on that 90 degree you pivot, you roll and change point.

“The ultimate move is who is more aware.”

~GM Sam Chin

Q: Sifu responds: we don’t talk about ‘memory’. In the moment of training we try to be conscious, to pay attention: the reference is different. If your reference is one of memory, it’s from the past. It’s a habit. Because you are training in the moment to be continually matching, continually changing the point. So that doesn’t need memory. But of course, when you come back to philosophy concept you fall back on knowledge. When it comes to training, throw that away: it’s only on point of contact. (At first, of course, it’s ‘knowledge’, but then you learn to train on the point.  The past knowledge is just a pointer—but when you train, only DO the paying attention…if you use direct, it’s different. There’s a feedback energy (we talk about energy: like when you bounce a ball…90) For how you ‘know’ 90 to the point is a FEEL, that experiential feel of the moment to know. When you can capture understanding that—and only that as a center of reference—only then will you know the feel of up down, etc…the direct energy of feeling back (of 2 energies: you drop down it bounces back). You need to RECOGNIZE (not ‘learn’) the law of nature. What we are training, like Rev. said too about meditation, is direct observation with attention.

So (recap), the first thing we do is to balance these 2 points first: floor and crown to have these 2 points to bring these 2 in relationship.  

We’ll work a little bit on these yourself to see if you can understand the 2 balance points for yourself. The Balance Point needs 2 things: yin and yang. Within our body we talk about the 4 elements: air is action and movement. Earth element is the hard objects: skeletons/bone, ligaments, tendons, and tissue up to the skin. The bone is the center of yin yang muscles. Because the muscles attach on all the ligaments and tendons and all movement is on the joints. That’s why lots of tai chi talk about 6 harmonies (on the joints), but why some talk about 7 (on the neck—the 7th star):  Ankle, knee, hip; shoulder, elbow, wrist—and all the connections up to neck. You must understand that Tai Chi balance is not only this kind of balance (takes out his eye glasses to demonstrate 50-50 balance). Tai Chi is not 50-50; it’s the COMPLEMENTARY BALANCE. It can balance one heavy and one light; it talks about this kind of balance (one long one short). It’s not the same height or same weights being balanced. It’s the balance of black and white—how can you balance that?!  That’s why the thing that separates these two must be very strong to hold, otherwise yin will interfere with yang and yang interfere. the neutral must be so strong to hold that they don’t interfere and then they cycle to have the complementary. Of course, they do have this kind of balance, but for example, our muscles do have yin and yang: yin muscles are contracting, yang muscles are expanding.  (ever see someone who broke his hand? I broke my hand before—laughs…. There’s nothing to hold in the center—it just collapses. In the nature itself has its function. I call this hardware: you only can grab this way (from yin side), can’t grab from yang side. So you are born as such, as a human being: all the joints you can’t change; it has to work this way. And at action—on Point of contact—I call software: because it can change.

Now, first of all I want you guys to do these 2 point—up down, hold the crown to go down, hold the floor to go up.  Hold the crown, stretch it down. Drop to stretch it down. That means you must have 2 energies: it’s a cycle. To go through the body you must understand we go through what part of the body? Go down the front come up the back. But when you go down the front, it goes down through 2 different groups—first through the yin then the yang. And coming up the back, also through 2 groups. It comes to the function and follow the nature of the muscles: yin muscles contract, yang muscles expand. Why is that?

GM Sam Chin poses in front of Manjushri Hall with Ven. Jiru

Relaxation is the balance, according to gravity.  

Let the breath flow naturally first.

Absorb and Project—the most common one. Always have to go to the bone.  2 energies:

  • Yin is drawing to the dan tien and condensing to (not through) the bone.  Use the bone as a reference
  • Yang is project from ming-men and expanding from the bone out With these movement we call this the macrocosmic energy flow.

Training is the Constant Adjusting

Attention on the touch. When you are mindful there’s a kind of constant watch on the point, so that from the point you are able to link in. Constant adjusting, constant over there; constant changing, constant in the process. There’s no gap, constant maintaining over there. That’s how you know you are aware over there: attention. It’s not just that you ‘act.’ No, the training is the constant adjusting—the same balance, the same feel. First it’s a constant on the center point. Then the constant of the touch—of the pressure.  (you go down, maintain the same pressure on the feet never increase. You come up, never increase the pressure on the feet). That’s why we say you go down it must come from the front. Try it and see – if you go down from the yang/back the pressure drops and you get heavy, you get stuck. Now use the yang muscle and expand fist. Sometime we talk about what comes first. It’s only a matter of WHAT INITIATES first (whatever goes ahead first, the other will back it up!)    So you have to balance these two muscles at the same time in order to maintain:  That is the constancy of maintaining, of balancing. When you keep on balancing, the attention must be there. Then, if anything distracts or interrupts, or comes to change, you know. That’s why if anything/force increases, then you know. For instance, at the point of contact, if I want 4 ounces of force, but this guy increases 100 pounds, then I know he’s increased force, but I only take 4 ounces.  Then the other 100 pounds doesn’t affect me, because I’ve only used 4 ounces: I maintain. This is how you do the balance point. This is why we call this ‘no resistance, no backing off’—what we call FLOW. If you can’t do this flow, you can’t be present. If you can flow to be HERE, only then can you merge, link, connect, get the right information through the balance point. Of course, when I touch I also know, but that knowing is also different. Maintain the same pressure on the changing—that means you’re flowing (sometimes you need pivot or roll to maintain)…sometimes you can’t (if you’re blocked), then you may need to pivot to get the same line or direction.  

Narrates PROCESS: You want to work so that everything goes out and comes back: rely first on crown and floor (up and down), and dan tien and ming-men (front and back)—with these groups of muscle you have the macrocosmic energy flow. [relax your face first, then your body: keep checking your crown—does your crown lose the pressure or not? If it loses, then your yang’s not maintaining). Relax face, relax shoulder, relax front of body down to dan tien. Stop. Then, form here expand your back. Feel the ming-men to the front (thighs), and relax, drop it to the feet: expand it down to the floor. Feel the hollow—go down to the big toe, wrap around to little toe and draw the hollow up to dan tien…up. expand it to the ming-men and expand it up to the crown.  Maintain the alignment and skeleton first.

You can see confidence and readiness. (crouching of the cat) – must have the stretching from crown to perineum (to get the return to come up).  

The Mindfulness Touch

Training mindfully: to keep the adjusting and maintaining, and the holding!  Mindfulness action is always THERE holding—constant changing and maintaining and holding over there. The mindfulness of constant maintaining to flow in, in the process to adjust.  Mindfully in the process means you’re constantly adjusting means you’ll be able to know. With constant adjusting of yourself, then, if you’re constant then you’ll slowly be able to connect with others. You can’t just act habitually.  No doubt many martial arts teach you train til you have habitual reflex. That is not the highest kind of training. With Zen and Tao philosophy, it’s more about mindful

The crown here—this exercise here: You can keep on training for many, many years; because of this balance point until so steady strong, so precise anything touches you, it can’t affect you (if anyone touches you, they bounce back) because so constant adjusting.  

Alignment and the skeleton is different. Skeleton and gravity alignment is different. Alignment is form the mass (including flesh and everything). So mass alignment is slightly different, but you need skeleton in order to support it.

Triangle energy (two feet up to dan tien) 2 triangles: 2 from feet up to dt. One from ming-men that comes to the front and points from hips going down to balance beam line (wraps around to knee and goes down). These 2 triangles interlock; then, this supports to hold the crown (up and down hold the crown). Find the hip center (where the kua is) and do the condense expand (in all direction).  Yin kua is center of the hip; yang kua is the whole pelvis.

Hold on hip centers, should centers is rotation. It’s all rotation: holding on to rotate—clockwise counterclockwise (forward backward). 2 actions—one is drawing a circle, one is circle with rotation. Circle with rotation is always completing (spins: yin change, yang change;)

Your experience or the past can interfere if you’re ‘trying’ to do something. If you try to ‘do’ something, then you’re using your past viewpoint instead of listening to instructions! If your attention is not there, that means you try to do something else. Your body will get into the habitual; that means you’re not training mindfully. That means you don’t know your habit already took over you. Because there’s no way to get out from your old viewpoint unless you listen carefully; listen to the instructions and follow the instructions. If you think, that means you can never get away from your own viewpoint.  When you follow instructions, you’re trying to be mindful of the action of how to do it. Following instructions on how to do it is so you can learn to meet on the point.

The ultimate move is who is more aware. There’s no such thing as ‘ultimate move.’ So what I want you guys to be aware of is to FEEL (so that slowly you’ll be aware that on touch there is a CONNECTING of joints; if you’re not aware of this, then on one touch, you’ll be gone!) It seems so fast, when it’s about ATTENTION.

Is my body connected already, then when I meet the point and it’s a fullness point. If my body is already linked, then when you touch me, I’ve already got a fullness point. You have no chance to pull or push because I’m already connected.  I’m DIRECT. (what is ‘defense’—direct is just a defense, like a shield, fend off. Shielding energy is fending / defense energy: I meet to this point and I’m like a ball—any part you touch is a ball, the furthest point to the center, the highest point to the center (6 direction).  You want to push me, I rotate first… you won’t be able to push; your point won’t have any power. Pull push at the tip. Meet the tip of the force…bring the opponent’s force along. If you don’t have the fullness quality within, you’ll collapse. Meet first!

Concluding Thoughts

The Zhong Xin Dao system uses the 4 Mindfulnesses in our training. When I was in the Buddhist temple I incorporated this philosophy and concept and process of how it should be trained. So, as you know, my system works tightly with these principles. So, as you go higher you can’t get away from insight meditation. Before I engage in this, I was already quite good in martial arts; but when I listened to this philosophy only then did I open up. I get insight. A lot of times, in olden days, marital artists couldn’t understand the habitual and the awareness or the reflex – those kinds of things we weren’t clear. You always think you have that kind of power; but sometimes we don’t. Sometimes habitually, the reflex was in action. And sometimes we were aware. But we couldn’t distinguish it.  Only when we understand the philosophy deep enough could we understand the special kind of quality. That’s why my teaching here is very specific and direct. It’s also within the system, when you go higher, we’ll require you to understand the right mindfulness. Because there are so many mindfulnesses out there; it’s very hard to differentiate.

Feel the body. When emotion changes, the breath changes. Everything will affect the breath—how your feeling changes. You have anxiety you breath changes. You feel calm, your breath changes. Keep attention on attention. Keep on feeling and balancing things. Meet the flow. Practically speaking, everything is about balancing. Don’t listen to only one thing. Balancing is the present, balancing is the center, balancing is  formless, neutral, empty.  A lot of qualities within. How do you see what is balance?

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


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?


(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)


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”.


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?