July 2021 News

group photo from Austrian summer I Liq Chuan retreat

Around The World


group photo from Austrian summer I Liq Chuan retreat

At the first Austrian “Martial Art of Awareness – Summer Retreat” at the beautiful Holzöster lake, there were 25 participants from Austria and Germany.

Because of the different levels and different types of people, instructor Lubo Tzolov decided on a topic interesting for beginners and advanced students: “Preparation for Spinning Hands Training”.

So first he put the emphasis on clarifying the difference between training and playing. Then the students explored their understanding of the alignment to separate the body in front/back and left/right.

They continued with pull and push through condensing and expanding and to realize how even a very light force affects their own alignment. It was amazing to see that everyone could stay focused on themselves. The training continued with open/close to propel circles from the horizontal force.

On the last two days the students did spinning hands but very light and everyone managed well to mainly observe the changes inside their own body. Everyone could train with everyone else because nobody involved their own ego. In the evening there was time for meditation and also for theory of the Zhong Xin Dao approach and philosophy. Afterwards some participants used the free time to train or just spend time together.

It was a great atmosphere with a great energy of happiness!

Martina Ruemer from Salzburg finally graded for level 3 after a long time of preparation during the lockdown. Congrats again, Martina!

All in all everyone had a great time and we are looking forward for another Summer Retreat at this wonderful place.



North Carolina

Congratulations to the following students on their successful grading!
Gregory Farrington from level 1 to level 2
Shockley Su to level 2
John Griffin to level 2




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.


Chin Family / Headquarters

Disciple Ashe HiggsWe want to express our sincere gratitude to Senior Instructor and disciple Ashe Higgs for his long dedication to and support of our family! Over the past decade he has helped with everything that has allowed our organization to run smoothly, from managing memberships, to building websites, posting videos and crafting newsletters!

Starting at the beginning of August he will be stepping down from his administrative responsibilities, remaining part of our Community Team and focusing on the teaching of Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan.

We appreciate his continued support and we look forward to our next chapter together! A big thank you to Ashe Higgs

Presenting UIKT Plaque

At the Philadelphia workshop this weekend, Instructor Joshua Craig presented Grandmaster Chin with a gift from the Unione Italiana Kung Fu Tradizionale. On September 12th, 2020 an agreement was signed between the CFILCA and the UIKT. This officially launches our 3-year Martial Art of Awareness Instructor Training Project in Rome. At the ceremony, the UIKT presented a commemorative plaque, which Joshua had accepted on behalf of Grandmaster Sam Chin. 

Due to Covid, our workshop in Philadelphia was the first opportunity to publicly present the award. As an organization the UIKT promotes the spirit of harmony and collaboration, and we are happy to be working with them. Over the past year, our Instructor Training Project participants have been hard at work under Instructors Joshua Craig and Alberto Benedusi, and in September they will undergo their first grading! Plans are also underway for Grandmaster Sam Chin to visit Rome in 2022!

Sifu Says

image of acandle with I Liq Chuan branding

“Behind the scenes” peek into a teaching moment between GM Sam Chin and Instructor Ashe Higgs before one of our weekly live streams.

“If the flame is shaky, if the wind is making it keep on flickering, then you cannot see things clearly. If there is no wind or anything to come to disturb the candle light, then the candle light is so steady—then you can see things clearly.

This is about the center—that means if the center is shaky, there is no precise direction. Also, if the candlelight is too dim, you also cannot see the bigger view. You only see a little thing. If the candle light is bright, then you can see a bigger view more clearly…”

Watch the video, or read the full transcript here.

Members Only

GM Sam Chin & Rich Kelly video thumbnail

New video in our members only area: Movement From Rotation

From one point, stretching a line and holding the “flatness”.


july 2021 ILC crossword puzzle


3. Internal and ______ Circle
5. Nine Solid and One ______
6. ______ of Body Movement
9. ______ Hand (from the Butterfly Form)
10. ______ Roll


1. 180-degree ______ Step
2. Three ______ Factors
4. ______ of the Ribs
7. ______ Knee and Push (from the 21 Form)
8. ______ Dao, Qi Dao, Li Dao

Click here for PDF download.

Mind Bender

By Inst. Jeffrey Wong

Disclaimer: Please don’t bash the reasoning behind the game, it’s just that, a game. This is just for fun, no such secret books exist! 😉

Grandmaster Sam Chin entrusted his five favorite disciples a secret book each, and each book contains the secrets to one of the five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. If combined together, the five books contain the ultimate secrets to our Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan spinning hands.

No one else besides GM Chin knows exactly which student has which secret book of the elements. A mischievous, and very jealous student, Jeff, who did not get a secret book, was able to snoop around and found out the following clues, but still needs your help to figure out exactly who has which book, then steal, um, borrow, all 5 books for a quick read.

Do you think you have the smarts to help Jeff?

To encourage his favorite five disciples to work together, each book is locked in an impenetrable box, and each student received one key that can only open another student’s box. Luckily, the five disciples are attending the same ZXDILC retreat, and staying in 5 separate cabins lined up in a row in the retreat village, so Jeff will have the best opportunity to get all 5 keys and 5 books on the same night.

But he must get it done that very evening while the disciples leave the cabins for dinner, or the five disciples will part ways the next morning to separate locations around the world, making a union of the 5 elements very difficult.

While the disciples are away in the dining hall, their sashes with ranking stripes hanging in the rooms will help Jeff identify which cabin belongs to whom.

Here are what Jeff knows so far:
The yellow cabin was full of Dragon’s Well tea’s fragrance
The renter in the center cabin has a key with the 🌏 insignia
The level 9 student sleeps in the first cabin
The person who is brewing Tie Guan Yin tea lives next to the person safekeeping Wood element
The Fire element inheritor is staying next to person who drinks Dragon’s Well
The disciple who drinks Wu Long tea has the 🗡key
The level 8 student loves the taste of the dark Pu Er tea
The level 9 disciple lives next to the cabin with blue walls
The pupil who drinks Tie Guan Yin has a next-door neighbor who holds the 🌊 key
The level 7 disciple lives in the cabin with red walls
The Master level disciple was tasked with protecting the Earth element book
The level 11 pupil has the key marked with a 🌲 key
The green cabin is directly to the left of the white cabin
The occupant of the green cabin has a key with a 🔥 symbol
The person who loves Jasmine tea has the Metal element book

With these clues, are you able to help Jeff unlock the secrets of Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan’s ultimate spinning hands techniques?

Hint, it may be helpful to draw out a table like the following to help keep track of all the information:

WALL COLOR          

Tell us your answers — especially who has the water element? If you are stuck and giving up (you quitter!), you’ll have to wait for the next newsletter which will have the big reveal!

On Demand

on demand video library thumbnail

Training From One Point of Reference, presented by GM Sam Chin & Inst. Rich Kelly has been added to our subscription library. Click here to sign up for your subscription and gain access to this and dozens of hours of instructional content. We add new videos each month.