The Three Balances

Transcript GM Sam Chin
Flushing, NY Workshop
Saturday 20 October 2018


Today we will emphasize our principles and philosophy, the way of our approach, what the students need to really look into and how to maintain it.

What’s the Feel of the Present Moment as Reference

©2017 Jack Meyers Photography

As we said, there’s only two processes: one is the present, one the past: the training is to recognize if you’re using the past reference, to recognize you’re using the present reference. It’s through the method of holding, maintain. That means we give you a reference to hold: and where to hold and what to hold. From here, this is the training of concentration because you have to maintain and hold; to recognize from here the difference of holding as reference: from here, what can you notice from here? If you can’t hold, can you notice that your attention has been shifting away? If it shifts away, you’re using what reference? When you’re shifting away you’re using the past reference. Now, from here I want the student to be able to differentiate these two reference: past and present.

What ‘s the feel, what are the the things you’re able to know from the present reference and what would be the feel of when you’re with the past reference. In our Zhong Xin Dao path of ILC, if you’re using the past reference, we say that you’ll be using the feel of “you like, you don’t like, you don’t know.” With the present reference, you’ll have the feel of stillness and clarity. But stillness and clarity: what’s the feel of that?



When you’re shifting away you’re using the past reference.
~GM Sam FS Chin

Can You See Your Mind is Engaging the Past?

The past reference feel (you like, don’t like, you don’t know), is easier for you to understand. So, these 3 kinds of feeling from the past are all based on past experience. But the hardest problem is, can you see your mind’s mind engaging the past? We are so used to it we normally don’t recognize it. And because of that feel, we’ve been so used to it, that that’s how I am—that is who I am. What’s wrong with that? So people will say ‘oh, there’s nothing wrong with that, you see?’ But the student doesn’t really understand that this view is the accumulation of past experience that has built who you are, what you think of as your identity, but it’s NOT THE NATURE OF YOURSELF!

On the Importance of First Convincing Yourself

So, first—convince yourself. Do you agree that you are being accumulative—that that sort of seeing is accumulative—what you think you are now, what makes you what you are. If you’re not convinced then you’ll stick with yes, ‘this is who I am. Firs you recognize that this is the experience of accumulating habit. If you don’t agree with that, then it’s hard to change.

Learn more in Knowing The Moment DVD or download

It’s because of here, everyone says ‘this is who I am,’ when we’re using this type of reference; then, this sort of reasoning only comes down to who has a better experience; who has a better past—if you use that reference.

Yes, in Tao and Zen, no doubt you need this past experience to recognize SOME of this process, in order to show you the way. But if you agree with that, then you see this is the process of BUILDING a habit form past experience—this is what people usually address. But, if you come back to the NATURE OF SELF—then you’re understanding the nature itself is THROUGH THE MOMENT.


We are using that moment to know and to change. That moment to know is so short, and so fast—that moment of PRESENT. How can you know with that instant moment when it changes so fast? That’s what seems so impossible to do. We used to say your foresight is so close—that you can’t see further. If I want to see further, then I need my past or experience to see further. If I don’t use the past experience to project further in the future, then how can I see, how I make it longer? Yes?

Then what is the difference of being in the moment that you can see so far, so BI? What kind of method. Being in the moment is so short. That’s why it comes down to the MOMENT OF CONNECTING. THE MOMENT OF STRETCHING. THE MOMENT OF LINKING. The moment of connecting is so you can see big. Otherwise, you’ll just be one little speck, one little dot. In that one little instance, if you can’t connect you won’t be able to see the bigger picture. With that very small moment, it’s very hard for you to make decisions, or for you to act, or for you to act—and know correctly.

Keep on Maintaining to See, Keep on Maintaining to Know

That’s why I keep on saying that knowing is through STRETCHING, it’s through connecting, linking. But that linking is also one moment: like 1 slice of picture…one slice that keeps on maintaining to see. But it keeps on changing to see. That linking, connecting is based on that balance point. That flowing point continuing to maintain the same, because of balance point to maintaining the same to see–only from this can you have the clarity.

The past, present, future—has past experience. And if you want to predict using the past experience, then you can say (ah, they are doing something, I can predict, I can plan, that means I can make a long plan…. But you’re suing a past ref). in order to do the same thing using the PRESENT REFEENCE, it’s by doing it form ONE point that you can stretch, that you can connect form center to center, form one joint to another joint—that you can connect. You can say that’s also past, present future—but in one instance.

It’s so hard to explain here.

Q: is attention ever ‘continuous’? We always have the rising and ceasing. It can be refined, but it is still coming and going… Can be refined… (there may be more frames in a picture, but still ‘cuts gaps]

The base of attention (is awareness—like a space). How attention comes—it pinpoints. Attention: the base of attention never comes and goes. In our reference with our attention (sometimes we make it on this or this), but the base is attention. WITHIN the attention we have jumps (this to this); when it jumps, we call this past, present, future, but when you STRETCH-the past present future are all in ONE: you still it PRESENT. So, your present is a bigger present.

“Your own maintaining doesn’t change, so your opponent cannot change you.”
~GM Sam FS Chin

Like you drive a car…and in front of you there’s so many cars, for instance. but you don’t see based just on the car in front of you…you’re not just looking right ahead: if you can look further ahead…5 cars in front of you making a brake, you’ll see that).

You have a SUDDEN FEELING (ooh, suddenly I have to stop)… but if you can ‘see’/sense/know further, then you don’t have a “sudden” feeling. If you only see instantaneous… if you can see

It’s a FUNCTION OF THE STRETCHING ACTION. The function of stretching—can you hold…if you’ can’t hold, you’ll only see separate/disparate) parts. That stretching is also one instant (so…it is sensing line)
Example: sensing line: sensing can sense 180 degrees instead of only 90: it’s range and scope is vaster—the area is bigger). Same function, same instant.

So, on the point of contact, can we do that? Within our self, can we do that (that stretching)? Yes? In order to do this first, you must be able to hold and maintain from ONE first. If you can’t do this, how can you for the 2nd, or 3rd, 4th, 5th. You have no way. That’s why this called ONE Pointedness first! This is how in meditation, too, the process of meditation works: able to hold one here first. And holding here ONE first! In the process of maintaining, you start to see what comes up to disturb you. When you see what’s come up to disturb you—it’s all your memories, all your past experiences. This is what you call meditation: to increase your attention: to see that clearly. And to see that that has been built up things.

So, in the process of training, we are using the reference of the POINT OF CONNECTING. With the point of connecting as a reference, we need to know to be able to maintain a point that is a center point! A center point is a neutral point. A center point that can change with the moment. That is changing with the moment. With the changing of the moment, that means the point itself is a present point, is a balance point.

*When I say ‘the present point is changing; a balance point is changing.’ That means in order to change you must be balanced: because the balance point is the changing point. So we’re training to look into the Quality. We train the point to see the quality. To maintain the quality.

That’ why we say how we train first how do you train the center? How are you going to train the center point? Yes? You can say I’m training 6 d to get the center point, because the center point needs to have the 6d. to have a center you need 6d—but how do you train this? Then you want to train forward backward, up down, left right in 1 INSTANT: not trying to do each separately. How to train ONENESS.

Now I’m training to explain the FUNCTION of quality. In order to train a center to have six dimension, it’s first about condense Expand has 6 directions: you do it together (simultaneously!) you can’t train separately and have a center: if you separate out or make distinct, but you’re not holding: EXPANDING AND CONDENSING together. That’s why we have the ex of Condense Expanding.

The characteristics of holding the center is through rotations: that means you’re doing the center also—to do CE: FROM ROTATION. That means the actions of movement are up down rotate to have condense and expand. With CE with rotation you must be able to see the direction of forward backward, up and down. Understand here.

Q: so, your entire being becomes the REFERENCE POINT yourself. I’ve had that experience while meditating but not while spinning hands.

A: that means while spinning you have to hold onto the feet—the Center of Gravity because that’s where the center point is established: where the feet/ground is 90 degrees o the mass. That is the firs center point! So, center point with rotation, condense and expand. With CE you have to see the 6d and the 3d. because of THESE references, we form the alignment: everything that goes out must return back to here; to this center point—this center point that forms the alignment. You must hold on here to connect and stretch out!

So, is your attention begin placed over here to hold, or not? Or, are you being unable even this instruction to train—within a few minutes are you doing something else already?

These are the things I want you to work on. Actually it’s so simple [but it’s not easy]. You have to convince yourself first—otherwise you won’t know if your mind is running off: to play and use a different reference. If your mind runs off to use the past reference can you catch it? Doing something else, more free is fine, but are you using this connecting reference or not?

Only by maintaining and hold can you ‘stretch’. If you can’t do this kind of stretching and connecting, so that if your mind shifts off, you must know—and bring it back. Actually, you can say—that’s ALL you need to train.

Q: is what you’ re referring to sometimes referred to as being ‘caught’ in the moment. I was in an ashram and my teacher suddenly said something and I suddenly became aware that I was in the very process of taking a step; I started to count 1,2,3,4,5 –and my foot wasn’t going to the ground. I was suddenly aware of everything in the moment. I do that in meditation, but there’s no reference… but I haven’t had such a level of awareness/clarity while spinning or working with a partner…it hasn’t happened.

©2017 Jack Meyers Photography


Sifu: it’s about being connected and linking… stretching and linking is SEEING. You can see longer. If you’re really in the moment it does seem that things do slow done; it’s not that they slow down but because you see things more clearly, it’s as if things slow down. It’s more of point of connecting and how you see further. You can see, slow down. Like when I touch you, to you guys, it seems so fact, but to me it seems as if you are somewhat ‘slowing’ down: I don’t experience it as “sudden.” If you are in the moment, there’s no such thing as ‘sudden,’ for you see the process: here, here, here. If you’re in the moment, you see the whole process. [returns to the car/accident analogy: if you don’t see the process)

If I come in contact with you, I see the process down to your feet; it doesn’t move at the point of contact; I already see the process up to there! IF, the student doesn’t see that, then he/she experiences it as ‘sudden.’ So that’s why I can do it before…

The strongest energy that reaches to the point of contact, I’ve already knocked it off somewhere else—I’ve already taken it away already! All the training is based on this. That means, connect: how many centers can you connect. The furthest center I can see—I can neutralize before it reaches the very last Point of Contact, because I’ve already connected so many centers. That’s why we train to say on the join we need to condense to have some tension joint-by-joint to feel: can you feel every joint? For joint is also where you have the separation and unification. So you can reel every joint of opponent—and his unification and separation. In order to connect, you need to link it and pressurize it. If you can’t pressurize it, you can’t link it and neutralize.

That means the pressure from Point of Contact through each joint must be the same pressure in order to connect. If you can’t do that, you can’t connect.

Q: do you have to link and the pressurize?

A. Sifu: you have to pressurize to link. To link you have the direction to connect first…but if you have the direction to connect but you can’t hold. So, in order to HOLD you need pressure. So, I can align but not also pressurize it along the way. So you have to be able to COORDINATE aligning and pressurizing.

The problem is…sometimes we align with the curve. So sometimes it’s harder… that means we need to pressurize every separation… by our yin yang muscles. Because our body is made up of bone , ligaments, tensions and yin yang muscles. Sometime you can just align and hit one time but you might be able to maintain. Yes, you can keep on one balancing and aligning—that’s ONE kind of linking.

THEN, you add on the ability to PRESSURIZE it too, to connect. You pressurize to unify it. So, when you can release the pressure, it disconnects; then, pressurize it and connect back. If not aligned, can’t even begin to do this. So, after aligned the pressurizing MAINTAINS. So pressurizing is the process of how to maintain.

**What we are working on first is center-to-center to connect. First c-to-c to ALIGN to connect. Then, once you’ve achieve that, PRESSURIZE it. There’s 2 interconnected processes: the first is aligning. So the exercise looks at aligning and then APPLIED TENSION. The tension you apply is to pressurize it. From these, pressuring and everything with the constant changing—the constant changing requires a balancing. We need to balance it in order to hold. Balance gives us the different directions. This is the training of how to go about maintaining the balance point by producing different directions.

When hand goes in, one energy out. When hand goes up, there’s one energy down. THIS is the balance point to hold you need a point to give a direction.
~GM Sam FS Chin

Q: the process of balancing itself gives the different directions…to maintain the point.

**[The META reference]: USING THE MAINTAINING OF THE POINT as a reference that ALSO has the relationship of HOW YOU GIVE DIFFERENT DIRECTION. [like the fish analog: head and tail…not just flicking hand each way: expanding to DO… the different of one direction energy… to produce the point here: produces the rotation to maintaining the point. To maintain the steady point…we need to have the balancing

When hand goes in, one energy out. When hand goes up, there’s one energy down. THIS is the balance point to hold you need a point to give a direction. Then, later on, it’s about producing a strong point, a pivot point. The fish can have no direction [Sifu elaborates example The direction of fish head/tail… [ex. of the plane landing sideways].

So, any rotation that produces opposite force—that’s why it produces the 6 direction force. Any ROTATION that produces counter force to get the direction moving straight. (if one side is more, then it will move off the course)

That’s why in spinning hand we’re doing the rotation; every rotation produces the counter energy: to hold the point and produce these. Only then can you say the circle of movement is formed. That’s why we say must have a circle with a center; a circle without a center is not really a circle. So, when you’re training you’re LOOKING for this. You’re not procuring circle Sifu you don’t have a center

**So, I want to see students working on this quality. If you’re not working on this quality ten you don’t know what are you doing! That’s why some ex on spinning we call you to grind the point; because grinding the point has a quality of skimming. Grinding has a spiking kind o energy: you need to maintain a point….grinding you need a center to grind. Can’t grind without. [where is it going TO and what are you holding)…otherwise slipping. Grinding need a 90/pt …. Grinding [like old grinding of rice or soy beans: the stones grinding] The grinding produces multiple direction energy. You must have equal energy here to move. Too much energy in one spot and you get stuck: can’t grind.

Q. you have to maintain ‘flat’

Sifu: you have to balance.

In the Oakland workshop I said that the tire is a very good example of the connecting point: the flow, fend, roll, and pivot. The first thing you need to maintain flow is the 90 degree to the center at Point of Contact.

Rolling is the changing of the point at 90. The 90 degree is also a pivot pt. An example of the tire is that the tire is always 90 degree on the ground. This one point is the fending energy (which means that 90 degrees is the maximum point): defending: nothing can go through here. It can’t go through, as if I have a shield here, then it’s fending: defending. When this 90 degree changes into another point, it’s called ROLL.

But Pivoting—that means that moment of the function OF ROLLING, when you’re holding that point, it’s called pivot. If that point skips, the car won’t run. If that point doesn’t change, then it holds, and the car moves. That MOMENT of holing (form one side to another side—before it changes to another pit) is called pivot. Once it changes, it’s called roll. And maintaining that point all the time it’s calls A BALANCE POINT. It’s ALWAYS A NEW POINT, but the 90-“degreeness” doesn’t change! That is called maintaining—it’s called balance point. That function of maintaining is called balance point: that’s called flow, fend, roll and pivot.

GM Sam Chin walks alone at MABA
©2017 Jack Meyers Photography

“If you’re not pressurized by yourself, you’re not aware, so your consciousness is not there. And your consciousness hasn’t yet been established. But, for me, I’ve already established a Point of Contact.”
~GM Sam FS Chin

Q: when the point is pivoting before it’s become another point?

Rolling and pivoting is so fast—the rolling and pivoting at the same time. IN that moment in between the point and the changing of the point it’s called maintaining.

Q it seems when you’re not holding [gravity force is always there, dropping the 90]?

Yes, in training, the action is to hold the tension over there; direct force (gravity dropping down), that’s how you maintain the CURVE.

That’s why in training we train to meet the force directly. The force directly means the force will come from the structure: it will still come from the bone. So, all action will be from the bone. It can’t be somewhere else.

Q: when you’re talking about aligning to pressurize and connect?

If you align you can STACK UP (but ‘pressurize’ means doing it evenly) … energy can still go through, but without pressurizing may NOT BE ENOUGH.

Q: how do you connect with me before I’ve connected with you?

Sifu: if you’re not pressurized by yourself, you’re not aware, so your consciousness is not there. And your consciousness hasn’t yet been established. But, for me, I’ve already established a Point of Contact. [like flat tire: tire has to be pressurized across the whole tire—the structure—if not equal, you’ll slip]. So the person with awareness. The pressurized tire knows everything.

**I Know You BETTER than you know yourself!

The balances are complementary! Tai chi balance is the complementary balance. You’re not balancing 2 of same things. You’re balancing one yin and one yang (not 2 yang) …

Q: is that the definition of why movement is even possible.

If there’s not hot and cold there’s no wind: because there’s not transfer, no complementary, no ‘change’. [It’s all relational]. That’s why if body builder does too much, they’re too stiff!

This is your body. If awareness isn’t there yet, you need to train and work on this!
Object, subject, consciousness. That means there are 3 things in the body or else there’s no Point of Contact. Because if I connect with the opponent, then I have the POC.

From here, hopefully we can come up with a list of the what you need to work on. You can see that all points back to one thing.

Sifu’s Recap of the morning session:

How to teach how teach how to learn how to teach. The direct experiential feel.
this morning I talk about the function, the conditions, how you look at things. The base of macrocosmic orbit. The direct feeling and experiential feel of that moment of how you approach rather than just empty words.

Make sure you understand that Tai Chi balance is complementary – of 2 different things. One backs up the other thing

The 3 Balances

  • The balance of the Body
  • The balance of the Movement
  • The balance of the Point of Contact

Hardware is the body that cannot be changed: the bones; the flow of yin yang
Software is the coordination of movement (how you do open close, expand condense)

Constantly adjusting, constantly maintaining, constantly changing: this is what permanence is: impermanence. Change is constant.
Your own maintaining doesn’t change, so your opponent cannot change you.
You maintain ‘change with the change’ not to change so you can’t change me (because I maintain!)

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