Zhong Xin Dao is the cultivation process of the art of I Liq Chuan, named by Grand Master Sam Chin in January 2016.

Chinese is a language rich in layered symbolism and meaning. To translate Zhong Xin Dao into English as ‘The Neutral Way’ or ‘Middle Way’ would be an oversimplification. In order to help guide your exploration, here is a list of applicable interpretations:

Zhong – 中 – zhōng

1. center, middle, inside, heart
2. central
3. in the midst, in the process, in the middle, in the course, throughout
4. moderate, medium, intermediary
5. neutral
6. hit (target)
7. attain
8. to hit the mark, to hit the target, to be correct, to be successful

Xin – 心 – xīn

1. mind, heart, spirit, soul; thoughts, ideas
2. attention, mind, interest, intention
3. heart, inner feelings, emotion, emotional state
4. wholeheartedness, sincerity, true heart
5. sympathy, heart, consideration, generous disposition
6. meaning, center, core, essence; answer (as to a riddle)
7. heart, mind, core; spirit, vitality; inner strength, marrow

Dao – 道 -dào

1. word
2. way, path, road
3. method, way
4. the way

Philosophy: The Way As it Is  (Tao) / The Suchness Feel (Zen)

Recognizing nature as it is. The way things are…nature has no freedom. It has its own alchemy, its own characteristic. But if you can merge with nature itself, you will be the most free.

Concept: There is nothing to learn or to accumulate.

If nature has no freedom, there is nothing to add or take away, but only to realize and recognize. If you add or take anything away, you interrupt nature. So, there is nothing to learn. You must be with nature to understand it. Nature is “as such;” the way that it is; the way things are. So the concept is: there is nothing to learn, because it is already there.

So how are we going to learn if there is nothing to learn? We learn through recognizing and realizing what is what. You cannot think. You cannot imitate. You cannot train to accumulate. If you perform a movement over and over without the right mindset, what you train will turn into a subconscious reflex (second nature) and become a habit. So you must train total awareness, total consciousness of nature.

How to be mindful to turn yourself into a receiver? Using your six senses upon contact (with an opponent), there is a period of recognizing, but the change of nature happens so fast, we cannot maintain our awareness in the moment and we fall back into thinking or responding (which is in the past). We are with nature briefly, but then it has moved on but we have not moved with it. So the training is to maintain the process of recognizing.


Principles: Neutral

  • Mental Neutral – Develop mindfulness, concentration, and awareness to become present, formless and neutral to flow with nature.
  • Physical Neutral – Center, 6 energies and 3 dimensions

The quality of nature is the present moment. The character of the present is change. Further, the change is based on the conditions. So, you must change with change to be present to see the present to be with nature. You must be open to receive what is happening. You must become neutral. This is the first requirement; the correct view point from which to approach your training and will lead to right understanding. Otherwise, you are judging nature through past experience.

The approach of how to train to follow along with (or obey) the philosophy and concepts, you must understand the principle of neutral—mental and physical neutral. We need to maintain the neutral in order to change, to be aware so we can flow with nature.

Physical neutral starts with the center. But there are many centers. We have a center, our opponent has a center, the earth has a center, etc. How do you get to and maintain our physical center—the line that holds yin and yang together into complimentary forces? The yin and yang of the body must be complimentary, not opposite, but a cycle to maintain the center. This is the power of balance and harmony (e.g. water finds balance).

If there is a center, there is a circumference. Circumferences have six directional energies (up/down, front/back, left/right) and three dimensions (XYZ planes). This is spherical energy, like a globe. It is primordial energy (back to origin). All movement is correctly born out of this neutral 3-dimensional force. All things manifest upon point of contact, presumably because this is when and where multiple spheres (e.g. yours and your opponents) interact. And these spheres are dynamic, always changing.

You must maintain physical and metal neutral, flowing with the present moment, changing with change at the point of contact. Then awareness grows and you start to know.

Still want more? Okay, below is more discussion on the philosophy of ILC, obtained from Grandmaster Chin’s book: I Liq Chuan, Martial Art of Awareness. Also, we recommend you listen to Sifu Chin’s video on Philosophy, Concepts, and Principles here:

One of Two

Two of Two

I Liq Chuan embodies its philosophy—“The Way As It Is”—in application. The art is a “moving meditation.” For example, imagine two people walking. While there is no outer difference between the two people, there may be a vast inner difference. One person may walk with his mind in another world, not even realizing she or he is walking. The person may be thinking about other things in life and thereby forgetting to be in the moment, while the other person may be totally in the moment. To see the true nature of things, we have to be in the present moment (process) with the right state of consciousness to flow with the process to observe and merge with the conditions.

In this art we learn to break away from the unconscious; we learn to activate the subconscious mind to be conscious at all times. If you can be conscious at all times, then you will not be attached and you will be able to recognize and breakaway from habits and emotions that effect you.

The philosophy underlying I Liq Chuan involves the very simple concept of making an active choice to be fully aware of the present moment, by being aware of the sounds around you, your breathing, your visual perception, and the feel of the atmosphere on your skin. Observe how thoughts pop into the mind, but don’t let them take your awareness away. By not arguing or mentally conversing with the thought, you will be free from its control. Then the thought will leave and you will continue being aware.

This Art is the Cultivation of the Conscious Mind:

  1. To unify the mental & physical
  2. To unify self (mental/physical) with opponent and environment
  3. To see and feel the conditions while staying both mentally and physically in the process of present, formless, and neutral
  4. To be free of control from emotions such as anger, greed, ego, hate etc.

All emotions involve reasoning with intent, which is inherently flawed. Cultivation of the conscious mind we need to recognize how consciousness arises. It is of the six sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind) and six sense objects (form, sound, odor, taste, touch, idea or thought) coming into contact that causes consciousness.

It’s on the sense of contact point which we need to train, mindful whether the action of reaction over the point of contact is from: 1) our habitual reflex actions (a product of mental expressions of our accumulated past experiences), or 2) acting according to its present conditions as it is. In the conscious mind it is essential to recognize the distinction between concentration and awareness. Concentration involves limiting your focus to a single object. Awareness is reflection of the process and uses concentration to encompass all of your senses that is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the cause and awareness is the effect. It is like a chopper knife the sharp edge is awareness while the thick blunt back is concentration. The thick and heavy back gives force for the sharp edge to cut through to the true nature. Rather than reaching out to receive, open up your senses and let the information come to you. Turn yourself into a receiver rather than making judgments from your past experience and knowledge; let nature speak for itself!

Being in the present involves no judgment. Judgment brings in previous experience and knowledge. This art is based on being in the present moment. If you make a judgment you are training incorrectly because you are not sensing the present moment.

When you build up mindfulness you can sense everything that an opponent will do, by his/her energy, his/her words, or a movement of his/her hands, you can sense it. By applying and realizing this philosophy, more of life opens up to you because your ability of immediate perception has increased. What might seem like a sixth sense to others, is really just seeing things happening from their base of origin, you see the causes and effects that led up to the present moment. Through awareness students are not copying another person, they are learning to be themselves through self-realization.