Workshop by Master Sam Chin in Perth
By KE Qing Hai
Perth I Liq Chuan practitioners were very fortunate to be treated to a workshop by Master Sam Chin at the YMCA in Leederville on the weekend of 6 and 7 January 2018.
Given the small but growing band of practitioners in Perth, it was a rare honour. Especially in the light of the fact that the Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan movement has been growing strongly in recent years in the rest of the world.
The Perth club in Leederville is the oldest in Australia. It is also the first school outside of Malaysia, one of the oldest in the world, a happy result of Master Sam’s family connections with Perth.
About 25 people attended the two-day workshop over a weekend. It was a testament to the efforts of David May and Des Morgan that such a big group turned up on short notice.
For this member, the workshop was an eye-opener. It is natural for most people to equate speed, strength and over action with “getting somewhere” or “achieving something”-whether that be fitness, skill or experience in life in general. But Master Sam reminded us of the true nature of things when he sat everyone down at the beginning of the workshop.
I am sure that a few of us thought, “Uh oh, are we going to spend this weekend listening to a lecture?” when Master Sam began to speak. However, as he spoke, all those present were drawn into the mystical foundations of this martial art.
He linked the stillness at the heart of the universe as imagined by ancient Daoists to the stillness that we need to seek at the point of contact with our adversaries. He connected the ancient Chinese idea of the yin and the yang to the balance that we seek when we engage with an opponent. He drew the analogy between the ideas of time and space as explored by mystics and the strategy within I Liq Chuan of seeking to occupy space to remove an opponent’s threat, thereby conquering the time that opponent has to mount an attack.
After a talk befitting of a spiritual guru, Master Sam then got us all into physical action. He covered a wide range of technical topics within the art, reminding all of us that the topics were many and subtle. We experimented with junction points, vector forces, pivot points, skimming, structure, cycles, quadrants, spheres, alignment, “first touch” and much more.
When Master Sam put us through various exercises, he got us thinking about combining the I, the Qi and the Li as well as the strategies of “2 to 1” and ‘’1 to 2” plus the relationship between the point of contact and the direction of energy.
Many moves that sounded familiar to us participants from experience prior to the workshop were reviewed and refined by Master Sam and his son, Hsin who was an able assistant. What seemed like basic moves took on deeper and deeper meanings.
The highlights of the workshop were of course when Master Sam demonstrated some stances and moves. He was quietly spectacular, whether in being immovable when participants tried to push him over (at his request), or controlling a student by using one finger to dominate her forearm, or laying hands on another person and directing his energy to the part of that person’s body at will.
The weekend was not long enough for the participants. But all were left inspired to dig deeper into an art that is both deceptively soft, yet founded on solid principles, techniques and a profound guiding philosophy.
The general mood was that all participants went away satisfied and inspired. We all resolved to practice more, with key teachings by Master Sam high in our consciousness, including the idea that we students of Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan strive to learn how to ”not fight”, but instead to learn how to cultivate the self and apply the principles of the art to other areas of one’s life. David May, Des Morgan and Bevan Castle successfully went through high level grading for instructor and student levels in separate training with Master Sam.
The excellent response to this workshop has encouraged the organisers to think about planning another workshop by Master Sam, in Perth.