Sam Chin: Founder of Zhong Xin Dao
English Name: Chin Fan Siong / Sam F.S. Chin
Chinese Name: 曾帆祥
D.O.B: August 1st, 1954
Master Sam F.S. Chin is the eldest son of the late I Liq Chuan founder, Grandmaster Chin Lik Keong. Born into a traditional Chinese-Malaysian martial art family, Master Sam Chin has dedicated his life to receiving the full transmission of the art.
Early on, young Sam Chin demonstrated the art’s effectiveness in a Selangor (Malaysia) full contact competition. In order to avoid competing against one of his father’s students, he chose to go up a weight category and nevertheless won the Super Heavyweight title fight while being much lighter than his opponent.
After introducing his father’s art in Australia, Sam Chin immigrated to the United States. He then spent the next ten years working and teaching martial arts at the famous Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York. There, he was immersed in a monastic environment. Having direct access to and building friendships with Dharma masters and scholars facilitated the process of Master Sam Chin integrating his martial skill through the study of the Buddhist tradition. At the Chuang Yen Monastery, Master Sam Chin was profoundly influenced by many individuals including Ven. Ji Ru, Ven. Shen-Ming, Ven. Achan Tong, and Ruey Teng Chen. A breakthrough occurred during Master Sam Chin’s attendance at a dynamic mindfulness and awareness retreat taught by a Thailand monk – Ven. Achan Tong. Master Sam Chin developed the ability to observe the vicissitudes of the mind and physical body, realizing back to simplicity and the base of origin. This started his inquiry into the neutral path, which later became The Path of I Liq Chuan, and eventually lead to the founding of Zhong Xin Dao in 2016. With this penetrating clarity, he introduced Zen philosophy into his family art. Master Sam F.S. Chin began to distill unifying principles, further clarifying the essential body mechanics and sensory experiences, and their relationship to mental awareness.
During this period he collaborated with his father to further deepen his understanding. Together they refined underlying principles, formalized the training process, and created both The 21 Form, The Butterfly Form, and the foundation exercises. These collaborations earned Sam Chin the acknowledgement of the full transmission of the art by his father, as well as the title of Master and co-founder of I Liq Chuan, all at the age of 42.
While some previous students of Grandmaster Chin Lik Keong continued to practice the earlier version of I Liq Chuan, father and son continued to develop and perfect their family art, now with Master Sam F.S. Chin leading the way.
In August of 2009, at the age of 55, Master Sam Chin was officially named the Gatekeeper / Lineage Holder of the art by his father. Since his time at the Chuang Yen Monastery, Master Sam Chin has integrated mindfulness cultivation practice into the I Liq Chuan curriculum. As the cultivation aspect has gained a prominent role, it eventually transitioned from cultivation as a tool for martial arts to martial arts as a tool for cultivation. Now, in 2016, it has become apparent that his method of cultivation through martial practice has developed into a complete discipline unto itself, which has lead him to found, name, and define his process of Zhong Xin Dao.
Zhong Xin Dao defines and names the idea most central to Master Sam Chin’s approach. His approach to learning and cultivation, as well as his understanding of the underlying principles of movement and nature. The Chinese word Zhong stands for CENTER / MIDDLE, Xin – for HEART / UNDERSTANDING, and Dao – for PATH. Master Sam Chin has often talked about the “Path” in learning the deeper aspects of his family’s art. His main concern has always been making sure that his students and his student’s students for all the generations to follow would be able to reach the “highest skill.” It is this passion that lead him to founding Zhong Xin Dao to emphasize the path itself.
Today, Master Sam F.S. Chin continues his teaching via workshops worldwide and resides in Pleasant Valley, New York with his wife.