Zhong Xin Dao 中心道 / I-Liq Chuan 意力拳
Zhong Xin Dao (中心道) translates as “Center Path” or “Way of the Middle”, and I-Liq Chuan (意力拳) translates as “Mental-Physical Fist.” I-Liq Chuan is often referred to as the “Martial Art of Awareness” due to its emphasis on mindfulness training as the foundation for martial skill. Training in the art improves mental focus, calms the mind, improves balance, heightens body awareness, and develops naturally powerful and graceful movement.
I-Liq Chuan originated in Malaysia and was the family art of the Chin family. The founder of the art, Grandmaster Chin Lik-Keong (曾力強), studied several martial arts. The three arts with the largest influence on the development of ILC were Lee style (Sifu Lee Kam Chow), Phoenix Eye, and Feng Yang Lu Yi. The last art is sometimes also referred to as Lu Yie Pa Kua, Hsing-I Pa Kua, or Liew Mun Pai (nomadic clan art); this nomadic art was originally a hidden art meant for protection on the open roads and not taught openly.
During his research, the grandmaster dissolved the arts he previously learned into basic movements in accordance with the nature of the human structure. He coalesced his research into a new style. The new art was sufficiently distinct that he was uncomfortable with classifying it under any of the previous arts. Instead, the grandmaster chose to name the art I-Liq Chuan.
Grandmaster Chin Lik Keong formed the Malaysian I-Liq Chuan association in 1976 and has been teaching the art in Malaysia. He passed the art on to his son, Master Sam F.S. Chin, who now lives in New York and graciously shares the art with practitioners in the U.S. and internationally.
Zhong Xin Dao was added to the system name in 2016 to emphasize the philosophical approach to cultivating the art. The mental and physical aspects of the training start from a neutral or center reference to achieve understanding of the art. From this we arrive at the Dao (道, the way or path) to ZhongXin (中心, the heart/core/center), i.e. ZhongXinDao (中心道).
I-Liq Chuan training includes two parts: unifying the self and unifying with a partner/opponent. Initially, training focuses more on the unification of the self via solo exercises and the 21 and butterfly forms to develop the foundation of body awareness and an understanding of basic body mechanics. As the ILC practitioner gains more proficiency in maintaining body unity, progressively more partner exercises (spinning and sticky hands drills) are incorporated into training to develop an ability to harmonize with an opponent.
Mindfulness training is prevalent in all phases of the training, even in the martial aspects of the partner training. Higher levels of skill and understanding depend on the practitioner being able to be perceive the conditions of the moment in order to flow and harmonize. In addition to establishing unified body movement, ILC training also incorporates meditative practice to train mental focus.