In sharing Zhong Xin Dao, I am often asked if I continue to practice the arts I've previously studied. The answer is no and the answer is yes. In October (2014) I will turn 50 and will have been diligently training for 40 years. How can one erase or even separate out the effects of such duration written on the body and mind? It's not possible. My previous practice is deeply inscribed on my perceptions, views and approach to life. According to this I must say, "Yes, I still practice". However, I choose to empty my cup in order to learn. When practicing Zhong Xin Dao, I practice only Zhong Xin Dao. According to this, "No, I do not practice".
The question that is really being asked is "Why do you study Zhong Xin Dao?" or "What is the value of Zhong Xin Dao" or, after learning about the depth, quality and scope of my previous lineage, "Is Zhong Xin Dao Better?". The answer is always "It depends". For me, I take very seriously the idea that we grow and change continuously throughout our lives. If this lifelong process is acknowledged and consciously directed I call this self-cultivation. Self-cultivation is what I do and have always done. Since childhood the training methods I have enjoyed most are from NeiJia systems (Chinese Internal Martial Arts). True growth requires iron discipline. The kinds of people who are attracted to Zhong Xin Dao like to train long and well, so Zhong Xin Dao is better for me.
Zhong Xin Dao is a living art. The co-founders are father and son and are still teaching publicly. This matters to me. It is why I chose to become a disciple. (Note: Since this was written, Sijo Chin has passed)
As some of you know, I was born 10 weeks early and at age 8 I had a childhood disease that kills or paralyzes 99% of victims. I was fortunate to survive birth and disease with minor neurological damage and some dura matter scarring. Competitive swimming, weightlifting, kickboxing, heavy manual labor and life's stresses made me a back surgery candidate by age 30. I chose to train my way out of it. Approaching 50, I'm better in every way than at 20. All the postural and 99% of the the neurological damage is resolved. The heavy yin emphasis of my previous training was not able to restore full range of motion and addressed none of the specific neurological damage on my left side. Zhong Xin Dao's precisely balanced view of Tai Chi Principles and vigorous partner training enabled me continue my healing process.
I seek the intensive retreat training format. Neuroscience clearly shows that real change requires intensive, immersive and sustained efforts. The worldwide Zhong Xin Dao training community provides many opportunities for this sort of experience.
I value real world testing. We systematically test ourselves.
The Zhong Xin Dao curriculum has been developed in English without losing its authenticity. This constantly amazes me. Never would I have expected to be so fortunate.
I hope no one takes this as a criticism of their practice. I received great benefits from my previous training and am grateful to my teachers. My lifelong cultivation continues as a practitioner, instructor and disciple of Zhong Xin Dao - Sam Chin Way.