Master Gabriel Chin

Master Gabriel Chin (1920 – 2005)gabrielsmall

Lineage Elder

Born in Shandong Province, China, Master Chin trained in Tai-Chi with many teachers starting at age 16 and became a Master in the 4th Generation Yang Style Lineage. Besides being a remarkably powerful practitioner, he was what the Chinese call an “eight sided beauty”: a renaissance man gifted in many areas. In addition to teaching Tai-Chi for more than 50 years, at different times he was a professor, soldier, opera singer, chef, and professional athlete. He was also a poet, scholar, and master calligrapher. Gabriel was especially renowned for his powerful healing ability, which was studied in a scientific trial by the University of Michigan Medical Center. He moved from Taiwan to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1971.

More on Master Chin:

One of my senior classmates told me this story of Master Chin. This is before my time and it serves as a precious story to me that allowed me an insight in to my teacher’s heart.

Master Chin used to host these amazing Thanksgiving Dinners. One time he got the idea that the true thanksgiving spirit was to find a homeless person and feed them. He believed that action showed what your true beliefs were. He would often comment that there is knowledge and then there is knowing. Knowledge is useless since it is only in the head, but knowing means you have the ability to execute your knowledge and thus is real. So to show real love he went out and found a homeless person.

At first the man was a bit apprehensive since he wasn’t sure why Master Chin was so insistent on bringing him home. Gabriel had him take a bath, got him some new clothes, and then fed him a 12 course Thanksgiving meal made from all the different parts of the turkey! The man started returning every year for Thanksgiving. This was the kind of person Master Chin was. Very giving and very broad minded.

But he was not just magnanimous. He was also very caring in small ways. He was Tai-Chi, opposite extremes. He would often say, “The secret is in the detail”. He never missed anything. I remember a Thanksgiving dinner I myself had with Master Chin, when we were all supposed to come and help him prepare. I showed up late, and by the time I arrived, all the other people had been there since early in the morning to prepare, and had already eaten brunch.

When I came in there was a cooked sweet potato sitting on the table. I have a great passion for sweet potato and Gabriel knew it. He had saved that precious sweet potato for me and wouldn’t let anyone have it, even though I was late. I ate it with lumps in my throat. Master Chin was the kind of person who would care for these small little details. He was bigger than life, but he also didn’t miss the little guys. This is my teacher.