The "six directions", "balanced in six directions", etc., is a famous statement in higher-level Chinese martial training which is mainly famous because it refers to the esoteric training of power in stances, yet you can toss it out in front of the layman and he thinks you're talking about being aware or being ready all around you.
interesting...I'll reread that after keiko tonight. You usually hear about 4 and 8 directions for the 'awareness' aspect. The up and down are certainly unusuall. I probably didn't know enough when I first read that to notice anything strange. Thanks!
Oh, when you say chinese, are you refering to shaolin type stuff, or the more internal arts? (pardon any errors due to my not understanding this stuff too well)