The Importance of the Wing Chun Centre Line Theory
The Centre Line Theory of Wing Chun is considered a major component of this martial art style, but why is it so important to understand? On a simplistic level, the centre line theory provides a guide to inflict damage on the human body. Yet on a conceptual level, the centre line theory offers a strategy for fighting and even self defence.
The Centre Line as a Guide to Striking
An important martial art concept within Wing Chun is the emphasise that attack and defence should be focused along an imaginary line drawn down the centre of the human body. This line joins the eyes, nose, throat, navel, knees, and groin as a central focus of attack and even defence. In essence, the centre line is the core of the human body.
Many consider that the human body's prime striking targets are on or near this centre line. For example, 108 vital points on the human body can be easily targeted by striking one point. However, if we simplify the notion of the centre line, it is simply the act of punching the core of the human body. In doing so, this facilitates the complete absorption of a punch, strike, or kick, and therefore causes more damage to the body.
Think of a hanging heavy bag, if you hit the edge of the bag (off centre) the bag will spin. Whereas, if you it the bag directly in the centre the bag will absorb the full impact of the punch. In the same fashion, blows that strike the body off-centre will spin or turn the torso, naturally deflecting some of the force. Hence, the objective in Wing Chun is to strike the centre of the body (the core) in order to cause the maximum impact in the most direct fashion.
When striking the centre of the body with explosive energy (Fa Geung) as developed in the 1st form (Sui Nim Tao) a devastating combination is achieved that literally shocks the human body. This effect occurs because the human body is complied mostly of fluid. It is the same as hitting a bucket of water with a hammer; but when hitting a person, the shock creates a ripple effect that disables the human body, even more so when applied to the solar plexus.
What the Centre Line Theory Really Means
To the initiated, the Wing Chun Centre Theory is much more sophisticated than a simple guide to hitting points on the human body. The theory relates more to the concept of moving efficiently and directly against an attacker. Wing Chun relies on the strategy of economy of motion, the ability to move efficiently to save time and energy. Essentially, when facing and attacking a person’s centre, you are effectively moving directly in a more efficient manner. Hence, the Wing Chun Centre Line Theory is the key strategy for fighting efficiently in self defence.
The centre line theory also extends to movement and footwork by indicating that a Wing Chun fighter should occupy the centre ground when facing an attacker in self defence. This not only allows for more efficient direct movement, but allows for better control of the attacker's personal space and movement.
An emphasis on the human centreline guides the way a Wing Chun practitioner will react to an attack. Hence, a Wing Chun fighter will always strive to protect his centreline, whilst persistently attacking his opponent's centre ground. However, footwork is vital it allows the Wing Chun practitioner to shift their centreline away from a dangerous attack in order to position the hands and legs to strike, attack, or invade an aggressor’s centreline.
However, correct application of the Wing Chun Centre Line Theory also provides the ability to to disrupt, off balance, and control an attacker by manipulating the person's centre of balance or core. Providing a blueprint of how to shift an attacker’s core in order to trip, up-root, or off balance, and even throw if required.
Overall, the centre line concept has physical and conceptual connotations for application in self defence or fighting. It is essentially the guiding strategy for fighting efficiently with Wing Chun. Yet, this theory makes an important contribution to martial arts practice.
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