Wednesday, December 04, 2013

James W. DeMile - Applied Centerline Concept

Source Photo:  James DeMile


The centerline is an imaginary line extending outward from the center of your chest and runs through your nose and navel area. It is a guideline for splitting the body in half. It splits the perimeters as a guideline to follow with your hands to minimize movement. Right hand in right side, left hand in left side. The centerline is for learning purposes to teach the right and left hands to work independent of each other. The centerline is an exercise line to understand efficiency in training and technique.

Centerline Application Concept

The centerline concept allows each hand to act independently of the other while keeping the body in such a position that you can touch your opponent with either hand at any time. There are two important reasons for the centerline existing. First, it allows both hands to touch the opponent at any time and it allows your own centerline to be on the opponent. Second, the centerline creates a power base for both hands to function in a strong manner. It creates a stable base and power flow. It allows you to have spontaneous energy flow with both hands and adaptable to the opponents offensive/defensive actions. It is important that the centerline concept becomes a feeling and part of your natural expression of technique. You want the concept to be a natural part of you. The centerline concept creates a very powerful attack to operate from. The centerline concept is important in trapping and the different power bases. The centerline concept allows for an upper torso power base to exist equally for both the right and left sides. It acts to keep the base solid and allows each arm to remain powerful. It makes it a strong base which is hard to disturb.

This is a simple concept but one of the most important principle in the Wing Chun Do system.

Bruce was very adamant about our being aware of when our centerline was broken. The efficiency of trapping and sticking hands (phon sao and chi sao) as well as the lin sit die dar (multiple attack theory) relies to a great extent on this one concept. To break the centerline weakens the versatility of this theory. Using both hands independently of one another, yet having them work together as a team, allows for a much wider range of effective inside techniques. Since both hands can function offensively, defensively or both, this gives the opportunity to perform double hand techniques.

Chi sao is where this concept is first introduced as a flowing applied technique.

Maintaining your centerline (keeping square to the opponent) gives you the opportunity to perform double hand techniques and this greatly restricts the opponent's offensive potential. This concept allows for a wider range of inside technique since both hands are functioning both offensively and defensively or both at the same time. Keeping the centerline constant allows maximum use of energy flow since it is flowing directly toward the opponent.

The centerline is for a natural line of power that allows you to centralize and flow. It will really reduce down his capability where he will have to use more effort to set you off your base. Violating the centerline makes one side shorter and opens the gate to be attacked. Even a small floating of the centerline weakens this base. It can be floated but not more than 20°. It can also be pivoted in preparation of the opponent.

The centerline will reduce down the opponent's ability because he will use more effort and excessive energy to disrupt you off your base.

Centerline Concept Exercise.

Feel the difference in power base when the centerline is maintained and when it is off. You can weaken the opponent's power base by pulling on the lead side and neutralizing the other. Have the primary stand square to you with his centerline maintained. Have the primary stand very strong by having one foot forward of the other to have a stable position.

Pulling on one arm, pull the primary towards you and have him resist you. The primary should have fairly good structural stability because his shoulders are square. Have the primary turn slightly to break the centerline. Pull on the primary and have him resist. The same strength will now really pull the primary off his base. The reason is because the primary's energy is no longer flowing directly at the you. The energy flows off to the side and it crosses itself to make it weak.

Floating Centerline.

Floating centerline means that you are floating off of your legs. There are times in which you will float the centerline because it is easy to recover from. You are not violating the centerline but you are floating it. This is acceptable, especially if you are in touch with the opponent. Float the centerline no more than 20°. The floating centerline allows the body to flow in its technique.

When trapping your opponent, you may bend the centerline to the right or left as much as, but no more than 20°. This allows you to pivot your energy and express it in a more explosive manner. The floating centerline floats off the hips and knees so that you can accentuate your technique. It can be done anytime relating to inside the kill range perimeter. You are deviating it in a slight enough arc that you actually still have high control over both arms. In other words, you still have individual potential. At the same time, you want to be able to have as much as possible control over the opponent to a certain degree just to minimize his options.

Since you are inside the kill range perimeter, you are using the floating centerline for extra power and strength to each movement that you are going through. By floating, it gives that little emphasis on the technique. Floating can be generally done inside the kill range perimeter as long as you honor certain basic things relative to restricting the opponent's movements. He does not have to be immobilized but he definitely should be restricted. The reason he does not have to be immobilized is because you still have freedom with both of your arms as long as you do not deviate more than 20°. You do not really need much to generate a power.

Pivoting Centerline.

Pivoting centerline is a more exaggerated movement of the body in shifting the centerline. You can use the pivoting centerline when you have control of the opponent with a lop sao motion. You have control and redirecting his energy as you are pivoting your centerline. Pivoting means that you pivot to about 45° and passing the floating range of 10 to 20°. Pivoting centerline is blending the centerline to adjust the change of the position of the opponent. You shift your body to maintain your centerline constant.

Sometimes because of the opponent's motion, you must pivot your body in order to keep your centerline constant. This is referred to as the pivoting centerline. Application will be covered in the spontaneous closed bi jong and pivoting exercises.

The pivoting centerline is to alter your centerline to adapt to the opponent. It is a way to maintain your centerline on the opponent when he shifts position. In pivoting centerline, you must immobilize your opponent in order to pivot. You can pivot and follow his movement but in order for you to pivot intentionally during technique, you are going to have to immobilize and trap him so that he cannot move.

You are physically breaking your centerline and weakening your upper torso power base. In lop sao, rather than just to follow his motion, you lop sao in such a way that you have a high degree of control and it adds tremendous power to your technique with that pivot. You are maintaining your basic centerline. It is the degree of the pivot that makes it dangerous so you must control your opponent while you are doing it. It is alright to pivot with that control.

Pivoting Off The Heels.

Pivoting off the balls of your feet creates an arching action which makes you lose forward energy. It swings the energy outward and upward in a committed motion. When you pivot off the heels, you can pivot forward and maintain forward energy. By pivoting off the heels, you have a strong base and forward flow of energy. When you torque your body, it is off the heels so that you can maintain constant energy flow.

Classical Wing Chun Centerline.

My opinion of the classical Wing Chun's theory on the centerline is quite different from the centerline concept in Wing Chun Do. They do not have the two concepts for why the centerline exist. In application, they do not honor the centerline and usually they break it when applying technique. They have the idea of the centerline and speak of it but they do not honor it.

Wing Chun does not function with the centerline and the application of it is not there. The only thing they have that deals with the centerline is to control the centerline by punching through the centerline. In classical Wing Chun, the centerline is a straight line extending from the solar plexus to the opponent's chin. The idea is to keep the Wing Chun punches inside the opponent's straight punches. The Wing Chun punches travel a shorter distance and thus strikes first.

The Wing Chun centerline consists of a series of imaginary straight lines. One horizontal line traveling from the Wing Chun fighter's solar plexus to his opponent's chin. One vertical line which travels down the center of the Wing Chun fighter's body. Another vertical line which similarly moves down the center of the opponent's body. Together these imaginary lines define the theoretical framework of the classical Wing Chun centerline.

Posted to Facebook Nov 19, 2013

You can contact Sijo James W. DeMile via his Wing Chun do Site or Facebook.

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