My Way of Wing Chun

The Learning Curve

The Centre Line Part 1: A Definition?

One of the most important principles in Wing Chun is Centre Line Theory. In essence, this is a simple principle and once understood will help your practice no end. However, to understand Centre Line Theory we must take into account three “different” Centres.

The Centre Line, as can be seen in Fig 1, is the Centre Line which divides the body into two running vertically from the top of the head down through the body. It is this line that Wing Chun emphasises when attack- ing and defending. This line is called Jik Sin. When standing directly opposite your opponent, then your Jik Sins will also face each other. In this case, it is simple to work your line of attack. Fig 2.

Now we can introduce another “Centre”. This is a line that joins your Jik Sin to that of your opponent. This line is called the Meridian Line or Ji Ng Sin. More often than not, it is this line that we should really be concentrating on. Your Jik Sin on its own is merely another part of your body, what is important is its relationship to your opponent’s Jik Sin. This relationship or connection is defined by the Meridian Line. If your opponent was to turn so that he was not facing you such as in Fig 3 , you can still draw a the Meridian Line between your Jik Sin and his. In fact you can draw in this line at whatever angle you and your opponent are facing (Fig 4). Where the Meridian Line makes contact with your opponent is in fact where you should aim your attacks.

This is not too complicated so long as your opponent remains upright. However, the situation changes when he begins to lean forwards, backwards and takes up different postures or is even jumping. It is at this point we start to consider the third “Centre” and this is actually his Centre of Gravity.

All this does sound very complicated, but there is way to simplify things a little. When standing upright, your Centre of Gravity actually lies on the Jik Sin. Personally I find this to be a very important point in defining the Jik Sin. In fact I would go as far to say that the Jik Sin is defined by the perpendicular line that runs through the Centre of Gravity. Therefore no matter what angle your opponent is leaning, you can work out his Jik Sin and so find the Meridian Line.

All that remains is for you to be able to see naturally where his Jik Sin and so his Centre of Gravity is. But the only way to do this is through a lot of practice and “training your eyes” so you can see it straight away.

Now I hear you say, “Ah, but what if the opponent is leaning so his Jik Sin does not pass through his head? Surely it is better to attack the head rather than the Jik Sin?” This is a good question, since it is the head that does control the body. Even if you attack the opponent’s Jik Sin/Centre of Gravity, he may fall, but if he can think clearly he can attack back. This highlights a very important point. The Jik Sin is very important, but it is not the only thing to consider. As for the answer … you can decide for yourself.

Sources:
[1] Darryl Moy, The Centre Line Part 1: A Definition?, Qi Magazine no. 48, pp. 13 (Apr 2000)

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