Wing Tchun Do USA
One of the first things we learn in Wing Tchun Do is Sil Lim Tau "Little Idea" the first of four empty hand forms and its concepts.We start with center line theory, facing the opponent square-on, to achieve a favorable position even before the combat has started. If you are face to face with an opponent, the shortest distance to the opponent is a straight line from your center to the opponent's center. If you put your Jong Sau "ready stance" toward your opponent's vertical axis you occupy the center line. Two physical objects can't occupy the center at the same space at the same time. If a straight-line strike comes toward your face and you stick your hand in the center, then that strike will be deflected away from the centerline.
There is a vertical centerline which runs parallel to the vertical axis of the body. There is also a horizontal centerline which runs from your vertical centerline to the opponent's vertical centerline.
In Wing Tchun Do we try to face our opponent's center line. We don't let the opponent get to our side. One's goal is to maintain proper facing. In fact, in a fight we can't always maintain this facing, both bodies are in motion which keeps the centerline in motion. It takes footwork and proper turning of stance to maintain control of the centerline. When your opponent's does not maintain his centerline a hole is created and a path for your strike is formed. The hands follows the movement of the body, and the waist and the stance move together. When you have a perfect center position it's difficult for an opponent to penetrate this position with any kind of attack.
If an opponent uses brute strength to break down the center, he'll be stiff and can be pushed, pulled, jerked or easily unbalanced. The other option is that the opponent's strength will encounter nothingness from your relaxed, soft feeling. Or when their hard force comes we pivot or shift so the hard force is redirected. The opponent will face the wrong way and we will point at their central axis.
If an opponent attempts to kick, while engaged this attempt can be felt in the hands and a pushing/pulling force or stepping in will unbalance them. Since we are human, mistakes are made, the most common mistakes are, unstable stance, off center to the left, off center to the right, hands too high, hands too low, hands too stiff, hands too soft, not sensitive, slow reactions and contact between the arms too loose.
We can all improve our Wing Tchun Do by following the centerline theory by practicing the Sil Lim Tau form daily.
Written By Sifu Jody Hill