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Wing Chun Kung Fu is a logical and scientific martial art which uses principles of physics and biomechanics to teach students how to defend themselves effectively in real-life self defence situations.
This section introduces two of Wing Chun's core concepts; the centreline theory and stance and guard.
The centreline is a straight line drawn from the centre of the Wing Chun exponent's body to the centre of their opponent's body. It is the shortest and most direct path along which to attack and defend.
Strikes down the centreline such as the Wing Chun straight punch or palm strike have less distance to travel and are much faster than strikes which curve or deviate from the centreline.
In a situation where the Wing Chun exponent is caught off centre, instead of disengaging, the Wing Chun exponent will quickly redirect their opponent to regain control of the centreline and then continue striking through.
Centreline theory allows the Wing Chun exponent to maximise their force by ensuring that their body's centre of mass is behind every attack and defence. An example of the incredible amount of force that can be generated by a close-range centreline punch is Grandmaster Jim Fung's famous one-inch punch.
Stance and Guard
Wing Chun's front-on stance and guard has several distinct advantages over side-on stances:
- It allows the Wing Chun exponent to use their arms and legs to protect their entire body, with an emphasis on protecting the body's vital organs - most of which are located along a vertical line which runs down the centre of the body.
- It does not expose vulnerable blind spots to the opponent, such as the back of the body.
- It allows the Wing Chun exponent to strike quickly and without warning from both sides of their body instead of disadvantaging one side in favour of the other.
- It allows the Wing Chun exponent to use up to three limbs at once.
Most importantly, the stance forms the basis of Wing Chun's internal structure, which allows the Wing Chun exponent to overcome and generate large amounts of force in a relaxed state.
The Application of Centreline Theory to Defence
The position of the Wing Chun guard on the centreline forces the opponent to deviate from the centreline to strike around the guard, causing him to waste time and leave himself open to attack. A strike directed at the Wing Chun exponent's guard is easy deflected by a centreline punch.
Centreline theory is also applied when kicking and defending against kicks, and in many instances allows the Wing Chun exponent to defend themselves whilst simultaneously attacking their opponent.
The Adaptability of the Wing Chun Stance and Guard
The Wing Chun stance is extremely mobile and allows the Wing Chun exponent to move quickly from their centre of mass in any direction.
Due to the advantages of a square-on (or front-on) stance, the Wing Chun exponent will always try to remain square on to their opponent. This is easily achieved through a small pivot of the body.
Even when they are not square-on to their opponent, the Wing Chun exponent may still defend themselves effectively as the centreline automatically adapts to their opponent's position.
This allows the Wing Chun exponent to respond efficiently and effectively to an attack from the side when there is not enough time to turn to face the opponent square-on.
In appropriate situations, kicks may also be delivered to the side of the body.
An Effective Form of Self Defence
The centreline theory and stance and guard are two examples of the comprehensive and refined theoretical foundation of the Wing Chun system.
In the next section, Five Principles, you will see how Wing Chun's centreline theory and stance and guard make it devastatingly effective in real-life self defence situations.