Centerline Theory and Wing Chun Mindset: Where it works and doesn't?

Argus

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I am a strong proponent of/believer in center-line theory as it applies to Wing Chun, and even related Martial Arts. I believe that this is what makes Wing Chun work as a cohesive and viable system, and it's something that should not just be talked about in theory, but put into habitual practice. Centerline theory, which, I might to some degree be conflating with "facing" (chiu-ying? Not confident that I am remembering or spelling correctly the chinese term), describes a focus on, and occupation of the central line between myself and the opponent, and any force, as much as possible, should be towards my opponent on this line, not outwardly or inwardly past it. In this sense, every movement, and force, is directly threatening my opponent. This makes simultaneous attack and defense, and concepts such as lat-sao-jik-chung viable and automatic, and it tends to keep one safe from linear, and in many cases circular attacks that an opponent might launch.

I've found this utter and unrelenting insistence on chasing and occupying the centerline to be of huge advantage, both in an empty hand context, and in a historical fencing context. People have a natural tendency to over-react and want to "swat the flies" if you will, and I've had great success playing with other martial artists by simply yielding to any outwards force and entering as the center is opened for me by my opponent, or simply claiming the center first and hitting or thrusting while remaining on the line.

But there seems to be a middle ground where this insistence on the centerline, and on facing, doesn't work so well, and that is when short weapons, particularly short bladed weapons, are involved, and all the more so when an opponent is armed with a weapon of that description and you aren't. This is the realm of FMA, and, while centerline theory certainly is present there, I notice that it isn't always adhered to quite in the same way or with the same strictness as it is in Wing Chun.

Here's a concrete example. I have a very deadly habit of, even after all of the knife tapping and related training that I've done in FMA, habitually trying to use an inside gan-sau to cover wide low-line thusts against a knife wielding attacker. And, it never works. But it's such a habit for me, because I sense that I am on the centerline and have the advantage in position and facing, which I would in an unarmed context. Unfortunately, the added extension of a knife, and the consideration that forceful impact is not needed to cause severe damage, as with a punch, means that the opponent can simply thrust right around/through my defense. The much safer way of defending this, which is generally taught in FMA, is to use an outside gan-sau of sorts. But when the opponent is coming from such a wide angle, this means that you have to completely give up the centerline and turn to face the attack. Even a sideways step is not nearly enough (or quick enough, in many cases) to reorient your center such that you can bring the opposite hand into play to achieve an outside parry.

Now, I would never, ever turn my entire body to face and chase the hand if someone were throwing a wide, open punch in Wing Chun. I'd just enter, and, if necessary due to timing, put up a hand to intercept their attack. That is an ingrained habit at this point. But, one can see how it doesn't quite work when a knife is involved.

So, one winds up having to completely change facing, give up the centerline, and in effect "chase hands" to effectively defend from some attacks when there is a knife. Not to mention that having the hands themselves be cut is now a pertinent concern which, again, makes many Wing Chun habits potentially dangerous.

Interestingly enough, Wing Chun's principles and theories work excellently where long bladed weapons are concerned - especially those with developed hand-guards which can be safely used in a very linear fashion, as is the case in historical fencing however. Again, at this point, both practitioners have reach and matched weapon sets such that a focus on the core/centerline is once again possible. The hands are of course vulnerable, but staying outside of measure and attempting to snipe the hands is not the goal; one might as well with draw the hand or disengage entirely from such an opponent, and such attempts can be used to gain leverage on the strong of your sword, bind, and enter with a direct thrust regardless. Wing Chun and fencing are so similar in principle and function, in fact, that I consider them to be utterly the same in concept and principle, just with slightly different weapons and mechanics involved.

So, how does one deal with this awkward mismatched middle ground that knife defense occupies, where my habits and mentality from Wing Chun seem to hinder rather than help? Is there a way to rectify these discrepancies without compromising my habits for one or the other?
 

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So...

I am a strong proponent of/believer in center-line theory as it applies to Wing Chun, and even related Martial Arts. I believe that this is what makes Wing Chun work as a cohesive and viable system, and it's something that should not just be talked about in theory, but put into habitual practice. Centerline theory, which, I might to some degree be conflating with "facing" (chiu-ying? Not confident that I am remembering or spelling correctly the chinese term), describes a focus on, and occupation of the central line between myself and the opponent, and any force, as much as possible, should be towards my opponent on this line, not outwardly or inwardly past it. In this sense, every movement, and force, is directly threatening my opponent. This makes simultaneous attack and defense, and concepts such as lat-sao-jik-chung viable and automatic, and it tends to keep one safe from linear, and in many cases circular attacks that an opponent might launch.

I've found this utter and unrelenting insistence on chasing and occupying the centerline to be of huge advantage, both in an empty hand context, and in a historical fencing context. People have a natural tendency to over-react and want to "swat the flies" if you will, and I've had great success playing with other martial artists by simply yielding to any outwards force and entering as the center is opened for me by my opponent, or simply claiming the center first and hitting or thrusting while remaining on the line.

But there seems to be a middle ground where this insistence on the centerline, and on facing, doesn't work so well, and that is when short weapons, particularly short bladed weapons, are involved, and all the more so when an opponent is armed with a weapon of that description and you aren't. This is the realm of FMA, and, while centerline theory certainly is present there, I notice that it isn't always adhered to quite in the same way or with the same strictness as it is in Wing Chun.

Here's a concrete example. I have a very deadly habit of, even after all of the knife tapping and related training that I've done in FMA, habitually trying to use an inside gan-sau to cover wide low-line thusts against a knife wielding attacker. And, it never works. But it's such a habit for me, because I sense that I am on the centerline and have the advantage in position and facing, which I would in an unarmed context. Unfortunately, the added extension of a knife, and the consideration that forceful impact is not needed to cause severe damage, as with a punch, means that the opponent can simply thrust right around/through my defense. The much safer way of defending this, which is generally taught in FMA, is to use an outside gan-sau of sorts. But when the opponent is coming from such a wide angle, this means that you have to completely give up the centerline and turn to face the attack. Even a sideways step is not nearly enough (or quick enough, in many cases) to reorient your center such that you can bring the opposite hand into play to achieve an outside parry.

Now, I would never, ever turn my entire body to face and chase the hand if someone were throwing a wide, open punch in Wing Chun. I'd just enter, and, if necessary due to timing, put up a hand to intercept their attack. That is an ingrained habit at this point. But, one can see how it doesn't quite work when a knife is involved.

So, one winds up having to completely change facing, give up the centerline, and in effect "chase hands" to effectively defend from some attacks when there is a knife. Not to mention that having the hands themselves be cut is now a pertinent concern which, again, makes many Wing Chun habits potentially dangerous.

Interestingly enough, Wing Chun's principles and theories work excellently where long bladed weapons are concerned - especially those with developed hand-guards which can be safely used in a very linear fashion, as is the case in historical fencing however. Again, at this point, both practitioners have reach and matched weapon sets such that a focus on the core/centerline is once again possible. The hands are of course vulnerable, but staying outside of measure and attempting to snipe the hands is not the goal; one might as well with draw the hand or disengage entirely from such an opponent, and such attempts can be used to gain leverage on the strong of your sword, bind, and enter with a direct thrust regardless. Wing Chun and fencing are so similar in principle and function, in fact, that I consider them to be utterly the same in concept and principle, just with slightly different weapons and mechanics involved.

So, how does one deal with this awkward mismatched middle ground that knife defense occupies, where my habits and mentality from Wing Chun seem to hinder rather than help? Is there a way to rectify these discrepancies without compromising my habits for one or the other?
This description has me wanting to find someone nearby who is experienced in WC to explore this principle. It sounds interesting, and I'd like to understand how it become such a focus in WC.
 

Touch Of Death

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This description has me wanting to find someone nearby who is experienced in WC to explore this principle. It sounds interesting, and I'd like to understand how it become such a focus in WC.
I think I get it. I am big into CLT, for how I do Kenpo, and it all boils down to how you move. If you are in the habit of trying to squeeze all your motion between two worlds, left an right side of center, you move differently than someone that is trying to take your head off with a haymaker. Not to mention, your full body weight is always behind the shot. Most people are only backing straight shots with a quadrant. It hurts, just watching. :)
 

Kung Fu Wang

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IMO, for the "center line" theory,

PRO: If your hands are in your opponent's straight line striking path, all his straight line striking will be interrupted by your arms.

CON: Since your opponent will have hard time to use his straight line punches at you, he will use circular punches such as hook or hay-maker. The reality is the hook or hay-maker can have much more knock down power than the straight line punches have.

The following clip show how you can use circular hay-makers to deflect straight line punches. It uses the ancient Chinese spear strategy that to use "circle to deflect straight line".

The "double spears" theory that you "protect your center from outside in" is the "opposite" of the "center line" theory that you "protect your center from inside out".

 
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Argus

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IMO, for the "center line" theory,

PRO: If your hands are in your opponent's straight line striking path, all his straight line striking will be interrupted by your arms.

CON: Since your opponent will have hard time to use his straight line punches at you, he will use circular punches such as hook or hay-maker. The reality is the hook or hay-maker can have much more knock down power than the straight line punches have.

The following clip show how you can use circular hay-makers to deflect straight line punches. It uses the ancient Chinese spear strategy that to use "circle to deflect straight line".

The "double spears" theory that you "protect your center from outside in" is the "opposite" of the "center line" theory that you "protect your center from inside out".


Circular shots like that can be countered or simply avoided if you develop the sensitivity to do so, because, while they might knock your hands off of center, they are otherwise not a threat. This means that you don't have to leave your arm there to take them and can either quickly yield, or pre-emtively circle around and continue down the centerline. Being on the center also means that if you have the right timing, you can sometimes beat wide/circular shots to the punch without having block them necessarily.

If you remain stiff, however, you cannot recover quickly enough to counter those kinds of circular attacks. And sometimes, you need to pre-emptively remove your hand and deny him contact/impact on your arms, if you see that he is aiming to beat your arms away and not actually hit you.

In fencing terms, this is the same or worse in terms for the person who uses wide/circular motions; it is very easy to slip around someone who is trying to beat your sword away, and thrust them elsewhere; or conversely, to claim the center and bind with superior leverage while delivering a simultaneous limited cut or thrust on the center-line.

To me, the main difficulty comes in when a knife is involved, because your opponent no longer needs to connect with impact to do damage, plus he has several inches of blade that can get around your defenses in ways that you might not be used to dealing with. Moreover, the exchange is terribly unequal; in a hand to hand engagement, I only risk getting punched, whereas versus a knife, I risk be stabbed or cut, and with far less effort needed by my opponent to do so in comparison to if he had to rely on impact mechanics.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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while they might knock your hands off of center, they are otherwise not a threat.
If your arms are knocked off the center, your opponent will take over your centerline and move in between your arms. The "threat" is you may lose your centerline.

The "double spears" theory is also called "downward separate hands". The intention is to separate your opponent's arms away from his body so a "clinch" can be established. It's used more often in the grappling art than in the striking art.

 
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Argus

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If your arms are knocked off the center, your opponent will take over your centerline and move in between your arms. The "threat" is you may lose your centerline.

The "double spears" theory is also called "downward separate hands". The intention is to separate your opponent's arms away from his body so a "clinch" can be established. It's used more often in the grappling art than in the striking art.


I can see how that sort of thing can be useful and indeed effective, but my point is that you can avoid having your hand "beat away," or else still regain center before your opponent, if you are skilled.

Here is an example of the "beating away" technique in Capo Ferro, and its counter:

Of course, the closer you are, the less easily your opponent can avoid or recover the center, so I can see how that could be more useful in a grappling context.
 

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This description has me wanting to find someone nearby who is experienced in WC to explore this principle. It sounds interesting, and I'd like to understand how it become such a focus in WC.

I think this speaks volumes about your openness and curiosity dude. Well done. I hope you find a WC'er to explore it with. A quick google search of your area reveals a handful of WC folks...let us know how it goes!
 

KPM

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But there seems to be a middle ground where this insistence on the centerline, and on facing, doesn't work so well, and that is when short weapons, particularly short bladed weapons, are involved,

---Exactly! And not just FMA, but Indonesian systems as well. Silat is based on the knife. So while Wing Chun will typically seek to control center and strike along the center, Silat will seek to control the attacking limb. Deflecting an attack and punching up the center is not good enough because it is typically assumed that the attacking limb is holding a weapon. A deflected weapon that is not under complete control can easily turn and cut you with small motions that would be insignificant with empty hands. Hence, Wing Chun people often accuse Silat and FMA of "chasing hands" because they don't understand this control feature. This is also why Wing Chun people typically fail miserably when they try to derive "self defense against a knife" movements from Wing Chun.


Here's a concrete example. I have a very deadly habit of, even after all of the knife tapping and related training that I've done in FMA, habitually trying to use an inside gan-sau to cover wide low-line thusts against a knife wielding attacker. And, it never works.

---It can work if you immediately convert it to an elbow lock before the knifer can retract. A few years back Marc Denny of Dog Brother's fame came out with a knife defense method. He called it the "Dog Catcher." He was somewhat secretive about what it really was because he wanted you to buy his video. So I bought the video and guess what? His "Dog Catcher" is simply a Wing Chun Gan/Jum! And he makes it work very well against a knife.




Now, I would never, ever turn my entire body to face and chase the hand if someone were throwing a wide, open punch in Wing Chun. I'd just enter, and, if necessary due to timing, put up a hand to intercept their attack. That is an ingrained habit at this point. But, one can see how it doesn't quite work when a knife is involved.

So, one winds up having to completely change facing, give up the centerline, and in effect "chase hands" to effectively defend from some attacks when there is a knife. Not to mention that having the hands themselves be cut is now a pertinent concern which, again, makes many Wing Chun habits potentially dangerous.


---This, my friend, is almost the same as the age-old debate in western circles...."which is better, the cut or the thrust?" But in this case it is "which is better, to take center or to control the attacking limb by leaving center?" With the thrust one keeps center, but with the cut one departs from center and uses angles. Much the same effect!



So, how does one deal with this awkward mismatched middle ground that knife defense occupies, where my habits and mentality from Wing Chun seem to hinder rather than help? Is there a way to rectify these discrepancies without compromising my habits for one or the other?

---Yes, that's the million dollar question! Silat guys will simply tell you that Wing Chun is woefully inadequate for edged weapon defense. So you if you are getting "mismatched" messages from your trained reflexes and are finding yourself confusing things trying to convert from a empty hand defense to a knife defense, then the answer may be a hybrid-type system. See the thread I started on hybrid arts. Your dilemma is exactly one that I mentioned there. ;)
 

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Argus, I've noticed the same deeply rooted tendency to use inside gaun-sau (or gaun-da, etc.) against a low inward-hooking stab or slash with a knife. This same instinctive response that works so well empty handed can cause grave difficulties defending against a knife. As you say, the more typical FMA-ish approach of using an outside gaun-sau to pass the knife means abandoning center-line and chasing hands. We can do this, but only at the risk of breaking down our core WC/VT/WT training. So what else is there?

Well, here are a couple of ideas to play with. One, use a really hard, chopping gaun-sau extended well forward in front of your gut. You can also suck your mid-section back at the same moment, creating more distance between your gut and the blade, as well as causing your shoulders and chest to drop, actually adding force to the gaun-sau. This will be more effective at keeping the blade away from your gut and if explosive enough, may even result in a disarm.

Or if the knife wielder drives through the gaun-sau, use the other hand like a gaun-sau to pass the blade.

More typically, what I encounter is that the knife wielder's blade hand just rebounds and circles over the gaun-sau, hooking inward towards your neck. If you follow his energy your gaun will lift straight up into a tan-sau deflecting the high attack (kind of like an inside gate version of the guat sau-lau sau sequence in SNT). If the knife wielder continues pressing inwards forcefully, use your other hand to pass it over as in hubud...

The problem is none of these scenarios give you control of the blade! But they can. One thing I've been playing with is scissor blocks that lead to a grab. In WT terms, start a modified scissors high-low gaun from Biu Tze instead of a simple low gaun-sau and then grapple and roll the arm over into a elbow or shoulder lock.

I imagine you've already tried stuff like this, and still found it wanting. Well, IMO, most of those sweet passing drills you see in some FMA groups are even more flawed against determined resistance. The short of it is that empty hand vs. knife is a usually loosing proposition. :(
 

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The problem is none of these scenarios give you control of the blade! But they can. One thing I've been playing with is scissor blocks that lead to a grab. In WT terms, start a modified scissors high-low gaun from Biu Tze instead of a simple low gaun-sau and then grapple and roll the arm over into a elbow or shoulder lock.

Exactly what I was talking about above. Here is where Wing Chun vocabulary varies so much it fails us......the Gan/Jum.....lower arm in Gan Sau, upper arm in "inward Tan Sau" or "upper gate Gan Sau" or whatever your lineage choses to call it. This is Marc Denny's "Dog Catcher." It forms a "scissors" structure to catch the incoming limb. If the blow is a little high or low, no matter because it funnels to the center of the Gan/Jum. At the instant that the attacking limb is in the center you convert the lower Gan to an "inward Lan Sau" to trap the limb and keep the weapon away from you. If the opponent is doing a "sewing machine" attack with repeated thrusts, you simply keep your Gan/Jum between you and him and meet each thrust with it until the timing allows you to get the trap. If the blow is forceful and is going through your Gan/Jum structure before you can do the trap you simply convert to the opposite Gan/Jum by sweeping the top hand forward, down, and across.....your "outside" Gan Sau....to pass the blade.
 

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Exactly what I was talking about above. Here is where Wing Chun vocabulary varies so much it fails us......the Gan/Jum.....lower arm in Gan Sau, upper arm in "inward Tan Sau" or "upper gate Gan Sau" or whatever your lineage choses to call it. This is Marc Denny's "Dog Catcher." It forms a "scissors" structure to catch the incoming limb. If the blow is a little high or low, no matter because it funnels to the center of the Gan/Jum. At the instant that the attacking limb is in the center you convert the lower Gan to an "inward Lan Sau" to trap the limb and keep the weapon away from you. If the opponent is doing a "sewing machine" attack with repeated thrusts, you simply keep your Gan/Jum between you and him and meet each thrust with it until the timing allows you to get the trap. If the blow is forceful and is going through your Gan/Jum structure before you can do the trap you simply convert to the opposite Gan/Jum by sweeping the top hand forward, down, and across.....your "outside" Gan Sau....to pass the blade.
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wing chun vocabulary can fail but wing chun timing skills can help.
 

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I think the entire post from Argus depends on how one defines (and uses) the idea of the centerline(?); and not to mention fighting with angles. Just my .02
 

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I think the entire post from Argus depends on how one defines (and uses) the idea of the centerline(?); and not to mention fighting with angles. Just my .02
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Lots of folks dont understand centerline principles very well.
 

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Lots of folks dont understand centerline principles very well.

I agree, to an extent I guess(?). I mean, the idea / concept of the CL can be so broad that perhaps multiple definitions could possibly fit(?)
I don't know...
But I think some folks tend to have a strict and narrow view of CL...others have a broader more looser view...but each may have (what they perceive to be) a good understanding of centerline principles.
 
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Argus

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I agree, to an extent I guess(?). I mean, the idea / concept of the CL can be so broad that perhaps multiple definitions could possibly fit(?)
I don't know...
But I think some folks tend to have a strict and narrow view of CL...others have a broader more looser view...but each may have (what they perceive to be) a good understanding of centerline principles.

That's certainly a possibility.

The thing is, to me, a focus on the centerline has to become a habit to be functional. If you're really willy-nilly with it, I don't think it works very well or is likely to come out. But, I may be wrong; perhaps one can fluidly switch between a more strict centerline approach, and a more flexible one depending on what is needed.

I'm very much a creature of habit, though. What I do in training absolutely becomes habit, and comes out, along with everything else, but not necessarily in a compartmentalized manner. Basically, I'm programmable spaghetti.

My understanding of the centerline is very much in-line (did I just make a joke there?) with the nature of geezer and KPM's comments. Both are familiar with FMA and what I'm referring to when I say "abandoning the centerline," though.
 
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Argus

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> KPM, geezer

Great replies! I guess it really is just a matter of training and figuring out how to adapt your habits/methods in the best way you can.

I've seen the "dog catcher" technique, I think, and I have tried it with good results. I had forgotten about it, actually. I find that structure tends to keep the knife out, but also control the limb, whereas I usually find a single gan-sau inadequate to do so; don't push out far enough, and you still get it (as is usually the result for me.) Push out too far, and the knife simply comes over the top, as you already mentioned.

There is also the option of a tertiary parry with a strike, slap, or eye-jab, transitioning to the outside. Can still be really awkward to do with wide shots, though, and requires more precision.

Of course, the key is finding what works and is most consistent with (at least, my current understanding of) center-line theory, and making that habitual. Or else, see if I can't maintain or rectify two different sets of habits.

As for mixing WC and Silat/FMA, I don't believe I'm anywhere near skilled enough in either to achieve that. But, I'm interested in your method, KPM, and I can see how they could meld together into something cohesive. Interesting that we share the same concerns.

As an additional thought: One thing that I find to be curious about FMA, particularly the Lameco/Illustrisimo system, is that it makes curious use of centerline theory. It makes... what I might call "intermittent" use of it? It has a tendency towards linear attacks and deflections, and most strikes are delivered down the center or are intended to clear the center, but of course, your hands/weapons don't stay on the center. It's transient. And it isn't afraid to violate the center-line in seemingly awkward ways at times.

It's neither entirely contrary to, nor in line with WC's methodology. To some extent, perhaps it's the similarities that make the differences so difficult to deal with.
 
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KPM

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As an additional thought: One thing that I find to be curious about FMA, particularly the Lameco/Illustrisimo system, is that it makes curious use of centerline theory. It makes... what I might call "intermittent" use of it? It has a tendency towards linear attacks and deflections, and most strikes are delivered down the center or are intended to clear the center, but of course, your hands/weapons don't stay on the center. It's transient. And it isn't afraid to violate the center-line in seemingly awkward ways at times.

It's neither entirely contrary to, nor in line with WC's methodology. To some extent, perhaps it's the similarities that make the differences so difficult to deal with.


Many arts have a good understanding of the centerline, they just don't use it in the same way as Wing Chun. You don't have to occupy the center to defend it, or attack along it. SPM is a good example as well as the arts you mentioned. To me there seems to be two basic approaches: Occupy the centerline by keeping your hands on it (ala Wing Chun's Man Sau/Wu Sau guard position). This closes the centerline and more or less forces attacks to go around it. So you mostly end up working from the "inside outward" when defending so that you open the path along the centerline for your strike. The other approach is to keep the hands relatively wide and leave the center open. This invites an attack to come right along the centerline, and then you trap or smother it to create the timing and opportunity for your own return blow. So you mostly end up working from the "outside inward." From what I've seen, this is the main way that SPM uses centerline theory. This is what I have seen primarily in FMAs as well.

Silat, (at least Serak) seems to smoothly switch between either approach and combines them well.

The additional consideration is that when dealing with weapons, the weapon itself becomes the thing you must focus on.....because not controlling the weapon means that even if you get in your blow, the weapon can still tag you and do major damage. The classic "double kill" scenario from western martial arts. So your centerline focus must shift from being directed at the center or torso or core of the opponent to being directed at the center of the attacking limb or weapon. FMA and Silat does this well because they are weapons-based arts. Wing Chun is not. Silat tends to have a stronger empty-hand focus than FMA. Too often in FMA empty-hand applications are an after-thought. This is why Silat seems to shift back and forth between the two centerline methods smoothly and easily.

To be able to shift back and forth between these two centerline approaches would just take some practice. You should be able to spot a weapon and automatically shift your focus to the weapon. In fact, its hard not too! ;-) The problem comes when the knife is small and you don't see it. Then you may respond with Wing Chun like you would if it was a punch and end up regretting it! This is why typically the "default setting" for Silat is to act as if the opponent had a weapon until proven otherwise. Its safer that way!
 

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Many arts have a good understanding of the centerline, they just don't use it in the same way as Wing Chun. You don't have to occupy the center to defend it, or attack along it. SPM is a good example as well as the arts you mentioned. To me there seems to be two basic approaches: Occupy the centerline by keeping your hands on it (ala Wing Chun's Man Sau/Wu Sau guard position). This closes the centerline and more or less forces attacks to go around it. So you mostly end up working from the "inside outward" when defending so that you open the path along the centerline for your strike. The other approach is to keep the hands relatively wide and leave the center open. This invites an attack to come right along the centerline, and then you trap or smother it to create the timing and opportunity for your own return blow. So you mostly end up working from the "outside inward." From what I've seen, this is the main way that SPM uses centerline theory. This is what I have seen primarily in FMAs as well.

Silat, (at least Serak) seems to smoothly switch between either approach and combines them well.

The additional consideration is that when dealing with weapons, the weapon itself becomes the thing you must focus on.....because not controlling the weapon means that even if you get in your blow, the weapon can still tag you and do major damage. The classic "double kill" scenario from western martial arts. So your centerline focus must shift from being directed at the center or torso or core of the opponent to being directed at the center of the attacking limb or weapon. FMA and Silat does this well because they are weapons-based arts. Wing Chun is not. Silat tends to have a stronger empty-hand focus than FMA. Too often in FMA empty-hand applications are an after-thought. This is why Silat seems to shift back and forth between the two centerline methods smoothly and easily.

To be able to shift back and forth between these two centerline approaches would just take some practice. You should be able to spot a weapon and automatically shift your focus to the weapon. In fact, its hard not too! ;-) The problem comes when the knife is small and you don't see it. Then you may respond with Wing Chun like you would if it was a punch and end up regretting it! This is why typically the "default setting" for Silat is to act as if the opponent had a weapon until proven otherwise. Its safer that way!
 
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