The Center line
This is a term that is used across many disciplines in the world of martial arts.
Many use it in reference to an imaginary line somewhere on the human body. Depending on the discipline it is used to identify or clarify a concept, tactic or area.
None are wrong if one looks at it from a certain point of view, however, in order to get the most out of this term one might want to take a more detailed approach and see it as a theory.
In fact the centre line theory is composed of 4 lines and one orientation.
- Craniocaudal Axis: This line runs through the centre of the body (the inner core) from the top of one’s head straight through to the floor. It is deep within the body and can be said to run down the spine. Desynchronizing this line from its horizontal position can result in a loss of balance (but that is for another discussion).
- Line of attack: The line that links your Craniocaudal Axis to the opponent’s Craniocaudal Axis. All types of attacks will run on or close to this line in the direction of the opponent or vice versa.
- Sagittal plane: This is a line that divides the body into two halves, one being the right side and the other being the left side. It is an anatomical plane, which runs down the front face of the body. Most vital organs and vital points run on or close to the sagittal plane.
- The Centre line: This line originates at the solar plexus (which happens to reside on the sagittal plane) and runs away from the body parallel to the floor to the extent of one’s outstretched arms ending at the finger tips.
The orientation defines the alignment of the 4 lines mentioned above.
In reference to the opponent, the line of attack links or connects the two individual’s Craniocaudal Axis to each other via a straight line.
The sagittal plane is kept in synchronization with the line of attack, placing the centre line (solar plexus) in direct alignment with the other three lines. You now have all 4 lines as one! This orientation can also be referred to as squareness.
You are now facing your opponent with your centre line or square to your opponent!
So what is the benefit of this theory?
Answer: During the engagement when the two opponents close on each other and come into contact with one another, the centre line theory will be used to define an area on your body that you will be protecting with the proper use of elbows and body alignment.
Defining and protecting this area will assist in controlling the engagement in such a way that it will decrease the chance of coincidental damage from the opponent and enable you to hit with impunity and assist on ending the encounter as quickly as possible.
In other words, the centre line theory suggests that you defend the centre line on engagement allowing you to control the bridge and end the fight!
This is much more helpful than simply a line to identify a target.