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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wing Chun Techniques, Concepts and Theory (Focus on Centerline Theory)

For those who have never studied Wing Chun it can be very difficult to understand Wing Chun Kung Fu's sometimes difficult techniques and concepts.

Some central concepts are the centerline theory, economy of motion, use of redirection/deflection instead of blocking, simultaneous attack and defense, and trapping. 

There's not enough time or space in this blog to fully explore all of these, although you can keep an eye out for posts about them in the future. Our Chief Instructor Sifu Todd Shawn Tei has written several articles on these concepts including "Redirection is the Best Direction" and "Fighting with Wing Chun", featured in magazines such as Kung Fu Magazine, Blackbelt Magazine, etc.

Today we'll focus on why and how Wing Chun's use of the centerline theory enables its lightning-fast and efficient hand and simultaneous attack/defense techniques. Check out this video of Sifu Tei explaining:

As you can see, adhering to the centerline theory ensures that Wing Chun practitioners do not waste energy (a.k.a. economy of motion), do not overextend themselves, and do not lose balance when attacking and defending themselves. Don't all of these things sound like sensible things to do during combat? Remember, MMA fights often go for several rounds, with the winner prevailing very often due to superior cardiovascular endurance or strength rather than due to superior techniques. There are also weight classes in MMA, a convenience not available to us in real life.

Real-life fights rarely last longer than a few seconds, so there's no time or energy to waste, especially due to the strong possibility of multiple attackers.

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea though - we do help all of our students build better fitness and balance! We just don't use (in our opinion) impractical* techniques such as spinning back kicks during self-defense/combat because there are better options available to us through our Wing Chun training.

*Note we didn't call more acrobatic/extended techniques ineffective. They're not ineffective; there's plenty of videos online of martial artists knocking out their opponents with spinning back kicks and the like. We're just saying that according to the concepts and theories of our style, there are more practical and efficient options available. No offense intended to anyone who studies something different.

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff