While every system has its own techniques and different mindsets, what is consistent is the presence of lines of attack.
This came about after a discussion with a student and it is my hope this aids you in your understanding of martial arts and are my responses to some questions.
If you’re involved in the Lightning Combatives system, it is supplementary to the Bigay Tama Break Down Series on YouTube which be accessed here.
As a general idea, the center line is an invisible line that extends from your center (nose + belly button) forward and defines where your attacks can effectively travel. I presume everyone involved in martial arts to the point where they’re reading a blog article on center lines is really geeky. As such, I’d like to use the analogy of the cross hairs in First Person Shooter games to illustrate my point. Basically, it tells you where your guns are pointed and what should be pointed towards your opponent or adversary.
Since we’re not in a video game, it’s hard to identify the center line so how I define it is the line my belly button and nose make going straight forward.
Your opponent’s center line is the same as it extends from THEIR nose and belly button.
Basically, it’s where all the weapons can effectively fire (by weapons, we mean punches, kicks, weapon strikes, knife thrusts, and take downs).
How do you control your center line?
The entire focus of Lightning is to be able to keep your center line focused on your opponent while staying off their center line. Or, alternatively, to be able to keep attacking down your center line uninterrupted.
In Bigay Tama, you’re constantly trying to move offline with the kambyo (to the outside) so that you can reposition OFF of your opponent’s center line while moving your center line to target your opponent’s body.
So simply, you control the center line by establishing dominance in that space either by taking space (with a strike or weapon), or, by demonstrating you can take that space. Half strikes, strike combinations, and even “presence” can establish this.
Learn Bigay Tama here
Diagram of Feeder (F) moving from Position 1 to Position 2 in an effort to stay off of Receiver’s (R) center line and attack from a superior position.
How do you identify who has better center line control compared to others?
I would refer to the previous answer to define this but I can give you a way to break it down from the outside.
When you’re squaring off with someone, if you have good control of the center line, this means you can quickly drop strikes down the middle, or reposition, so that the other person is forced to move back. Or, they are forced to move offline out of fear.
If the person you’re facing has better control, you’ll find that the inverse is true. They are pushing you back and you’re afraid of going down the middle, and even backing up.
If you’re in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, visit www.stickandknifefighting.com to learn more.