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The center line is not just what you think

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La-linea-centrale The center line is not just what you think

The center line is a very important aspect that you need to know and understand why it relates during combat you and your attacker.

Many of the primary targets such as the groin, the solar plexus, the throat, the chin, the eyes are located along this line.

Different fighting styles approach the defense and attack of the center line in different shapes, where the center line is seen in different shapes such as:

  • the JKD which is the line that passes from the most extreme part of the body (your head) to the middle of the feet where to attack,
  • in the Filipino Kali and where to converge the tip of the triangle when you attack,
  • in some styles it’s your own line that crosses the body,
  • Kung Fu is the axis that you always have to defend absolutely
  • in Thai Who is seen as a set of bubbles
  • Etc.

Exasperated it in some styles where as to defend the center line you hold your arms right to close the line, so to get to overcome these “gates” you have to overcome more barriers.

The planes of the human body

Human_anatomy_planes-it.svg_ The center line is not just what you think


The Sagittal Plan

Those who do not practice martial arts call it sagittal plan, a term also used a lot in combat sports and if you imagine dividing the body into planes and axes comes out this scheme that I advise you to memorize.

The sagittal plane is a plane that starts in an antero-posterior sense and divides a body into two parts, left and right.

The sagittal planes can be at any height, but what divides the body into two equal-mass and approximately symmetrical and mirrored halves is called a median sagittal plane. The others, parallel to this, are called parasagittals.

Compared to the median floor the others can be medial,that is, close to the median plane, or lateral,further away.

For example, in anatomical man a sagittal plane that cuts the human body at shoulder height is more medial than one that is at hand height, but is more lateral than a plane that passes through the outer margin of the neck.

In the sagittal plane the possible movements are those of bending and extension.

The bending involves moving forward, towards the observer, while extending backwards.

An exception is the case of the leg (the part of the lower limb below the knee): the flexion that brings the calf closer to the thigh is considered to be flexing.

In the case of the foot, on the other hand, we can talk about dorsal flexion (toe of the foot at the top), and plantar flexion or extension (toe of the foot at the bottom).


The frontal plane or coronal top

is a plane that runs parallel to the forehead (or coronal suture).

The coronal plane that divides the body into two equal mass halves is called a median. The coronal planes before this (i.e. towards the observer) will be called “front” or “ventral”, while “back” or “dorsal” others.

In this way you can distinguish a ventral face, or anterior, of the forearm or thigh, for example.

In the hand the front face is also called “palm”, while the anterior face of the foot is also called “top” or “dorsal”, while “plantare” the “lower” face.

The movements that take place along the coronal plane are those of lateral tilt of the torso, also called bending (right and left).

As for the limbs we talk about abduction, if you move away from the body, or adduction, if you approach.

With regard to finger movements, it is considered an axis that passes through the middle finger: a movement that moves the other fingers away from the middle is called “abduction”, while a movement that approaches the fingers to the middle is called “adduction”.


The cross-plane,or axial

It is the plane that cuts the body in two halves, a top and a lower one.

The movements on this plane are those of rotation.

  • In the case of the spine we speak of right or left rotation.
  • There is talk of intrarotation in case of movement that carries the front face of the limb (the one facing the observer) on average, while the extrarotation carries such a face sideways.
  • In the case of the hand, the movement is indicated as pronation, which, with the arm flexed at 90 degrees, brings the palm of the hands down, while supination is the opposite.
  • In the case of the foot by pronation we mean the movement that brings the plant outwards, while supination carries the plant medially.



The loss of the central line

A mistake that often happens is that in the emphasis of a real fight with fakes, changes of heights, speed, aggression, variety of blows, etc. most fighters leave or rather lose control of the center line that remains open.

Also consider that the center line is also the area where eye-related reflections are the best defense tools to use.

Some fighter strategies is to pretend to lose the center line by deliberately opening it, in this way, you “draw” or rather invite your opponent to attack along the center line – you attract him to pull in or “in” which is where your reflexes are faster.

So you have to position your arms is better along the shoulder line guarding against Hook or wide shots directed at hitting your head, where your eyes don’t work at their best, where it matters a lot what is peripheral vision which is the view you have to use in combat.

Now don’t take it as an absolute rule but the fake guard is a strategy to make you understand that sometimes when you see fighter who looks like they have the guard open on the center line it’s not quite how it looks it’s actually applying this principle.

Important with this strategy is also the distribution of weight to have the right explosiveness and mobility to counterattack because the purpose is to invite your opponent to hit you and go to surprise him just where he does not expect.

Remember that footwork remains the first defense but also the only way to get close to your opponent or move to attack!

Without footwork, nothing can be done.

There are many ways to make a fake guard to invite your opponent:

  • with one hand,
  • with two hands,
  • opening it,
  • lowering it down,
  • Etc.

This is to tell you that it makes no sense to have your hands right on your center line because they are combat concepts outdated and used in traditional styles.

Now this does not have to be a rule and also because the guard does not have to be static but always “on the move” which means that it must always have short displacements and oscillations to complicate your opponent to locate a space, but be careful not to do it always the same if you do not want it to take the time.

Keeping the guard under stress while continuing to watch is crucial because he considers that often the openings are created through the fakes of your opponent, series of consecutive shots pulled to create openings, etc. and it is therefore essential to train to maintain your guard and your structure because when you lose it is where you create the openings that your opponent seeks.

Clearly, that’s what you have to do too!



kisspng-dragon-the-bruce-lee-story-tao-of-jeet-kune-do-dr-5a67faace38ab8.154557841516763820932-e1557728025380 The center line is not just what you think

A.B.D. Attack by drawing“, the attack with predetermined design

Bruce Lee called this method “Attack by drawing“, A.B.D. attack with predetermined design

You look open, but you’re actually ready to respond.

Defensively you’ve definitely got to realize that you can’t defend your whole body anywhere…

Simply put, if you cover the center you are open to the sides, if you cover the sides you are opening your center against attacks of single shots or chain punches or any attack on different heights along the center line looking for primary targets.

In the same way you can not simply defend the high and low lines of your body, consider a line that goes from head to toe.

What should you do if an attacker is close and you can’t make a defense that’s too tight because you don’t know where the shots are coming from?.

If you “close a door” on one side it means you’re finding yourself on the other side.

You must use a combination of body or head movements, with continuous oscillatory movement, a method of blocking or parrying with minimal movements to defend yourself from any blows.

Leave your center line “open” in appearance but that close as close to you when your opponent’s attack comes closer to you.

Think of your guard as the movements of a sentry like a guard who periodically turns and checks all the locks.

It means you don’t have to stand still in a fixed position, but the guard always has to be on the move.

A “micro” movement but not stationary for two reasons:

  • Favors your attack reaction after or during defense
  • Starting at a standstill is more complicated, it’s slower.

Remember that all fixed and static positions are eventually overtaken or the opponent revolves around them.

That’s why I’ve pointed out to you before that one important thing is your footwork and the position of your body, because you can attack your attacker’s center center line without being directly in front of him so he’s not able to attack your center in the most effective way.

This is a fundamental concept if you want to expand the way you fight, as do the pros who move to attack the center line, many modern boxers do it, like Vasiliy Lomachenko, or others who use more of a Straight Blast approach to create openings.

Lomachenko The center line is not just what you thinkLomachenko-2- The center line is not just what you think


You’re using different trajectories but they’re impacting the center line.

Now I want to go beyond your center line but I want to continue and I want to extend it to that of your attacker.

Consider that you are perfectly in line with your feet and those of your aligned opponent.

What happens if you deliberately move by putting your foot slightly in or outside the center line?.

It means you’re forcing him to change strategy and shots to use but you’re changing it because you want to bring a certain type of attacks that work border line to the center line (we deepen it but not now) because the more the level rises is the more the “sentinelle” and the gates to get to target become narrower and narrower, the scavengers to pass the more an attacker is experienced and the more the effect becomes funnel.

This method of performing footwork is very popular with boxing pros, and it’s starting to happen when you watch fights.

Experiment with variations on the center line.

Stay Tuned!

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport


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Written by Andrea

Instructor and enthusiast of Martial Arts and Fight Sport.

- Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA.
- Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms.

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! State Of Love And Trust!

Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Knifemaker

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