Wing Tsun’s martial arts defense concept in using a pre-fighting posture is the center-line concept. If a student or practitioner has used a different posture with a lot of success in sparring or never needed it in a few street fights, they may be unwilling to accept this idea which is very different from the majority of styles in martial arts schools available today. Bruce Lee used the Taoist idea “Empty your cup.” It means that in order to learn something new, one has to empty one’s cup. In other words, if your mind is too full of previously learned ideas like a full cup of tea, one has to empty it first to in order to accept another kind of tea – different knowledge.

The center-line in Leung Ting WingTsun® is not defined, like some others, as the line that divides the body in two halves. It is defined as the line that connects the dot on the center of the chest (breastbone) to the same spot on your opponent’s chest. We find that dot by finding the intersection of the vertical mid-line and the horizontal mid-line. We locate the horizontal mid-line by finding the mid-point between the top of the thighs and the top of the head. Now we have the middle of the upper body. We place our two hands on that line pointed directly at our opponent’s “dot.”

Many martial artists are head hunters. In other words, they always aim for the head, it being a rewarding target for the potential of a knock out or other serious injury to an attacker or a competitor in boxing, kick-boxing or mixed martial arts. Because of this, many of these practitioners keep their guard high. This is a consequence of the set-up of a knock out bringing victory. On the street, victory is defined differently. Victory is walking or running away unharmed.

In a fight with no rules, really no rules, one does not know where the attack is coming from. One’s attacker is not necessarily motivated as a head-hunter. The attack may be a fist, a knife to the gut, a low kick, a high attack, we do not know. If one is motivated in defending high attacks, one may raise the guard to protect the head. Then it becomes easier to attack the gut or even the legs. Consequently, in Wing Tsun we keep our guard on the center-line and keep our attention wide. We want to maximize our peripheral vision, both left and right and up and down. We do not recommend focusing on the eyes or any one spot.

Grandmaster Leung Ting has said that the Wing Tsun concepts can be applied with other martial arts movements. In Wing Tsun, the concept is the most important part. However, we feel our techniques have many advantages in economy of movement, practicality and safe attack and defense in self-defense. Wing Tsun definitely has a different idea in martial arts defense.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg