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How the centre line is important in life & martial arts. Regardless of style, the centreline is not just the imaginary line running down from the top of the head to the bottom. The line runs from the top of your head, from the crown of the head straight down. Inside the bodies centre, from a 360-degree perspective. Front, back, left, right, up and down.

Image by Nandhu Kumar from Pixabay


How is it important in life?

It is important because from a psychological point of view it’s about keeping calm and not getting completely roused up by a situation. Now this is not easy to achieve, but worth the pursuit. Why? Because whenever we excessively angry or taken by the momentum of our anger, we lose balance. And therefore, lose our centre. It is also the same whenever we are excessively happy. Both extremes mean lack of balance. Euphoria is a potential for its opposite depression, vice versa. Like the interaction of the two opposite forces yin and yang in the Taiji symbols. One flowing into the other, and so on. The key is not avoid feeling angry or happy, emotions are inevitable. These pressures cannot be avoided, but It’s about not being attached and letting go. Something I am always learning.

So not being able to maintain balance, means you lose it, and this is important in life. Especially in our fast-paced crazy instant world. In all styles of martials maintaining your centre is important, even if you are fighting on the ground. Being able to keep calm with both feet off the ground, means you still have balance. On a physical level, maintaining your balance is usually practiced with both feet on the ground. But on deeper internal level, it’s about the mind.

How is it important in martial arts?

If you cannot maintain your centre, you will be easily uprooted. Both physically and mentally, and in competitions you lose. In a street fight, you may lose your life.  With Taiji Quan and possibly other styles, you do not just maintain your centre or protect your centre line. You go beyond this, you empty yourself completely to the point that although your opponent can see you, to them you feel like a feather. Making it hard for them to feel your centre mass, until the moment after you strike them. By then, they will feel more than your centre mass.

I am not at that level yet, however, I have experienced it, training with my Shifu (teacher). It’s starts with practicing, “sinking”-letting go of excess tension and balancing the internal and external forces acting in and out the body. Have them in unison and neutralized. All under the guide of the mind using intent. Same way you use intent to move your hand to pick up a glass of water.


In traditional martial arts, protecting and maintaining your centre was and is important. Standing practices, like Zhan Zhuang, in traditional Chinese martial arts train these abilities or skills. And it’s not just about fighting its, it is about life.

Written by Narcisse Sadi who is a Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan.  He is a certified 1stDuan Health Qi Gong by the International Health Qigong Federation. And  a 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, certified by Dr Jeff Lan. 



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