Many martial arts incorporate the concept of the centre line. Wing Chun/Ving Tsun is well known for their emphasis on the centre line theory. As one can see in the below phenomenal video, even boxing incorporates this as well. Teaching the centre line is often easy and difficult at the same time.
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Having taught for several years now, I can tell you that it is easy to teach the centre line. The difficulty lies in keeping the students aware of their centre line and constantly reminding them to ascertain where it is. Constant reminders is the norm.
Easy to teach, difficult for them to master. 🙂
How do I teach children the concept of the centre line?
As indicated in the video below, I generally don’t use the phrase “centre line.” Invariably, I’ll get the “huh?” type of reaction from them. As many of my students are in the 5 to 8-year-old age range, I find it easier to teach the centre line theory through the “belly button” example.
I tell you, kids get this.
One of the ways that I teach awareness of the “belly button” is through the down block, as illustrated in the below video. One can do this through other blocks, techniques, and stances. Regardless of technique, I will often demonstrate the correct body positioning, showing them where my belly button is pointing.
I will then take them through an exercise, such as the down block, and emphasise this concept. If their body is out of alignment, I will loudly say “belly button!” and often, they will adjust right away. However, constant reminders are the norm. 🙂
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Teaching this theory doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping it simple for the kids should suffice.
They have enough on their plate learning concepts such as the angles of attack, footwork, balance, and basic physical literacy.
As they get the basic idea behind the “belly button” command, I will start to increase the number of exercises emphasising the centre line. Increased awareness of their centre is the goal. I know that it will take time but it will be worth it.