Elite Performance Golf - HOW MARTIAL ARTS CAN BENEFIT YOUR GOLF GAME
Whether you are a PGA, LPGA, aspiring amateur or junior golfer, research has shown that participating in some type of golf fitness program will beneficial to improving your golf game. I have been a fitness and mental performance coach for over 30 years. During that time I have incorporated various cross training techniques to increase the performance level of hundreds of golfers. I am a Master in Tang Soo Do (5th degree black belt) and the techniques that I have learned from my 23 years training in the Korean martial arts have been very beneficial in training my golf clients since they are directly related to not only the movements of the golf swing but with the mental concentration, discipline and focus it takes to play golf.
Martial arts are an excellent cross training tool for golf because they encompass not only the external or physical aspects of the golf game (posture, balance, muscle explosion, coordination, lateral and circular motion) but also teaches the importance of the mental aspects (focus on task at hand, confidence, discipline, relaxation, visualization and body awareness). Martial arts teach one that both the physical and the mental aspects work simultaneously so that everything works in together as a whole rather than separately.
Believe it or not, golfers and martial artists also have the same type of goal; they both wan to become proficient at generating the maximum amount of force and kinetic energy delivered to a target with speed, timing and balance with a minimal amount of effort. Whether you are striking a golf ball with a club or striking an object with your hand or foot, the ability of our bodies to generate power is based on the application of bio-mechanics, which is to increase the sequential force supplied from a proper movement of the body.
A primary element used in martial arts training is using the application of bio-mechanics to increase force and power while developing proper hip and waist rotation. Rotation of the hips and waist allows for the whole body to be combined and to create a far greater force than only using your hands or arms. Developing hip and waist twist will both increase velocity of technique and decrease the time of application of a technique whether it be striking an object with your hand or foot, or striking a golf ball with a club.
Martial arts teach the following kinetic principles to achieve maximum power:
- A solid foundation, as in a martial arts or golf stance (using the ground) the first step in achieving proper technique.
- The legs and hips are dependent on the ground.
- The torso is dependent on the legs.
- The arms are dependent on the torso.
- The hands are dependent on the arms.
- You must move from your center; which is on average 2-5 inches below the navel. This is where the center of gravity for the human body is. By maintaining and moving from your center, you will have more success when performing a skill.
Martial arts teaches you to transform your mind into a state called "Mushin", which literally means "no mind". According to the Zen masters, Mushin is operating when the actor is separate from the act and no thoughts interfere with action because the unconscious act is the most free and uninhibited. When Mushin functions, the mind moves from one activity to another, flowing like a powerful stream of water. When this takes place, effortless power is created. This is achieved through practice and more practice, until one can perform an activity without conscious effort. Then your reaction becomes automatic.
To achieve effortless power when performing a skill, one must breathe correctly. When you breath you must fill your entire lungs with air. Most people use only the top portion of their lungs. They do not fill up the bottom portion of the lungs, whereas breathing correctly, one will use the bottom of the lungs as well as the top, allowing for more oxygen to flow to the muscles, giving one potentially more power when performing a skill.
The kinetic link for creating maximum power in martial arts and the kinetic link for creating maximum power in a golf swing are literally the same bio-mechanic principles, except that you are substituting a golf club instead of a fist as a striking object.