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TOPIC: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill

Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31196

  • Brian Robinson
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In golf we are often told what we can and cannot do in the swing. We are sometimes even told just swing the club and forget about everything. In the end golfers become frustrated because the mind, the spirit and the body are not connected together in the golf motion. In arts such as Tai Chi, Zazen and Qigong this is the ultimate goal. Can we learn something from these arts? I would like to invite you on a quest. Together let’s explore new ways of looking at our training. For example, can we take the concentration drill that the master Ben Hogan did and add new dimensions to it. Will Tai Chi help us unlock our tension and position obsession when preforming this exercise? I am not saying that positions do not have their place but positions are telling the body what to do. How can we create a way to also listen to what the body wants us to do. I propose that we post our ideas and new training methods that incorporate these arts in anyway. It could be as simple as how to focus the mind using one of ZaZen’s principle’s or will you use one of Qigong’s dynamic tension and then dynamic relaxation exercises to train the body to know the difference. Tomorrow I am going to post the concentration drill with some Tai Chi and Za Zen incorporated in it. Please feel free to explore any art that you feel will enhance this quest
Below is a video of a Master Zen Archer, think for a minute about how much we could accomplish if we hit every bucket of balls with this amount of focus
Last Edit: 2 years 5 months ago by Brian Robinson. Reason: bad spelling
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31198

  • Dean Mitchell
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I love this stuff you're posting, Brian. Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation have been big parts of my life and the times I've played my best golf has been when I've been working hard on those disciplines.
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31244

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In this video I am taking a training method that is used a lot in the martial arts. It is called passive mediation where you sit in a chair, the lotus position, seiza or any posture that pleases you. Seiza is used often by Japanese martial artists and can be quite painful. It is the second position you see me demonstrate. It is usually practiced on a wooden floor with the intent of training the mind to think beyond the physical and overcome pain. The martial artist employs passive meditation to either focus the mind or clear it of any thought. I borrowed a mediation technique utilized by Zen Archers and applied it to my golf training. A Zen archer puts great emphasis on focusing their mind on the target. As golfers we often do the opposite and focus more on the golf ball. It is not uncommon for a Zen archer to spend hours mediating while staring at a target. Their goal is to connect their mind and spirit to the target. Watch people on the driving range, most put very little effort into picking a target or connecting to it. Today at the driving range I spent 15 minutes passively meditating on my target. I focused on taking deep breathes while slowly inhaling and exhaling. As I meditated on the intended target my mind began focusing on a smaller and smaller area. I could see details that I would normally have ignored. Like the Zen Archer I began to build a connection to the target. When I finished meditating the target now had a new meaning to me, we were connected.
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31303

  • Brian Robinson
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This post is going to be about energy and connection to the target. It really does no justice if I post a concentration drill with no ground work. To understand many of the actions I am going to perform in the concentration drill I need to explain Ying/Yang and how it relates to Chi en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%27i. Chi is energy and can have many different meanings depending on how you are trying to express it. For the purpose of golf I will call it the uninhibited release of energy through the ball and out towards the target. Ying and Yang are the forces of Chi. Both of these words also have many meanings en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang. for these purposes we will call Ying "soft" and "slow” and Yang "Hard" and "Fast". In the martial arts you will find different styles that are called either hard or soft. Here are two vids showing the differences
Soft style


Hard Style
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Now that I have explained the ideas of Chi we can look at its meaning in golf. Going back to the Zen Archer they will dictate all their training around Chi. It is important to understand as the Zen archer does, Chi’s connection to nature. Chi is the wind, the ground and gravity which influences our release of Chi at the target. This is why in the video of the Zen Archer he is taking so much care in his set up. Zen archers are known to be the best the world has ever seen. They were originally trained for battle and highly feared. The Zen Archer trained to achieve complete connection to their target so they had Mushin “no-mindedness”. Below is a brief video of me practicing passive meditation to help me connect to the target. As I sit in the chair I am gazing at the target seeing the mirco of the target, the ground leading to the target, feeling the wind as it blows and controlling my breathing. This could last 30 seconds or I may spend 60 minutes connecting to the target. I try to do this with every ball on days that I am practicing this exercise. The Zen Archer will do this often so they connect to the target and nature (wind). The wind is an important factor for a golfer and archer to understand. The true purpose of this exercise is to teach the unconscious mind to see the target and become at one with it. The cognitive mind is always the enemy to the Zen Archer. They search to achieve Mushin because on the battle field there is no time to calculate. Through proper training they would become one with the wind, ground, gravity and the target. When they had to fire in a split second with high winds at an aggressively moving target their unconscious mind took over. This was due to spending countless hours studying and feeling the wind blow and connecting to a target, they had achieved Mushin. I am hitting a PW
[/video]
Last Edit: 2 years 5 months ago by Brian Robinson.
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31499

  • hogansquest
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Brian,

this is deep stuff. you know hogan talked about being able to FEEL the trees move in the wind, Moe talked about being connected to the ball, he said something along the lines of a piece of him goes with every shot. knudson talked about mental ballance there is a lot to the mind (computer).

be like water my friend.
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31520

Brian, cool stuff, could you take us through your target oriented pre shot routine on the course during competition? Just an outline type journey with what you think are the key points. Thanks!
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31627

  • Brian Robinson
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Thanks for the question Frank. I believe that competition is very much about how you prepare for it. So my pre shot routine contains more than meets the eye. I want to achieve three things, control of my emotions before the shot, connection to both the target and nature and to maximize Mushin (no- mindedness). Ultimately the goal is to have a pre shot routine full of Mushin. Watch Mr. Hogan practicing his concentration drill, there is a tremendous focus on doing his pre shot routine in slow motion. I believe he was trying to train the subconscious mind to connect to the pre shot routine. Like the Zen Archer Mr. Hogan’s goal was to turn everything on auto pilot when under pressure. This is so important because it allows the golfer to focus more attention on controlling their emotions. When dealing with the mental pressures in a tournament you don’t want the added burden of questioning your feel and instincts. For example I never let a student use a range finder in practice. I tell them to feel the distance and how the terrain and wind will affect it. This type of practice will build your feel and instincts, which is part of Mushin.
A pre shot routine has to help put balance and confidence into your game. It is therefore all about building and developing your feel. Feel is enhanced by being in a slightly meditative state during the pre-shot routine that is why I emphasize meditation so much. We build feel by clearing our minds and truly connecting to the environment. If you don’t clear your mind and allow your subconscious to connect to the environment and target, then it will not learn a lesson on every shot. During practice if you do not put the right amount of focus on your pre shot routine, then you are wasting valuable experiences. These experiences whether good or bad can quickly help increase our Mushin if we actively engage our subconscious mind.
Alignment is one aspect of the pre shot routine that can greatly affect our experiences and therefore the learning curve. If we do not take great care with our alignment no level of focus, instinct, Mushin and feel can help your game. One of the biggest problems I see in the pre shot routine, is many golfers do not put enough energy into their alignment. Don’t just connect your mind and spirit to the target you have to connect your body too. I make a huge point to test my alignment every time I hit balls and play. It is by far the most over looked cause of a bad game. This was something I neglected for many years and it cost me any chance of a competitive career. If you are having problems with your game I would start with the pre shot routine.
Here is what you would see during my pre shot routine. I stand about 8 feet behind the ball. I am looking for my target line, feeling the wind and the observing the terrain. I take a deep breath and clear my mind as I gaze. I then adjust my body to stand on my intended target. I take about 5 seconds to let my subconscious take everything in and prepare for an athletic action. I walk briefly down my target line towards the ball and then move to the side of the ball/target line. I put my feet together with the ball in the middle of my stance and lay the club down behind the ball on the target line. My stance and shoulders are slightly open with the right foot closer to the ball. I gaze down at the ball then back at my target. Once the club is set behind the ball I assume my stance and ball position. I want to have a feeling of connection to the target and visualizing the release of energy there.
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 5 months ago #31704

Thank you Brian. What a great time to be attacking this game. Have you checked out Shawn Clements video called Mental Game Baseball For Golf? Also, I think Geoff Mangum's line, "What works and why with the instincts?" is the overall umbrella. Thanks again.
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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 2 months ago #36500

  • Alexis
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Zazen and Taichi are incredible for golf ! I practice Zazen for the past 3 years and my golf really improve.

thaichigolf.blogspot.com is a friend blog from Argentina. We both live here.

The most interesting relation between taichi and golf is taichi swing o like hogan practice in slow motion...

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Re: Tai Chi, ZaZen, QiGong and the Concentration Drill 2 years 1 month ago #37532

Hi Guys, Love this discussion!

Recently I have started doing slow motion swings at the range, I already feel it is helping me overcome swing faults that have been ingrained.

Id recommend buying "Slow Motion Will Get You There Faster" book by Ernest Dras, great book and helps you understand why slow motion helps and how Ben Hogan used it.

Great videos above!

Cheers
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