Monday, November 26, 2007

A Japanese “secret weapon” for improving your golf game.

Indoor driving ranges and putting greens are great during the winter, but what else are you doing to improve your golf game in the off-season? Relaxation, balance, center of gravity, and coordination – many would argue that these are all important components of an excellent golf game. The Japanese art of Aikido is a fantastic secret weapon to maintain and improve your golf game.

Aikido (pronounced 'eye'-'key'-'doh') is a unique form of Japanese exercise that fully engages your mind and body, providing a powerful vehicle for generating more power in your swing and improving your short game coordination. Aikido is a martial art, but can be practiced at any level of intensity according to the needs or physical capabilities of the golfer. In Aikido, there are no punches or kicks, unlike most other martial arts, so injury is extremely rare. An Aikido student learns to move their body effectively and efficiently by employing moves that at times almost look like a golf swing. These moves teach you to first evade and then off balance your partner (who is pretending to be an attacker) without harming him or her.

People of all ages practice Aikido, but it is particularly beneficial for adults. In fact, you're never too old to start practicing Aikido. Several of our instructors' teachers in Japan continue to train in their 70s and 80s! This is because Aikido builds coordination and body awareness exponentially, thus keeping the body fit and agile. Body awareness is, perhaps, one of the most essential qualities of an exceptional golf game.

During the golf season and in the off-season, Aikido helps keeps your muscles and joints strong and limber. It maintains and even improves your sense of balance and posture, which, of course, further contribute to a great golf game. Furthermore, Aikido spends a significant amount of time improving wrist health. Specific, Japanese Aikido wrist exercises maintain an ideal amount of limberness and flexibility in the wrist, which not only improves wrist strength and flexibility, but actually prevents injury on the golf course.

The art of Aikido and the art of golf have much in common. That is why Aikido can help improve your golf game. Any experienced golfer knows that the power of a golf swing derives from the hips, not from force pushed through your arms. Aikido's power also originates from the hips. Golfers know that the harder you try to hit the ball, the less distance the ball will travel. So, too, with Aikido. The harder you try to perform a technique, the less effective the technique will be. Every golfer has, at one time or another experienced their best drive and greatest distance when they weren't "trying" to hit the ball. They just did it! That was because their mind was at ease, empty and in the present (not the past or future). Every Aikido student has had the exact same experience.

Both golf and Aikido require your complete and undivided attention. Many have likened golf to the Japanese concept of Zen. This deliberate attention to the present moment in a golf game actually creates stress relief and may, in fact, partly account for the almost addictive quality of golf that many people experience. In addition to providing stress relief and a clear state of mind, it has the added benefit of being quite cardiovascular. So you de-stress and stay strong and fit over the winter at the same time.

In Japanese, Aikido translates as "the way of harmony." It is meant to convey the notion that through the constant quest for self-perfection and/or harmony we can achieve great success in our lives. Many of the great golfers have expressed that the constant striving toward perfection or self-mastery is one of the things that attracts them most to the game of golf. If you share this sentiment, then you will particularly love practicing the art of Aikido, especially when you see your handicap drop.

Come discover how Aikido can serve as a catalyst for dramatically improving your golf game. We invite you to come try a class at our Aikido school in Castle Rock, Colorado for free. Visit us at or call us at 720-221-3665.

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