Ben Hogan, in the era before high speed cameras and endless hi-tech measuring, forged a body-safe motion by trial and error; the same way we learned to walk. The daily process was simple; he kept all motion that worked and abandoned all motion that hurt. This "what hurts and what works in cooperation with the instincts" roadmap led the way to a body-safe swing that allowed Mr. Hogan to practice as much as he wanted. He gathered clues from previous greats and was smart enough to look to other sports for common athletic movement but he never lost sight of the forest by looking at the trees. He was copying no one, letting his body lead the way while his brain cataloged "what hurt and what worked." This natural learning led him to his personal mechanics of instinct, the body friendly motion that never requires non-conscious postural adjustments for safety made during the swing. This body safe motion was only a baseline for Mr. Hogan. With the dogged intensity of a human with nothing to lose and demons always knocking, he forged on; hitting balls was his sanctuary and much more precision was his goal. What he did next was genius.
Without abandoning the "what hurts and what works in cooperation with instincts" roadmap; he experimented with adding gentle torques and pressures to every joint in the body at address; reigning in slightly his free wheeling motion in search for more precision. To his instinctively safe free range motion he added "governors" that automated the kinetic chain and produced the perfectly leveraged, ground up, inside out, NON-CONSCIOUS cascade of events that resulted in a body safe golf ball striking machine like none before or since. The pre-set "governors" he created at address added balance and spine safety "redundancy" to his existing instinctively safe motion. His golf machine performed under pressure like none other because his body stayed relaxed like no other; knowing his swing could never approach the red line that triggered non-conscious postural adjustments for balance and spine safety during the motion. Everyday precision and finesse was finally his, no matter how hard he swung. His golf ball hitting sanctuary had turned heavenly; and I quote Mr. Hogan, "I couldn't wait to get up in the morning, so I could hit balls. When I'm hitting the ball where I want, hard and crispy, it's a joy that very few people experience."
Mr. Hogan discovered his personal, body safe mechanics of instinct and then went even further, adding body safety redundancy. So can you! A new level of performance is yours when you denounce robotic mimicry and employ your own personal "mechanics of instinct" that cooperate with the non conscious cerebellum's demand for absolute body safety. MACHINELIKE PRECISION AND RELIABILITY CAN ONLY FOLLOW INSTINCTIVE BALANCE, RHYTHM, AND SPINE SAFETY. ONLY WHEN THE BODY ANTICIPATES SAFE MOTION CAN IT SHIFT FOCUS TO PRECISION AND FINESSE!!
With conscious pre-sets at address that created body safety "redundancy"; Mr. Hogan swung as hard and freely as he wanted. His body stayed relaxed at all times like none other; knowing the pre-set "governors" guaranteed his swing would never get close to challenging instinctive balance or spine safety. Relaxed focus, precision and finesse were always front and center no matter how hard he swung.
"The path to more precision is also the path to pain free."
- Frank McChrystal
"You never fail until you stop trying." - Albert Einstein
Mechanics of Instinct
Mr. Hogan didn't just cooperate with his non-conscious instincts that demand body safety; he employed them for his benefit. Baiting the instincts into conducting the balance in three planes symphony he consciously planned and set up at address is the true genius of Hogan that merits infinite study. Thanks to all those before me who uncovered clues and shared freely!
"In order to make a movement automatic there must not be any free capability left in a specific motion, otherwise timing issues come along."
- Dariusz Jedrzejewski