Coherency of Blake's Theory: Dragging, Transmitting, and Leverage

December 16 2009 at 3:10 PM
Snakedoc  (Login Snakedoc)
Blake Moderator Emeritus

Why does coherency matter if Mindy's swing method works? That's a valid point, but if his theory is not logical and consistent, how do we know that he got his instruction right? Most people who try the reflex swing eventually give up. Blake was a highly skilled pole vaulter and he had great opportunity to observe and study other field events involving propelling/throwing objects, such as the shot put and the javelin throw. This study convinced him that increases in distance records over the years was due to modern technique which, he claimed, involved more efficient and effective use of the legs in the propelling/throwing action with the upper body and arms used less directly, ie, in "reflex." In the case of the shot put and the javelin, equipment improvements wouldn't seem to be a factor. A shot would seem to be unimprovable, ie, it's globular and of a certain heavy weight. I'm no expert on the javelin but its shape is already quite aerodynamic--has it been improved over the years? We know athletes have become stronger for various reasons and this would account for some of the increases in the field event records. Blake stated modern reflex technique in the shot put and javelin throw was well known and routinely taught to field athletes. Blake: "This reflex principle has been used to create a perfect technique in field athletics which are, like golf, purely technical sports." "Perfect" technique? No one has come forward (on the forum) to verify Blake's statements about use of reflex technique in field athletics, though that doesn't preclude its veracity. He believed reflex technique was directly applicable to a much better way of swinging a golf club. One intriguing question: why was the method he discovered overlooked by the golf world for hundreds of years and, one might say, still overlooked (except for the few of us who found it through his books and have put it to good use, or are learning the method now)? Blake wrote, in GTTB:

"I think the crucial importance of reflex technique went right over the heads of many, and perhaps even most, of the readers of my first book. It is the ONLY way to use the human body at maximum efficiency, and reflex technique is fundamental to the whole method I am about to describe.

o The legs are used as the SOLE source of power.
o The body has to assume a series of EXACT positions.
o The position of the RIGHT ELBOW is absolutely critical.
o The transmission muscles between the legs and hands must be RELAXED in order to apply the power of the legs.
o NO CONSCIOUS EFFORT must be made with any of the transmission muscles.
o In particular, there must be NO CONSCIOUS HIT WITH THE HANDS, which should be used together, as they are used in a two-hand tennis backhand, and should transmit the power of the legs simply by DRAGGING THE CLUBHEAD THROUGH THE BALL."

Blake explained his swing in terms of what seems to be two different modalities, dragging and transmitting, although he must have thought of them as elements of an overarching theory. On the one hand he wrote the downswing was a dragging action by the legs which pulled the arms and club down and through. On the other hand he wrote the downswing action was a "transmitting" of energy from the legs through stretched muscles between the legs and hands." [Aside: The transmitting notion reminded me of an article that once appeared in the now defunct "Natural Golf" magazine. It theorized that each muscle group, from the ground up, made its contribution to swing power, passed it on to the next group, with accumulated power from each successive muscle group finally being transmitted to the hands.] Blake also added leverage into this mix, albeit in one short sentence, to wit: "The right elbow is thrust forward [at address] so that the legs can lever the hands."

To my way of thinking, dragging and transmitting are two different beasts. And where does leverage fit in with either of these two? Can you reconcile the various elements into one easily understandable explanation, and, if so, does your explanation fit with current knowledge of physics, anatomy and kinesiology? Jim

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