hips at impact

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  • hips at impact
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    I am now at day 20 of Tathata training.

    The arms and body moving together make complete sense in the Tathata philosophy, but had a heated discussion with a friend about the position of the hips at impact. He pointed out Dustin Johnson’s swing. Seen DTL, his hips are almost completely turned at impact.

    Why such a difference?


    I would surmise that Dustin Johnson does not swing using Tathata principles. There is a concept called X-factor where a player will try to take advantage of the stretch of the abdominals by initiating the downswing with the hips and lagging the upper body behind. He also sometimes gets swing advice from George Gankas who teaches a hip and torso turn through the ball.

    Even with Tathata as the feet, shins, and knees surf to level and the lead hip begins to move back and up there will be a separation of the rotation of the hips and the rotation of the torso and shoulders. We try to use abdominal pressures to keep the shoulders and hips moving together but there will be some separation, though not nearly the extent of a lot of pros.


    Hello Stephane and Les!

    Thank you for your question and feedback. We continue to be amazed by the depth of knowledge and openness to come together not only from the students but instructors utilizing Tathata Training. As you train keep in mind that at this level of training you are being introduced to a stock 7 iron as a point of reference. When we look at the incredible strength and athleticism in the golf swing of a Dustin Johnson we can’t help but relate it to the greats. Tathata Training was developed to stand the test of time. What that means is we shed light on how the greatest golfers and athletes move to create strength and leverage. There is no doubt that players from this era will also join the greats as they continue to win major championships!

    When we look at Dustin Johnson for instance and attempt to relate his incredible movements with Jack Nicklaus it is important to point out the notable factors that play into where we may see differences in terms of positions. The most notable difference between these two stems from how they grip the golf club. Dustin grips the club with a much different / “stronger” front hand position. He also creates strength and leverage differently as he builds width to the top of his backswing. Dustin builds strength with his hands and wrists differently than Jack as well.

    From this perspective it is crucial to not view one as right or wrong but simply point out the incredible commonalities and differences with a sense of such-ness. Dustin’s grip and wrists being set up the way they are to the top of the golf swing are what create what we see through impact to the finish of the golf swing. With a “strong” front hand and bowing front wrist to the top of the golf swing you will see more rotation in terms of the hips through impact coupled with more “forward shaft lean” and a more “locked out” front knee as it relates to the movement of a Jack Nicklaus. The hands will appear more forward at impact and upper body will appear more tipped back to support those impact conditions.

    While it is incredible to look at and point out the differences it is also important to begin looking at the commonalities. When we look at Dustin also notice how he builds strength and leverage to the top. You will see incredible pushing back with strong legs and loading of the ribs to the top. You also see an extremely wide arc and incredible strength and pressure along with a beautiful finish position.

    Thank you for all of the training and study you are putting into your golf games as you continue to build energy and momentum to new outcomes out in front!


    Thank you both for these enlightening answers. If I understand correctly it’s 2 different schools of body movements, but I’ll stick with Tathata!

    I guess my question came from the fact that I tend to pause my hips at the end of the surf movement, before turning the hips. This creates some kind of movement of my arms that is independent from my upper body, and therefore the club face is slightly closed at impact.

    Any drills / body movement I should focus on to avoid this ‘pause’ of the hips?

    Thank you


    This same topic was discussed extensively in a post I started entitled Hip Position at Impact (the last post in that thread occurred about a week ago).

    That post even received a video reply from Bryan, so I’d strongly recommend reading through that thread and watching the video.



    Thanks a lot Nick, I’ll look it up!


    Team Tathata,
    You’re latest post really confused me. Throughout the program, Brian has talked about how having your hips separated from your body, like Dustin Johnson, throws the upper body out and creates a position of weakness. Nowhere in the program has an “alternate” position of strength been discussed.

    Wh,en Bryan replied to the post that I started on Hip Position at Impact, he stated that having the hips open like, Dustin Johnson does, shows a position of weakness and that the golfer is not strong enough to get the hips parallel to the target line at impact.

    Which one is is it? I’m on day 33, and I’ve only heard how we would NEVER want to open our hips al la Dustin Johnson because it is a position of weakness and throws the arms/shoulders. I’m very confused by the program right now.



    Nick – I read the whole post you started some time ago, “hips position at impact”, and found some very valid points.

    I started golf only 4 months ago and Tathata is (was) my main reference in terms of swing. While I think the methodology makes sense as a whole and I have done a lot of progress since I started, I’m now getting confused by the hips parallel to the target line at impact vs. the opened hips that we see on most pro players.

    I’d be very interested in understanding what creates strength, the whole body working together or the torque created by the hips turning and body following.
    Would the Tathata swinger be ‘safer’, easier to learn, but not the one that produces the most power? But then that would contradict the martial art strength theory explained through the program…


    I think you are asking the correct questions here.

    1) I have looked and have yet to find any professional golfers swinging using the Tathata method of hips parallel to target at impact. If you find one, please share.

    2) You’re question on safety vs power is spot on; but I think Tathata has less safety than what we see in the pros. The Tathata swing reminds of what Dave Pelz said about a strong putting arc stroke in putting. Because the hands are attached to the body as the body is rotating through the swing, this gives you a very small window to strike the ball with the clubface facing the target. When the hips turn and the arms follow, using torque, there is inherent stability there and the club face is allowed to stay “on line” towards the target longer, providing a greater margin of error.

    It also reminds me of Pelz using a pull cart example about the short game swing, but it applies to full swing as well. Per p. 61 of his Short Game Bible, “The mass of the clubhead is very heavy, like the mass of a pull cart, and a force can be applied from either ahead or behind (pushing or pulling).” When you push a cart down the fairway, it wobbles and goes all over the place. When you pull it, the cart goes in the exact line you want; I believe this is what happens when the hips turn to lead the body; it provides stability and safety, as well as power.

    Check out Spieth in the video below starting at the 33 second mark to see a little bit of what I am talking about.

    3) In baseball, hockey and golf, we see professional athletes using torque to create power (I posted the pictures in the post, which you read). Why do we not want torque? Is Barry Bonds’ swing weak? Dustin Johnson’s? It would seem odd to answer “yes.”

    I’m continuing through the program, but these are definitely questions that I am struggling to find an answer to.



    Thanks Nick. Very good point on the greater margin of error produced by more hip turn, i.e. the club face longer in line towards the target. This is however confusing me even more, and makes me wonder if the Tathata method is right for me…


    Hi Stephane,

    I’ve had my share of struggles with Tathata but one thing I have really come to appreciate is the power and safety of the surf to level movement. Coupled with the pressure routine, it is incredible. Using the hips to drive the power of the club does work for some people. Some people are predisposed to it I guess and others really work at it and spend a lot of time maintaining it. That never worked for me because I simply didn’t have the time to keep it operational. The Tathata method works MUCH better for me because it is easy to maintain once the body is trained and the concept understood. That make take an initial investment of time and effort but it’s worth it.

    Best luck!!


    Hi David,
    Thanks for the answer on the post. Good explanation, it makes sense. I’m continuing with the Tathata training until the end of the programm as I want to give it a proper chance. I’ll see when I’m done if this is right for me.


    Hi Nick,

    I think I have found an answer to the question we have been debating in this post, i.e. the hip turns of Tathata vs. a Dustin Johnson style. I found this in a post from James, seems like a very good explanation:

    I think golf is unique in you can play with two very different but very effective principles, hit or swing. For hitters you can learn with Tathata martial arts striking principles developed over thousands of years. Swingers can tap into angular momentum a very powerful force of acceleration. Angular momentum in balance with gravity holds the universe together. I think the most important lesson is you have to pick one and don’t try to mix the two.
    I think a good analogy to make that point would be pushing a kid on a swing. In this example you have to use a swingers motion. You have to be smooth in transition, allow gravity to start the kid down then assist but don’t overpower momentum and push at the bottom, equivalent to releasing the club. If you use a hitters motion you yank the kid off at the top grab the seat hard at the bottom and throw it up and over your shoulder. The hitters example would be if you had a sword and tried to move it like a kid on a swing to strike through something, this would be equally disastrous. I honestly think for the majority of people the hitters method would be best. We first come to golf with a hit instinct and a golf club looks more like a sword than a kids swing.

    You can find the full post here: http://legacy.tathatagolf.com/forums/topic/hit-or-swing/
    Worth reading…



    Thanks for posting this. Honestly, I still don’t see how the difference between hitting and swinging is connected to avoiding torque. In either case, it seems like torque would be helpful.



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