I took my first golf lesson this week. What a blast- thanks to the wonderful pro at Mere Creek Golf Course, Kevin Johnson!
I immediately saw the connection between practicing golf and practicing the Japanese art of the sword.
Hope this helps my fellow golfers! (Can I officially say I’m a golfer after only one week? Alex did get me a set of clubs!)
“Simple- not easy.”
Everything you do with a sword is dependent upon one simple technique- your ability to make a clean, precise cut.
To that end, practitioners of kenjutsu, kendo and iaido do thousands of repetitions of just the cutting motion, or even of simply drawing the sword so you can make a cut.
Sound like your first day on the driving range? I only hit one bucket of balls, but it sure felt like thousands…and it sure feels like I’ll need thousands more before I perfect my swing…
Which leads to my next thought:
“Perfection is not a destination- it’s a never-ending process!”
Back on the range yesterday…
I drew back my club- exactly the way my instructor showed me…head over ball, relax, breathe…smooth downward stroke…turn, follow the ball…
…beautiful drive! This is really fun!
Set up again…
Something doesn’t feel right…as I swing I know I’m trying too hard…slice!
Set up again…
I hear a noise behind me and I lose my focus…I lean in and phlumph! I tear up about six inches of grass from the range…the grass travels farther than the ball!
Set up again…
Pow! Finally…another good one! I just enjoy watching the ball float down the range and settle near the target.
In everything you do, perfection is not a set point in time and space. Just as there is no “perfect” cut, only the practice to perfect the cut; I’m learning quickly that there won’t be any “perfect” drive…just the drive to perfect my drive!
Works in real life and business too!
There’s a great scene in the movie The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise…
Cruise plays Nathan Algren, an Civil War hero turned mercenary who is in Japan to quell the last of the Samurai resistance to modern culture and rule. Algren is captured by a Samurai leader and is being held prisoner of sorts in their village.
His captors are extremely hospitable, giving Algren free range of the village. They even allow him to train with the other warriors- which is where he runs into trouble!
As they train with their wooden swords, bokken, Algren quickly finds himself completely outmatched.
Nobunata, son of the warlord Katsumoto, takes a shine to Algren. After seeing him whacked over the head for several matches in a row- he steps in…
“Too many minds,” he tutors Algren.
“You mind the sword. You mind your opponent. You mind the people watching…
Back to the range…
I mind the other people on the range-
I mind what an idiot I must look like to the seasoned players-
I mind the ball whizzing by my head from the golfer next to me who is even worse than I am-
I mind the pro who just stopped by to check on me and see if I’m sticking to his plan…
Too many minds!
I can see that just as with the sword, the trick is what the Japanese call Mushin: “no mind;” This means a clear head, free from distractions and engaged fully in the present moment.
I wonder how the other golfers will react if I show up with my sword in my bag to remind me to keep “no mind!?”
Join us for a fun day of golf and at the same time help develop the next generation of successful business people at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy!
We want to expand this amazing program and you can help!
- Register and play with us on June 13th at Bath Golf
- Become a sponsor
- Donate in ANY amount…every dollar helps!
Additional revenues will support college scholarships for area high school seniors!
Be sure to stop by for some refreshment and meet TEAM BLACK BELT!
AND…Marketing Your Mastery 1/2 Day Boot Camp
Coming to Freeport, Maine…May 29th!