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Tags: Downswingdownswing separationLower Body Separation
Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine.
Paul Wilson Golf and
Ignition Golf Tips.
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January 11, 2013
Enjoyed today’s lesson. I feel like I’ve mastered (on a good day) the hip turn and good separation with my driver off the T box. I’m hitting the ball straighter and farther than ever before. I’m not nearly as consistent with my fairway woods and middle irons. This seems odd to me since they are shorter clubs and one would think easier to be consistent with. Any suggestions or thought on why I would be having more issues with consistency with these clubs?
January 14, 2013
If you do a different swing you will get a different result. So I would think the swings you are making with these clubs are not as consistent. This could be that you are not as comfortable with these clubs or you are just trying to hit down on them or trying to hit them too hard. Focus on repeating exactly the positions and movement with theses clubs. Keep the swing speed to about 80% or less focusing on repetition not distance.
Also, keep working on prefect movement and positions into the future. When people come to me for lessons I don’t see too many of them doing perfect movement. So it would be highly unlikely if you were doing the exact swing I want you to do. In other words there is room for improvement and making your swing even better. Go through each swing position. See what is lacking and focus on making them even better. My next couple of tips are good ones that you would be working on.
Give this a try and see if it gets you there.
January 12, 2013
Separation seems the same thing as the X-Factor. Your separation is an objective maneuver in the golf downswing. The X-Factor is a measurement of a good swing.
My second2nd Comment: In the Swing Machine where does separation occur? I purchased your e-book. I more specifically mean Iron Byron simulator and not an actual golfer as you just demonstrated.
Separation is x-factor. You are not necessarily trying to make this x-factor wider at this point. You are trying to learn how to fire the hips so you get some x-factor in your swing as opposed to having none. Once you do it dramatically improves your ball striking.
There is no separation in the machine. It is a machine made of metal. It does not have to separate.
January 13, 2013
Hey Paul.. Quick question. I took video of a couple of my swings and found I’m actually on my right toe at/right before impact. It seems like I’m actually pushing off too soon and maybe getting too far ahead with my lower body. What should I do to correct this (but still get off my right side)?
Yes, you are coming off this foot too much. Hit 10 balls flat footed on the right foot through and past impact. This will slow it down. Once you do allow it to gently come off the ground and it will be fixed.
January 15, 2013
I said before that I liked your roll the right foot through onto the toe demonstration. Also I had used the return the belt buckle to the ball. Now I am using both, I return the belt buckle first, the right foot roll seems to follow on, then I push onto the right toe. I recall one of the early greats (possibly Henry Cotton) said he felt as if he was pushing through with his right foot. I think this combination works well for me. I found I could practice this action nicely watching my shadow on the ground. At the same time I became aware of generating lag or separation. The shadow indicates my lower body has turned and the club striking the ground is well behind.
January 16, 2013
It was Ben Hogan who said that. This is what got me my power many years ago.
I like your thoughts and what you are working on. Keep at it.
For clarity…you mention by the time your ” left arm is parallel to the ground, your hips have rotated 45 degree’s….” I’m assuming you’re referencing, once you’ve triggered, the belt buckle is back facing the ball, and your arms at this point are parallel to the ground? Hope this question makes since.
Thanks in advance.
On the way down when your left arms is parallel to the ground your lower body would have already turned 45 degrees which means it would be facing the ball. This is after you have triggered your downswing with the hips. If the hips fire they would instantly be pointing at the ball. In doing so, they are ahead of the arms because at address they were both pointing at the ball. If the hips are already at the ball in the downswing while the hands and club are not they must be ahead of the arms. This is the missing link in the average person’s swing.
February 2, 2013
I was wondering are you familiar with Zeroline Golf app called “Golf MTRx”. It runs on a IPhone or IPod and measures your hip speed in your golf swing. It seems very cool. check it out:
It has a graph that shows how your hips accurate and decelerate in the downswing and then recommends drill based on your performance.
February 3, 2013
I have it just haven’t used it yet. I will try it at some point in the future. I think it will be good though.
February 14, 2013
Tell me if I’m wrong. It seems to me that this move is the key to developing the swing that you are teaching. A bi-product of learning this move is that it takes supreme concentration to master it. While one is mastering this move, one CANNOT think about the hands and arms. I’m still at the beginning stages of your tutelage. It is going to be an interesting year. BTW, I’m still telling total strangers about you and your tips.
February 15, 2013
This is the key move. Yes, it takes focus and concentration. Think about it while at the top of the swing. If you do you will be thinking of something totally different than what you have thought of in the past. If you keep thinking of the same things you will keep doing what you are doing.
Thank you for the promo. I truly appreciate the help.
February 27, 2013
I have two questions:
1 I try to let my right elbow fall in the slot close to
my right hip ,then fire the left hip ,as if it was turning a sharp corner to the left .Does this contadict your firing the left knee first ?
2 BEN HOGAN and others ( TIGER WOODS )adopt the ” barstool ” position before firing the hips .When I manage (pretty difficult to assimilate ! )I am definitely longer off the TEE .You don’ t teach this move .Is there a reason why ?
1. When you fire the lower body first the right elbow should be tucking on its own it the arms are powerless.
Flatten Plane 1: https://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-flatten-plane
Flatten Plane 2: https://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-flatten-plane-2
2. I guess you are talking about a sit down move. Try telling a 15 handicapper to sit down before they hit the ball. Good luck. In looking at Hogan I don’t see him doing this at all: Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL_6M_xZvq0 He explains how to do the downswing which is exactly what I teach. TURN.
I did a tip on this here:
July 19, 2013
Paul ,I have a slow Motion of BEN HOGAN where you see distinctly his head lower just before h
July 20, 2013
My head lowers too. Have I ever thought about it. No.
I do not like the hip bump. I already did a tip on this here:
Bump or No Bump?: https://ignitiongolf.com/bump-or-no-bump/
I have no idea what you mean by pulling the left knee outwards. The left know should be going back and the right knee should be coming around and touching it. This is the same motion when throwing a ball overhand. You have already done this move before why re-invent the wheel. Just do it faster to get more power.
March 8, 2013
Working on this separation seems to have caused me to get way ahead of the ball-I am hitting a large number of shots low, hard right and w slice. Seems like I’m possible pushing my hips to the left or swaying forward instead of uncoiling. However when I use my shadow to try to correct this and eliminate the sway I top the ball. I’ve gone from several weeks shooting in the low 80s to not being able to finish a hole. Everything, from 4i to SW, is shanking right. THis is about the 4th round in a row of it happening. Terribly frustrating. Is it normal to overdo or wrongly do the uncoil and turn it into a sway-and then end p push slicing everything ? Maybe it’s something else? I’ve never had anything like this happen in my game or swing.
March 9, 2013
Immediately slow down. You running before you can crawl. This is very difficult and needs to be done very precisely. I would be doing this stuff hard at home in practice swing then at the range you don’t think about doing it hard. This way you will gradually speed up instead of going full out all the time.
So slow down. Relax the arms and wrists. Tee the ball up if you have to to get some confidence then lower the tee. Focus on the Follow Through positions and making them perfect at a slower rate of speed of course.
Into the future you now know that you need to gradually increase the lower body rotation.
How Much To Use Your Legs: https://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-how-much-legs
August 9, 2013
Spent the majority of this week doing drills to separate my hips from my shoulders. Followed your drills and the drills for flexibility. Went to the range last night. Started with your 3/4 drill. Before each shot I would hold my swing at the top and turn my hips to face the ball. I would also hold my lag.
My sense was that by holding back my arms (my feeling) it helped with separation. I also felt that I was holding as much lag as I could until my hands reached my back leg.
I worked myself through 70 balls over an hour and was very pleased with the results. About half way through the bucket and took a fuller swing. My ball flight was much straighter and longer.
Per my other posts, I had little to no separation between my legs/hips and my upper body and arms. In essences although I started my swing with my hips, the force immediately traveled up my spine to my shoulders, arms and club head. Thus, the club would loose its lag and reach the ball before I could get my hips through. My arms were powerless but because I had little to no separation the club head was reaching the ball prematurely resulting in loss of power.
I suspect I will continue to feel like I am holding my lag till the ball reaches my back leg and holding back my shoulders as long as I can while my hips fire. Eventually this will feel normal and not like I am holding back. In any case, I like the results. Thanks for your help, I have been struggling with this for a long time.
August 11, 2013
Continued to work on separation of hips from upper torso. While “holding back my shoulders and arms and lag” was a start, it is hard to repeat reliably. What I learned today is that I have to start my downswing my moving my back knee to my front knee more slowly all the while focusing on a relaxed spine, shoulder and arm muscles. It is surprising how far the ball goes. I by no means have this mastered. Will need to see if I can do the same today.
Swing thought for today is to wind up with my shoulders, then relax my spine, shoulder and arms while I smoothly accelerate my back knee to my front knee. I need to move my legs and hips more slowly at first so I don’t tense up my upper torso. Will let you know how it goes.
This will take you a long time to perfect so you need to be constantly working on it. I like your thoughts so as I said you need to keep working on it.
I watched your full swing DVD. I put up both the front view and down the line full swing in slow motion and watched them over and over again. It is clear your belt buckle (lower body) leads your shoulders (upper body). they only catch up with one another past impact.
Based on my experience, I believe it is human nature to want to turn the hips and shoulders together. In other words, lock the spine so both turn together. This may be “human nature” and designed to protect ones spine as the twisting of the spine is not comfortable.
Nonetheless, this is a key move I must master if my swing is to get to the next level. I will start slow till it is comfortable. I keep reminding myself “if I can’t do it slow I certainly can’t do it fast”.
It is natural to try to hit the ball sitting on front of you. In doing so, the upper and lower moves together. Kids do not have this choice because they have no arm strength. Keep your arms as loose as a child’s and have strong legs and you will get it.
August 12, 2013
Arrrrgh, frustrating day. Hit lots of fairways but my ball had a weak fade and was 20 yards shorter than normal. Believe my separation was OK but I believe I was falling towards the ball (on my toes from the top during the downswing) cause me to swipe the ball. Will keep working at it. Can’t expect to rid myself of a lifetime of faults in a few weeks. Need to keep upright, keep over my laces and turn my lower body while keeping my upper body relaxed.
August 13, 2013
You are going to have many frustrating days on your road to becoming a better player. Look for good shots and have a great short game to make up for the days when things aren’t going your way.
I am wondering if I fall towards the ball when I turn my hips on the downswing is because my hips are not setup properly? If there a feedback mechanism I can use to verify if my setup is correct? I noticed from my video that as soon as I start to turn my hips during the downswing my first move is towards the ball. Need to figure out how to stop this. Very frustrating.
You check your setup by watching yourself in a mirror. Match up the middle of your shoulder with the tip of your knee and your laces. These should make a straight line. If you are overhanging it will not match up. Also, you are working on separation so you are probably going at it quite hard. You are not good at it so you will be off balance for the while. Keep doing the swings off the ground then you will get used to it.
August 14, 2013
I found a kinematic sequence graph that reflects what i am doing. I used to perform the fanning sequence. In the last couple of years I have moved to the riding sequence. Now, I am attempting via your program to learn the stretching sequence.
See the graph here http://www.philcheetham.com/variations-in-the-downswing-kinematic-sequence-of-golf-stretching-riding-fanning. I will continue to work the separation drills.
This is what I have been showing everyone to do. Keep at it. Coil then uncoil and let the arms go along for the ride. You are not good at it. As you keep doing it you will get better. Patience grasshopper.
August 18, 2013
OK, this grasshopper has been working it hard. Yesterday I shot a 101, today I shot an 83.
What I learned: (I am left handed)
– I thought I was turning my right hip back … I was really sliding my right hip causing me to pull my right arm and club, it caused my club to go off plan for a nasty pull
– Eventually I learned to take my right hip back by taking my right knee back, I knew I was doing this right when taking my hip back did not pull on my right arm and club as I was able to keep my shoulders back (the separation I was looking for)
– By starting my right hip back, when I moved my left knee to my right knee it had room to make the move. The left knee would pull my upper body, arms then club for a long clean hit, I felt I was keeping my lag
Other thing I did was stand taller. I kept my shoulders over my knees which were over my laces. In this position I could keep my balance as my right leg and hip moved back and my left knee moved to my right knee. I actually took less effort to turn than the slide and it resulted in a well struck ball.
One of the struggles I had initially with standing tall was shanking the ball. When I was bent over more, the club traveled closer to my body. When standing taller I needed to be further from the ball. Once I adjusted my setup I was striking the ball well minus the shank.
Now, I have to go out and do it again … only better
For the next round just swing easy. Once you have a good round, most people think they’ve “got it” so they go all out plus their expectations are too high. Just swing easy. This will lower the expectations and keep your loose. Think hit the fairway not hit 300 down the fairway. Think hit the green not I am going to put it close etc.
August 19, 2013
You know the golfer’s mind all too well. Good advice. I will follow it.
I know what you are thinking before you think it. No joke.
August 25, 2013
Initially, in order to achieve separation of hips and shoulders, I would intentionally hold my should back as my hips begin to turn. I no longer need to do this. Instead, the feeling is, as I stand tall and stacked over my hips, knees and laces and my hips begin to turn, I am “leaving” my shoulders behind. As my hips turn the elasticity of my muscles and tendons eventually pull my shoulder through pulling my arms and the club. I am also gaining a sense for when my club is on plane. When it all comes together the ball flies long and in the faraway.
I continue to do this in a slow deliberate manner. I by no means have this mastered but am gaining more of of a feeling how to obtain separation. I like it.
August 26, 2013
Okay, this sounds good plus you are seeing results by doing it. Now, latch on to it and keep doing it for a while. We need you working consistently on some key elements of the swing until they are mastered. No jumping around.
August 31, 2013
Question about push vs pull. I noticed as I have been working on separation how my hands feel on the club from the top at the start of the downswing. In the past, I would feel pressure in my hand as if I was “pushing” the shaft of the club. Lately, I have noticed that I am now feeling the shaft in my fingers as my hips pull everything through.
When pushing the club it was hard to get separation between my hips and my shoulders. I was also more over the top and cutting across the ball. With the feeling of my hands pulling on the shaft It is a much more effortless feeling and the ball goes further. Am I on the right track?
September 2, 2013
No idea. I feel neither pushing or pulling. If you feel it is working then keep the feeling of pulling. Remember though, I want the arms powerless. You really should be feeling nothing.
OK, ball is now going 30 to 50 yards farther. It is a fantastic feeling.
This hitting thing has been so engrained in my swing. Even though I was unwinding with my hips, my upper body was still doing the hitting thing. As my upper body would unwind it would want to “push” the club shaft as in a hit. The part of my hand that would feel the pressure from the club shaft was in my hands between my thumb and forefinger, especially my back hand. Now I am making a fuller backswing and actually feeling the stretch in my front shoulder. When my hips unwinds it eventually pulls my arms and thus I feel the shaft pressure in my fingers (pull not a push).
I am discovering that powerless arms also include a powerless upper body. I have to visualize as my lower body unwinds, it will unwind my upper body and then pull my arms and my hands which will then pull the club. When this happens I feel the club shaft more in my fingers and not in my hands.
I also have to wind up from the top (feel the stretch in my front shoulder and extended front arm). There can’t be any slack when I turn back at the top. If there is slack the unwinding from the bottom (hips) will lose its effect.
I now feel I can power my swing from turning my back knee towards my front knee. I am no longer unwinding form the bottom and hitting from the top. This always felt like I was racing myself to the ball. It was a race between my hips unwinding and my upper body hitting. I was one confused golfer 🙂
I really sounds like you are understanding it and getting the right feelings. Just stick to this for now. So many people want more and more they end up hitting again. Repeat is your new word.
September 3, 2013
You are correct. Us hitters, as you well know, are always thinking how to make the ball go further. The drill I will focus on is the 75% drill at the range. I need to “repeat” until the swing replaces the hit in my head.
Exactly, just keep doing it. It shouldn’t take that long if you are focused on it. Only do it a few times and you will never get it.
September 9, 2013
Had a good week with powerless arms. Instead of just turning my hips and having my arms relaxed, I am now developing a sense of timing with my hips. Goal is to turn and have my back arm fold than release towards the target. Almost feels as if I am throwing something, however there is no force being applied to my arms by my arms.
September 10, 2013
That’s great. You just need to latch on to the feeling and keep doing it until you are good at it. Sounds like you are on your way.
January 27, 2014
Paul, another great video. I understand that you want to move your hips on the downswing when your lead arm is parrallel to the ground, but it looks like you are actually moving your hips as soon as you get to the top of the backwswing. I realize this all happen very fast and maybe a swing you use should also be in shown slow motion so we can see what is happening. In watching the video it looks like you are totally uncoiled before your club starts swinging towards the ball and is end position. Thank you.
January 28, 2014
I was exaggerating it in that video as I swung the club. I thought I said that.
Just work on uncoiling the lower body faster so you get some separation.
June 7, 2014
Paul,As you say ,it takes a lot OF Time to master this ” s
June 8, 2014
This is one of the hardest moves. It is when separates the men from the boys (pun intended).
I think you do need to work on lag. Again, you need to do this daily until it is mastered.
Paul, great tip. It seems like this is 95% of the total swing.
Pros do this. Average players do not. To take your game to a whole new level you need this in your swing. If you feel you are ready to make the jump to a higher level then work on it. If not, save it for the future. Once you get separtaion, you will have more power than you could imagine.
Many golfers are coming into the game later in life, and just aren’t athletic to begin with. That coupled with wanting to master everything in one month keeps most golfers staying at hacker status.
Learning golf late is certainly a disadvantage. I just have to get people to understand how and why you should not be just trying to hit at the ball with the arms. I think if people understand it and feel a few shots with a feeling of nothing they will be more inclined to wanting to keep doing it. People just have to realize doing it this way does take a little time but if they stick with it it’s a whole new world.
I AM A SENIOR GOLFER. SINCE DOING YOUR METHOD MY GOLF HAS IMPROVED. THANKS SO MUCH. PEG
That’s great news. Thank you for the feedback. I truly appreciate it.
June 10, 2014
You can tell just from the number of comments on this drill that most of us do not yet have this move completed and I am not giving up on it.
Had a great practice session yesterday started with a few dozen 123 drills, then added a dozen coil and uncoils and finished with the separation drills and it worked. WOW! What a feeling I walk around the house snapping my hips at night wife thinks I am learning how to dance the Rumba.
June 11, 2014
Yes, this is what separates the men from the boys. If you get this you will hit it like a pro. This is why I keep telling everyone to do my favorite drill holding the club off the ground. If so, you can feel the legs and hips powering the swing. If you can’t feel them you will never use them. Just keep doing that you are doing and this drill and you will get it.
DRILL: Listen to Club Swinging: https://ignitiongolf.com/drill-listen-to-club
April 3, 2015
Like so many others this is one of my favorite tips. i try to get the picture/feeling of a little kid swinging a golf club. Those are powerless arms with great separation/lag. When i really have powerless arms and wrists and grip, i can feel the weight of the club as it swings through the plane. Like one of the other commenters, i sometimes shank the shot, especially on the first few balls i hit at the driving range.
Last week i tore my achilles tendon and won’t be playing for a while. Any suggestions so that i won’t lose what progress i have made?
April 4, 2015
You could be doing release drills. This will loosen up your wrists and help square the face. I have probably done this millions of times in my life. So do this as much as you can. Also work on stretching your arms out and fixing any kind of chicken wing as well as full extension. Just be really careful with leg action for now. If you irritate it it could take forever to heal. Also, short game. Putting and chipping would be good ideas too.
November 4, 2015
I came accross this tip a few days ago and have been working on it with practice tips in my back yard since then. I have found that I feel my best practice swing results occur if I get a feeling of having a very slight pause at the top. This little pause (probably not something that would even be noticed) gives me feedback as to when the backswing is completed & seems to give me the time I need to initiate my downswing trigger to start to unwind my lower body correctly. Am I on the right track with this feeling? Do you feel that in your swing?
I like the feeling of a pause at the top. This is the change of direction not you actually stopping although you can stop in practice swings. This allows you to set the top then have clear downswing thoughts. So keep doing it in practice swings then when you play just change direction with the body coiling and uncoiling.
I did a tip on it here:
Pause At Top: https://ignitiongolf.com/pause-top-backswing
I have had good overall results using your instruction, but I really think that this “separation” has been somewhat lacking in my swing. I’m 69 and at 6’1″ & 200 lbs with no real physical issues I feel I am not getting the distance I probably should be getting. Presently a good drive for me carries 230 to 240 and my 7 iron is about 135 to 140. I know that these distances aren’t horrible, but some separation should improve them I think. I will work on it with practice swings until it feels comfortable and then take it to the range and finally to the course. I can really hear a difference in the “whoosh” factor in my practice swings when I can feel that the separation occurred.
Separation separates the men from the boys. You need to be working on this every night. Do the swings off the ground increase the speed of the leg drive. It has to get ahead of the arms coming down so you have to be constantly working on it. If you learned as a little kid you would already have. This tells me you learned as an adult so you need to play catch up.
Playing Catch Up: https://ignitiongolf.com/playing-catch-up/
I just viewed the two tips you referenced above. They were very helpful and well done as usual. I have to wonder if you actually realize just how good you are at this. Finding this site has been a real game changer for me. I can’t say thank you enough.
November 5, 2015
Thanks for the kind words. I truly appreciate it. I say things the way I do because no one could answer my questions. If I didn’t get answers others are not getting answers either. I don’t think this is right. People need to know how it works so they get it and it makes logical sense. Everything has a reason. Once you know it, and you think it’s important you will want to do it.
April 5, 2016
You reverted me to this “Fire your hips “lesson I saw along time ago ,which is a great lesson ,I more or less forgot .You do manage to move your hips incredibly fast :I just can’t do that like you do
I ‘m still moving my right hip too slowly ,probably I’m too tight to have it moving faster ,though I work regularly at it .
What I touched on in my query applies to the backswing only :to provide the separation going backwards ,and therefore the “spring coil” I do by turning the left shoulder first and keeping the waist or hips motionless in the first part of the backswing ,thus “coiling up “the spring .
Do you do his or not?
April 6, 2016
Yes, this is exactly what I want you to do going back. You cannot turn the shoulders to 90 degrees without the hips moving half. So if you keep the lower stable and turn the upper your lower will move perfectly into position every time. Keep coiling just like this.
Paul ,GARY PLAYER used to demonstrate the “WALK THROUGH” drill to force you to transfer your weight to the front leg in the downswing .Is this a variation of your hip turn drill?(I don’t think so !)It doesn’t seem to bring in the same benefits .
I really don’t like that drill as you never learn how to do the touch the legs position. Why not just lift the back toe a little as you hold the follow through. This way you can do the position and work on getting the weight off this back foot.
Back Toe: https://ignitiongolf.com/big-toe-balanced-finish/
This is what I am doing to get on the tip of this toe:
Secret of the Starting the Downswing (using triggers – off big toe curve): https://ignitiongolf.com/shift-roll/
March 20, 2017
I think this is the best video capture of your technique. I can really see that hip action with the delay of the club coming through! I’ve been practicing every day this winter without hitting a golf ball and just working on my good starting point, hips firing first to a nice clean finish
This is the missing link between pros and amateurs. Glad you have been working on it. This will not come naturally if you learned as an adult. So continuous work should see huge improvement in your swing.
August 17, 2017
How do you like the idea of keeping the back against the target while pushing the left hip to the left? Should help With seperation and keep one from starting down With the hands and arms?
August 18, 2017
This may work for a little while but you run the risk of doing it too much. If you do, your shoulders will be square at impact causing you to flip the club. This will cause pushes, push fades and duck hooks. Why not just turn your arms off and turn your body first?
2 Things Flatten the Plane: https://ignitiongolf.com/2-things-flatten-plane/
March 27, 2018
Do you see any problems with initiating the separation process just prior to the completion of the backswing?
Your collection of work is the best I have seen. Thank you!
So glad you like the tips. I appreciate the feedback. I just want people to understand it and see the whole picture. Plus, I try to answer the questions I had many years ago that no one could answer. Need to know how it all works.
This is tricky to do. I never really did this in my own swing until recently. I saw that I am actually moving in 2 directions at once. Typically this is only seen in long drivers. I have been working on my swing over the last year though.
I would have the thought of uncoiling as you go back. Once set, immediately fire the lower. If you move in 2 directions at once that’s fine but I wouldn’t get hung up on trying to do it.
The Importance of Setting the Backswing: https://ignitiongolf.com/importance-setting-backswing/
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