Spirit and Heart: A Back-to-the-body Perspective

Ken Burns, world champion snooker player

Ken Doherty, world champion snooker player

The Irish world champion professional snooker player Ken Doherty once said,

“The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.”
— Ken Doherty

But what is spirit, actually? How do you recognize spirit? How do you develop it? In this article, I consider “spirit” from the Back-to-the-Body Perspective—and I will connect “spirit” with the realm of the heart.

Spirit and Heart

When people talk about “spirit,” they refer to the breath of life, the mind, consciousness, thought, etc. Or perhaps they are referring to a supernatural being, such as an angel, fairy, or ghost.

But “spirit” in this article has a more specific meaning: the kind of enthusiasm that a person shows in sports or in other activities. From “spirit” comes “esprit de corps,” which is a unity that binds together a groups of people who are engaged in a common activity or cause.

In this sense, “spirit” is not the same as skill or even strength. “Spirit” has to do with heart, feelings, emotions. It is a mixture of hope, enthusiasm, vivacity, verve, and character.

An Infectious Spirit

"Spirit" is the joy of heart

“Spirit” is the joy of heart

Sometimes we say that an individual has an “infectious spirit.” This means that this individual projects an enthusiasm that makes other people feel enthusiastic too. People love to be around someone with that kind of infectious, positive spirit of hope, joy, fun, and optimism.

Ken Doherty gives us the convenient five S’s of sports training: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit. If we consider these five S’s from the Back-to-the-Body Perspective, we can classify them as follows:

stamina: a characteristic of the stomach;

strength: close to stamina but involves also your a mental attitude;

speed: For speed, you need strength, stamina, a good mental attitude, and skill.

Spirit: The enthusiasm of spirit comes from the heart, but a good mental attitude and a positive belief are essential.

As you can see, the three aspects of stomach, brain, and heart are all connected. You really cannot have one without the others. In the past, you would hear about “mind and body,” but this way of looking of people does not produce good understanding.

This “duality” is the old wy of looking at people. Today we look at people as having three parts: a physical part (stomach), a mental part (brain), and an emotional part (heart)—and the three are all connected for a balance of life, vitality, skill, and spirit. So, Ken Doherty’s five S’s are a good way of looking at sports training and at life in general: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit.

I conclude with a quote:

Let your love to life be love to your highest hope; and let your highest hope be the highest thought of life!
— Excerpt From: Friedrich Nietzsche. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. iBooks.

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
April 19, 2015

Photo Credits:

Photo: Ken Doherty. Author: Florian Knorn. Source: http://bit.ly/1DWlCSS. Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Photo: Smile of joy. Author: Naresh Rao. Source: http://bit.ly/1Is5sjQ. Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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