Sport: A kinetic melody of art and science
A kinetic melody of art and science
amalgamation of various hues, different colors even, altogether and yet not in the tiniest fraction of a little bit obfuscating their intrinsic souls. Different but united by the sheer enormity of the spirit that has manifested itself as MOVEMENT. That is what SPORT represents for me; the manifestation of the power of the human spirit and will at its peak. It lies there, ensconced - in not just the thud and thump of a thundering heart beat - but in the beads of perspiration, the mélange of voices in one’s head, dichotomously so of course (calming that mental chatter requires tapping into some of that will), the contraction and relaxation of one’s muscles, the feeling of one’s lungs on fire. It is the core of every sportsperson. Sport, I believe is energy in
“The scene is instant, whole and wonderful. In its beauty and design that vision of the soaring stands, the pattern of forty thousand empetalled faces, the velvet and unalterable geometry of the playing field, and the small lean figures of the players, set there, lonely, tense and waiting in their places, bright, desperately solitary atoms encircled by that huge wall of nameless faces, is incredible.” —Thomas Wolfe (Of Time and the River)
manifest form as I’d mentioned earlier, a conduit for the patterns of the universe to play themselves out. Allowing that spirit to take shape in its own unique way is indeed a herculean task and the tools and techniques that science has to offer, I believe, provides the fuel for this process.
My personal experiences competing in martial arts at both the national and international levels from a young age, has given me the opportunity to gain better insight into the conditions and mental states that improve or hinder sporting performance; like ‘flow states’ and sporting anxiety, both of which I have experienced. Injury and the ensuing recovery processes were something that I experienced as well. A ‘flow state can bring out one’s ‘A-game’ while anxiety can be crippling and can often lead to outcomes
a lot worse than defeat, if not channeled in the right way. The several victories I have enjoyed have been a result of the inadvertent use of the right effort, training methods and mental states.
I say inadvertent because my experiences in sport had been more performance oriented than analyzing the process behind its optimization. What allowed me to start focusing on ‘process’ and ‘deliberate practice’ had been the defeats I suffered from and the breaks I’d been forced to take due to injury, which gave me time to think. My first-hand experience of training and competing in combat sports, is, I feel, one of the reasons I began to develop a fascination for sport and all the science working in conjunction with it.
In order to maximize one’s potential, one must, incorporate scientific principles into their respective training. The role of a sports scientist lies in the aforementioned detail, to work assiduously at providing the scientific backbone to every technique, regimen/training sequence. The rationality, experimentation, hypothesizing, observing and active partaking of the fruit of curiosity that is innate in science (to mention a few) intertwined ed with the beauty of sport, both fascinates ates and inspires me to delve more deeply ly into this area.
The nuances and intricacies associated with sport are so multitudinous, that I feel I must - in order to dive into deeper waters - both study and employ the scientific method associated with it. In Oliver Sack’s book, ‘A Leg to Stand On’, he describes movement as a ‘kinetic melody’.
I truly feel like the term perfectly encapsulates the process. Muscle coordination, synchronization, timing; all played out as music in kinetic form. My appreciation for even the simplest of coordinated movements springs from the very fact of my having read about the proprioceptive mechanisms behind movement, which was so beautifully delineated in the book. As elegant or magnificent as movement looks (in terms of sport and exercise), it is the science with all its alluring complexity, that offers meaning to it all. That any maneuver, as simple as it may look, is held up by so many scientific processes, working so efficiently even without the knowledge of the doer, amazes me beyond measure.
Cracked beauty - like the Japanese process of inlaying brokenb porcelain with gold - is what sums up sposports science for me. It is like a constant osmosiso between piercing the whole ddiscipline with the intellect, subjecting it to scientific reasoning and the aesthetic elements of sport: logic formforming the region of high concentration at some momoments and beauty/ aesthetics making up thet region at other moments - me being the sesemipermeable membrane-dynamic equilibrium ata its best, perhaps.
About the author
Anushikha Bhas has multidomain experience in the fields of life-sciences, sport and health with a Master’s Degree from the University of Exeter, UK. Her interests span across domains of sport, art, science, literature and creative writing. Her current research explores the psychophysiology of flow states.