There is no need to practise humility as it is usually understood – that is to say, pretending one hasn’t got a skill or knowledge that one really does have. There are superiorities, and they should not be falsely concealed, any more than they should be boasted about. Because the superiorities, whatever they are, are still only little; once we raise our eyes from the immediate surroundings, we see we are like children who think that the hill at the back of their village is higher than the Himalayas. A saying in all the martial arts is this: “When you find yourself becoming an expert, and feel yourself puffing up like big frog, just go to the next pond, and you’ll find you’re only a little tadpole.” One famous Judo teacher whom I knew insisted that all his students should practise the flute; the shrieks and wails that proceeded from …

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Shogi and Western Chess

Where Japan has kept to its traditions, the world has in fact been impressed. For instance, there are few games where there is less action than shogi, go or Western chess. The shogi championships are fought out in a quiet room with a referee and recorders. At most three or four honoured guests are allowed to watch. I have been one of them; it was an honour. I was invited because I had just received a 5th dan at shogi from the Japan Shogi Federation. The then champion Yasuharu Oyama wrote the certificate in his own hand, and I keep it as a rare treasure. In Japan, shogi is much more popular than chess is in Europe and America, though in the former Soviet Union it is encouraged. Our newspapers do not have a daily chess column, while the Japanese papers have a daily shogi and go column. Yet though …

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