Mental control is a very important part of Judo training. We need courage. We haven’t had a war here—a major war—for a long time, but people who have been through some of the worst of war say that a Judo contest can sometimes be more frightening than actual danger. To that extent our contests are a very good training. It’s not a question of being frightened but still going through. That’s something inferior. If the training is pursued, there is an inner calmness. When We face something very extreme— perhaps death, perhaps ‘something even more unpleasant— then we shall know whether our Judo training has been going really deep.
Perhaps you may suffer a medical catastrophe, while you are still young. The doctor looks at all the results of the tests and examinations, and says, ‘Oh’. And you will ask, ‘How long will it be before I get better?’
‘Some of these cases make progress’, he replies.
‘What about mine?’
‘Well, it’s only afterwards really that we can tell: that was a good one, that was a bad one’, the doctor says.
You don’t really get more out of him, but if you know a consultant personally, perhaps you go to him and say: ‘What are the chances in these cases? I want to know’.
‘One in five will survive’, he says.
Perhaps that’s not so easy to meet. But if we have practised Judo in the full sense, then it will slowly come to help us. And maybe when on another occasion we come back home and find our house has been gutted by fire, it may turn out that we are not nearly so upset as might be expected.
When Dr. Kano was in Italy, he was travelling in a coach through the mountains, and one of the members of the Japanese embassy was with him. The coach went off the road and stopped halfway over the edge of a cliff, and there was a hysterical panic among some of the passengers. But that man from the embassy told us: ‘Dr. Kano was quite calm. He knew it might go over any second, but he sat there quietly. That helped to restore quiet among the passengers, and they came off quietly’.