‘Oh no, I’ve never been any good with figures.’
‘I can’t understand these legal things.’ ‘I don’t get on with people.’
‘I get on with people all right, but where I am no good is when I am on my own.’
All these are weaknesses, and judo should help us to confront those weaknesses with courage and go for them.
A Japanese chess champion I knew could sit in front of the board for 10 minutes, a quarter of an hour, half an hour without moving a muscle and without making a move.
His opponent was fidgeting, going to the lavatory, having a drink, lighting cigarettes.
The old boy just sat there.
After he had won, I talked to him and he wasn’t at all this calm figure, but a wisecracking Tokyo cockney. I asked, ‘How is it that your chess personality is so different to your ordinary personality?’
He said, ‘Well, when I was young I was like that young chap, impatient, fidgety, and I realised that I would always lose to an old boy who can just sit there. So I practised sitting in front of an empty board for an hour every day for a week, then two hours every day for a week without moving.’
‘Now I can outsit the best of them.’
This is the sort of thing which judo should help us to do – to confront our weak points.