I began at judo under a Japanese teacher of the old school, practising every evening till the training period ended. One day I felt rather off colour, and prepared to leave early The teacher said, ‘Where are you going?’

I replied, ‘I am not feeling very well: I will come tomorrow.’

He said, ‘If a man comes up to you in the street with a hammer, wanting to kill you, can you say to him, “I am not feeling very well; come back tomorrow”?’

I remained that evening till he sent me home.

This one remark, heard only that time but never forgotten, was a big help later on when facing very gruelling training programmes.

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