Going straight at a thing is a very important part of the training of the ‘Ways’. One aspect of this is to practise under unfavourable conditions deliberately.
Suppose you’re a poet – one day in the middle of winter you should get up at half past three, throw open the windows and, without any heating, write some poetry. If you are an archer, do the same thing. If you are a painter do the same, although your hand is blue with cold.
Cold training in judo used to be at about quarter to five in the midwinter, and it went on for a month. Well, it is very cold but it teaches you one thing. If you are very cold your body will only be sixty per-cent efficient, but you can make it sixty per-cent efficient. It is very, very cold. The windows are thrown open, it’s five in the morning and your body is very cold – frozen.
You have to practise judo, but there are many things you can’t do. You keep missing the timing and you stub your toes.
But if you can keep your awareness and calm and know that your body is only sixty per-cent efficient but you use that sixty per-cent to the full, that’s a great advantage in life later on.
People who haven’t been through that training are not efficient at all. They have no ability when the conditions are not right. They say, ‘Oh, what can you do in cold like this?’ They collapse completely.
But if you have done that training you can do something. And the same applies when you are ill or injured.