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What drives a world-class eSports competitor?

What drives a world-class eSports competitor?

April 19, 2016 | By Christian Nutt




"What good was winning without flair? Annihilating an opponent without any concern for the beauty of the game was not the way forward."

- Daigo Umehara shares a motivating insight from his career

Daigo Umehara is synonymous with the highest level of Street Fighter competition. The former world champion, and a world-class player -- he placed second at December's Capcom Cup -- speaks to The Red Bulletin about his evolution as a competitor, sharing the watershed moments that shaped his career over the years.

The picture painted is of a competitor who was gradually formed by his experience -- and the profile offers some insight into what drives a world-class player to excel at eSports.

One interesting example is this formative story about his father's reaction to his desire to become a full-time Street Fighter champion in the 1990s:

My father has always been a great support to me, which is probably due to his own past. He practiced Kendo as a young man—a martial art popular with the ancient Samurai—at a very high level. He dreamed of a career in Kendo, but my grandfather had other ideas and made him go for a more conventional career. Of course, my grandfather was only repeating the pattern imposed on him decades before by his own father, who shattered his dreams of playing the Japanese chess game, Shogi, competitively. One by one, they were forced to sacrifice their passion for the sake of convention. I think that by allowing me to continue, my father wanted to break the cycle. It was not an easy choice at the time, as there were no professional Japanese gamers in the early 1990s.

It's a fascinating Q&A (with great photographs, too) and you can read it at The Red Bulletin

Meanwhile, if you're interested in finding out more about the transformation of Street Fighter V into an eSport, you can read our interview with producer Yoshinori Ono



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