A Look Into the Mind of Daigo “The Beast” Umehara
Shoryuken.com has an extensive interview with the all-time Street Fighter competitor great, Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. He most recently took a shocking 4th place in Evolution 2011 after winning it all in 2010 and 2009. He would probably tell you his crowning achievements are one of his MANY tournament wins. I would tell you that Evolution 2004 moment #37 is what vaulted his name into mythical internet folklore. It was even made into a trial in the recent Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition or SF3:TSOE as I so lovingly coined it.
He plans on using Akuma when AE 2012 (Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition’s version update) is released. He doesn’t regret using Yun in EVO 2011. He thinks the competition is getting tougher. I’d love to get a chance to get my ass kicked by “The Beast”.
Can you put in words what it feels like to compete?
“It is a process of like piling a round stone one after another, very carefully and creatively. I enjoy a process of challenging myself. I set goals for myself. I identify what’s missing in myself and find out what I need to do in order to reach the goal. That revelation and growth process is so valuable to me.
For me to play a game means trying something new and pushing myself to a new boundary. It’s not whether I can win, throw a cool combo, or just simply have fun with it. So it has nothing to do with what others think of me or my play, but how I feel. I keep pushing myself, and that’s all there is. I don’t compare myself with others. My inspiration and drive comes from my internal desire of wanting to challenge myself. I think that’s what people see in me as a competitive person.”
What is the secret to being a top gamer?
“Though it’s a video game, I look at it as an athletic sport. As preparation is most important in every kind of professional work, it’s no different for my profession – practice is the key. Specifically, in my practice I aim to achieve both a high volume of play as well a high quality. In order for anyone to rise above all the others, he has to practice, even when a game is less popular and some people are not playing. That’s where I believe champions separate themselves. It’s easy to have fun when everyone is crowded around and playing, but it’s not so easy when it’s just you driving yourself forward.
In terms of quality, I not only practice continuously, but I’m always thinking about and searching for the most effective methods. Without this kind of consideration, your practice may not be stimulating, and your growth will come to a halt. Even if you don’t know how you should think about and approach your practice, if you strive to be self-aware and reflect on your game, your way of thinking will evolve. In this way, my conception of the game and how to win evolves continually.
That said though, you can’t discipline yourself to that degree without a true passion for the game. So my ultimate secret to staying at the top would probably be my everlasting passion for fighting games.”
I can commend anyone who wants to take their craft and goals that passionately. He’s made a sport and living out of it. Read the rest of SRK’s interview here.
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition 2012 is a free patch that is scheduled to hit the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions in December.