What drives you to do great things
The DMG MORI Sailing Team introduces itself
Kojiro why are you sailing What drives you
I grew up in the Japanese coastal city of Kamakura with the ocean on my doorstep. As a child, I wanted to know what was beyond the horizon. This question was always with me. Then I met my mentor Yukoh Tada. He was the answer to my question as a kid. Sailing was the answer. Yukoh showed me a way to travel the world and make friends. The adventures that come with sailing across the oceans are what drives me. Sailing is a great way to enjoy life on this earth.
And how did you get to know Yukoh Tada?
I met Yukoh Tada when I was 17. He was the first Japanese to win an ocean regatta around the world. A hero. I wanted to know everything about him. Wanted to know how he had prepared for this huge challenge. So I called him. I found his number in the phone book and dialed it from the Tokyo train station. Nobody answered. But I persisted, calling him over and over again. On the fourth day he finally answered it. I think it was four in the morning. He was a taxi driver and had just come home from the night shift. My hero ended up being a very simple man like any other, with a normal job. But he could still pursue the thing he loved. And that was sailing.
In what ways has Yukoh Tada influenced you?
I think his absolute joy in sailing made a huge impression on me. Even in the greatest storm he could laugh and joke. And that's one of the hardest things to do. How quickly does a person get scared in such a situation, withdraw below deck and no longer have a view of the wild sea around him? Not Yukoh. The way in which he enjoyed sailing himself under these conditions is what I take as a model.
What was the stickiest situation you've ever been through?
When I was 25, I wanted to sail solo around the world, from Japan to Japan. I had to give up twice because of problems with my boat. A point at which it is easy to say: It shouldn't be. But I didn't give up. Asked my friends and partners to support me a third time. And then I actually made it: once around the world, without stopping, all alone.
Offshore sailing is extremely demanding - physically and mentally. How do you keep fit?
I do this in Japaneselaido, the art of drawing the sword to gain strength. A lot is also about mental training and targeted meditation. In terms of physical fitness, I don't make my workouts too hard. My body takes longer to recover from extreme stress. So for me it's more about an efficient balance: a good portion of training, but without exhausting myself completely.
What advice do you give young ambitious sailors?
Write your own story. Don't give up - and write your own unique story.
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