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Mental Health Awareness Day Feature

In commemoration of World Mental Health Day this October, we’ve prepared an insightful 4-part series to play our part in raising awareness on mental health issues and the need to support esports players in this arena. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring different Team Razer members as they share their experiences on the pressures they face as professional players and how they maintain peak performance amidst the stresses of the job.

AN UNBEATABLE MINDSET

Fighting game legend Keita “Fuudo” Ai joins us for our third feature, giving his take on how he deals with the pressures of being a pro player. Renowned as one of the best R.Mika players in the Street Fighter V arena, Fuudo is currently shaking up the scene in recent tournaments with his weapon of choice – Poison.

1. How do you deal with the incredible pressure that comes with playing for major tournaments with huge prize pools? What kind of support did you wish you had with regards to this when you first started being a pro player?

Though I do feel the pressure at times, I think my opponents feel it as well, and I think our ability to overcome that pressure is what makes this scene what it is. Fortunately for the fighting game community, we are like a family with an unshakeable bond. We share information and support each other, and I think that is why the community is strong.

2. In your career, what kind of negative behavior or harassment did you have to go through and how did it affect you? Could you give advice on how to combat that?

I am extremely fortunate that within the fighting game community, we all help each other out, even while maintaining friendly rivalries. I have not had any experience with being harassed or witnessed foul behavior.

3. Outside of competition, what are the things that you worry about with regards to your career in esports (e.g., longevity of career, worry of injury, stress leading to insomnia etc.)

None! On the contrary, I am very happy and grateful to have been able to grow my position year after year.

4. Most people have this image of esports players being people who are effortlessly good at the game and are having fun all the time. What is the reality like, in terms of training, mental and physical stress, and what advice would you give to someone who wants to break into the pro scene?

I’m really blessed to be doing something I love as my profession, so I don’t think it’s wrong to say that I’m having fun all the time.

However, high expectations are ever-present, which often leads to a great sense of emotional pressure. I’ve been a professional player for nine years, and I think the one thing I can say is that it’s better to practice every day and prioritize improvement than to focus on achievements. I think that will keep you going in the right direction, both mentally and physically.

5. What techniques or types of support do you find helpful when dealing with stress in competition and negative comments or publicity?

The people I have supporting me are extremely passionate individuals who share their honest, unfiltered opinions with me – and I am very grateful to them for that. I keep to the mindset that regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, these are objective comments that have been conveyed to me for my own personal growth and benefit. It is the essence of this feedback that has been a huge help in getting me to where I am today.

With regards to these comments, I think we all deal with them differently. There are, of course, certain comments that are better left alone. I think it’s best for people to respond in the way that best represents who they are, rather than to follow some universal notion of what’s right.