Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results. James Allen

Its good to have lofty goals, big goals. But the journey of a thousand miles can begin with a pair of crappy sneakers.

As I did my Nei Kung exercises in sight of the majestic peak of Mount Fuji, I had a Tom Cruise Last Samurai Realizationt(TCLSR).  With whatever you want to learn, master, or play around with you must ‘Go and Let Go.’  Cue slow motion scene of me doing ‘Embracing Horse’ on a pristine beach.  [Truth in advertising: You couldn’t see Fuji and they were burning trash on the beach, but I was doing Nei Kung.]   Here’s the skinny:

  • Growth  comes from pushing and from releasing.  In terms of short term and long term memory acquisition, rest and spacing are just as important as acquiring new information.  In terms of muscle building and push ups, ouch! 🙂
  • Boredom is information.  Maybe it means it’s time to take a break or completely let go.
  • Consistently trying in a direction is important but you have to bob and weave and change it up. Sometimes you just have to, ‘fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee.’ (or vice versa!)
  • Time limits work. Time pressure can be your friend.


Growth  comes from pushing and releasing

The day of our path can often be a little less um, scenic, than our lofty goals. Luckily, you have a pair of crappy sneakers to help you dance above and through it all.

I came to this realization as I gazed out at the smoke billowing amongst the piles of random sea trash  Suruga Bay.   In between my Nei Kung exercises I did teeny weeny sprints of Japanese vocabulary flashcards on my iPod. (It’s better to do sentences but I’ll leave it up to ajatt.com to explain that to you.)  The cards cycle back until you master them four times.  I decided that I would do the cards until a) a hard card I had just mastered was repeated or b) when I got bored.

Stopping works on several levels.   Taking a break allows information to cook in.   Reviewing it at the appropriate time seals in the flavah! Push, release, push, release.  Kegels for the brain.  (If you don’t know what kegels are you haven’t had a child recently.)  Check out information on Spaced Repetition SystemsAnki (an online and offline flashcard program), and the “Equipment” section of ajatt.com (you don’t have to be studying Japanese to get a lot out of this website.)

Boredom is information. Use it.

A natural place to stop or change your study method is when you are bored.  Boredom is information.  Either you need to change what you are studying or doing or change your state of mind about it.   In the case of the flashcards on the beach, I just stopped and came back to it pretty soon again.  Sometimes, you just need to get rid of whatever particular bit you are studying, or you will be in danger of derailing the whole process.  Lately, I’ve been reluctant about looking at my Samurai notebook.   The main culprit is the fact that there is a lot of must-do stuff inside of this book instead of the Steve Chandler quotes and other fun stuff I have in other notebooks.  If a card, fact, page, book, idea is boring get rid of it.  It will save you a lot of time.

Consistency is important but you have to bob and weave and change it up.

Anki, ajatt.com, flashcard systems can help you untangle the flotsam and jetsam. But its also important to keep exploring and having fun. Polished stones and driftwood.

Pulling out the flashcards on the beach was kind of an inspiration.  Try changing up your methods and approaches to what you are trying to master and make sure you are having fun.   As Khatzumoto explains, fun gets done.  All the words I collected had some kind of fun memory attached to it.  Bob and weave with methods and approaches to keep it fun, to cross train.

Time Limits Work

Lately I’ve noticed that pushes go better for me when they are squeezed into little moments: quick little reviews on the bus or in between exercise sets.   As I write this, my time at the mangakissa is running out.  Part of the reason I like working here is that there is a built in time pressure.   I have to pay for this time and I have to pay even more if I go over time in my little cubicle.  One last push.  Release.   Go and let go.   Samurai time is on your side.

I enjoy and look forward to your comments!

Samurai Time is on Your Side, pt. 1