Most of you have never seen this. I really hope you enjoy it. To download, just sign into Vimeo and you’re set. If you Final Cut it up, please set to a Crystal Method or Sevendust soundtrack :)
In other breaking news:
I need only 120 more Amazon reviews to beat The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, a dream I’ve had since 2007! Not because I dislike him, but precisely the opposite — he’s one of my writing role models and I long viewed his book as untouchable.
If you’ve read the 4HWW but haven’t left a short review on Amazon, please take 30 seconds and help me here! The stars are, of course, up to you.
It would really mean a lot to me, and what a milestone it would be as a late Christmas present :)
Afterword – Common Questions
Thanks for all the kind words and questions in the comments! Here are answers to a few common questions:
“Gaijin [foreigner] resentment from the Japanese?”
None whatsoever. Major point of conflict with the production company, as they wanted me to show I was ‘proving my teacher’ wrong, etc. for manufactured drama. Total nonsense. The Japanese teachers and students were some of the most gracious and generous people I’ve ever met. The Japanese get a bum rap for xenophobia, mostly by Americans who go over, speak to them in English, and them call them ‘inscrutable’ when they don’t respond in fluent, idiomatic English. Learn some Japanese and they are 100% fine. Business settings = negotiating = not a representative interaction. Get with the people and interact, preferably with something physical. I’ve never felt this artificial insider/outsider wall people talk about.
“Pre-bed and other preparations for physical only or also mental?”
Also for mental and learning. Pre-bed and mid-night language review is incredibly effective for improving recall.
“How much story arc vs. real issues?”
It was real. The fear of falling off was real. It came up only after arrival that injuries were much more common and severe than expected. The editing didn’t do justice to the drama. We had 100+ hours of footage, and there were some gems that could have replaced other bits in this 45 minutes. It rained for 2-3 days of the practice time, for example, and we couldn’t use the horses. The non-yabusame human-to-human interactions with the Japanese were also missing. Some really hysterical moments.
“Have I been back to train?”
Not yet. I love Nikko and would love to go back. I have spoken with both my teacher (Hayashi) and some of the Japanese crew, however. Truly wonderful people.
“Superhuman book to include cooking?”
The way I do it, yes. Simple stuff that tastes great and works. Boys, don’t worry — it’s bachelor screw-up proof.
“Doing a traditional Japanese martial art myself for many years do you ever get frustrated when you learn a skill and then to a certain extent ‘move on’ that you’re just scratching the surface?”
A few people asked this. I don’t try and “hack” everything and move on. I do believe in the enjoyment of constant practice as an exercise, almost like meditation. It’s important to balance achievement with appreciation, and there are skills that I continue to practice without abandoning them. In fact, I don’t feel like I abandon much. Even if I haven’t really practiced tango since 2006, for example, the skills and awareness I developed in tango are applicable to other things, even yabusame. I feel like each is intertwined with the next, so I’m — on a macro-level — constantly working on a process of skill-development that spreads across these various experiments.
In simpler terms, I’m just having fun and doing what makes me most excited. I see nothing wrong with this. For some, that will mean 1 skill a year, others 1 skill a month, and others still, one skill a lifetime.
All are fair.