Training in martial arts has been one of the most rewarding, meaningful pursuits of my life, and I highly encourage you to give one a try if you’ve yet to don a dougi (道着, “training uniform”) or hit the tatami (畳, “straw mats”). Martial arts training has numerous benefits: ① Increased focus, discipline, and self-control. ② Improved strength, flexibility, agility, and bodily awareness. ③ A better chance of defending oneself from bullies, criminals, rapists, etc. But learning a martial arts offers another potential advantage that few people talk about: highly contextual Japanese immersion! Read on to see three reasons why martial arts is an ideal context for learning Japanese, and a few of the most popular bujutsu (武術, “martial arts”) to choose from.
We live in a world obsessed with speed and efficiency. “Faster” is almost always equated with “better” (other than with sex of course). We want our food fast. We want our abs fast. And we want our language skills fast. But the older I get, the more I’ve learned to value slowness. Read on to see why you should savor the language learning process the way you would a fine meal or nice glass of wine.
Despite blogging about languages for over a decade and interviewing dozens of polyglots for The Language Mastery Show and my Master Japanese book, I realized earlier this year that I had not yet attended any of the polyglot events around the world, including the Polyglot Gathering, the Polyglot Conference, or LangFest. When I honestly asked myself why, I realized that the answer was fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of not belonging. Fear of being thought a fraud. I told myself, “A true polyglot speaks 5 or more languages fluently. I only speak a few.” After finally mustering the courage to attend a polyglot event—the 2019 Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava—I now realize just how ridiculous I had been and how much potential fun, fulfillment, and connection I have missed out on all these years. In an effort to spare you from the same self-limiting beliefs, here are five reasons why you should attend a polyglot event even if you don’t consider yourself a polyglot.