10,000 Strokes – One Technique


“With an unfettered mind, our spirits can shine” — Mark Divine

We learned in lesson one that the first premise of forging an Unbeatable Mind is to win in the mind first, before entering a battle. For most people that battle is just getting through the day. For us it is a battle that requires mighty effort – such as seeking self-mastery, being a better parent or spouse, being a corporate leader, launching a new career or challenging an IronMan race.

Imagine showing up at Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training (BUD/s) on day one. Around you stand 175 swarthy SEAL candidates from all walks of life. Some are monster Adonis types who played linebacker for their college football team. Others are boxers and wrestlers. Still others look like they just parked the tractor in the barn and hopped on a bus to Coronado.

Every one of them is physically ready to endure the coming tribulation, yet only a fraction will be there to earn the coveted Navy SEAL trident 11 months later. The ones who “wonder” whether they will earn the trident….won’t. They won’t because they have not earned it in their minds yet.

One of my amazing honors in my life was to train with Tadashi Nakamura, founder of Seido Karate. I have written of Mr. Nakamura in the companion book to this program. He was my first mentor. He is humble, egoless and trains daily even at 70 years of age. He has the body of a 50 year old and the beginner’s mind of a 16 year old!

Mr. Nakamura taught me to win in my mind. The methods were the same as we are learning in this program. Many hours of severe physical training balanced with hours of meditation and visualization. When I decided that I would become a Navy SEAL I upped my physical training to sharpen my sword. I also upped my mental training by visualizing myself as a SEAL, in many glorious and admittedly, unrealistic forms. I did not have the benefit of movies like “Act of Valor” upon which to base my visualization. I had to start with imagining what it would be like. Visualizing my life as a SEAL became my “10,000 cuts, one technique” practice that yielded a stunning result.

One day, I woke up knowing that I would be a SEAL. It was that simple, I knew it at an intuitive level, not fantasy. Not only was I able to see it happening in my mind, but I was able to feel it at every level of my body. In the outer world my office recruiter had not even given me the green light – in fact he was still saying it was a long-shot. But I knew it was going to happen, so I quit my job at Paine Webber and threw myself into my training.

Myumati Musashi speaks of training the mind at length in his Book of Five Rings. He was adamant that it was a disaster to it and oat between hundreds of training methods and types of sword cuts. What we needed was to master a single cut, he said. One sword stroke practiced 10,000 times will win over 1,000 different types of strokes practiced 10 times each. Same training time and effort expended, but the first approach leads to mastery, the latter to confusion. To become a SEAL, I chose a simple training regimen of karate, running and visualization and practiced 10,000 cuts until I could not fail. I had won in my mind and spirit before I showed up at training.

How can you apply this principle in your life? The answer is simple – choose a few techniques from the five mountain training and practice them 10,000 times, and more. There are many practices in this program because there are many different types of people in the program. Some will resonate with you, others will not. You must choose a few that work for you. Apply the KISS principle; do not seek to master everything.

One practice from each of the five mountains, done 10,000 times, will lead to mastery. As mentioned, when pressed for time, just focus on Warrior Yoga training done with Box Breathing and Visualization. This is a core “meta-practice” that covers all five mountains. Do it 5 times a week for 40 years and you have 10,000 hours of practice time. You will find your Kokoro spirit through this method!

Review of core practices of Unbeatable Mind:

  • Physical training using a solid functional fitness regimen combined with strength training – ie: SEALFIT, and Kokoro Yoga.
  • Mental development using concentration and meditation techniques such as paying attention to detail, Mental Models, Breath Control, Positivity, Visualization, Kokoro Yoga.
  • Emotional development through Journaling, Authentic Communication, Shadow Yoga and Kokoro Yoga.
  • Intuition development through Visualization, Sensory Awareness, Mindfulness Meditation and Kokoro Yoga.

Spiritual development- through the practice of the rst 4 mountains, also Tapas, Alignment, Breath Control, Concentration, Meditation and of course, Kokoro Yoga.

Course Discussion