The voice of Tsubanari

“Those who know the power of language don’t need to say much,” explained the kid.  “Because at times, less is more.”

There are times when you come upon a confrontation in life. At times it’s with a person, at times it’s with a situation.  People around you might think it’s a big deal, but, if you have been going about your life in a way that lends itself to constant self-improovement, chances are you might’ve encountered all this before, or, at the very least, you’ve developed enough moxy and technical ability from previous situations to look at this and think nothing of it.

“Tsubanari” is a Japanese term for the sound that a sword makes when a sword is resheathed.

The implication is that if someone hears the voice of your sword whispering tsubanari, then your opponent has already been felled.

I think that when it comes to problem solving,

people spend too much time thinking that the sound of taking your sword out is the precursor to danger.  They imagine the fight, with all the aching and sweat and sinewy cries. It is the thought of all this that bogs down the resolve needed to really make the clean kill.  One needs only to develop the resolve, a vision of the ending, and a lot of situations that could be simplified will be simplified by the simple mental self-prophecizing act of not fucking around. Basically, overthinking is one of the chief exacerbators of complicated situations– problem solving is seldom effective if the solutions are as complex as the problems.  It becomes quickly apparant that the ability to recognize patterns during a confrontation yields better results, because it makes it possible to simplify.  It takes decisiveness.  It takes not a strategy of building of momentum, but an instantaneous initiation of momentum to end a confrontation in one fell swoop.  “It hits all on it’s own,” as it were.


“Zugswang” is a german term meaing “a compulsion to move.”  It’s a term especially relevant in chess endgames in which an equally balanced situation is disbalanced by the fact that each person must move during their turn, and this compulsion to move may result in a degradation of their end of the power balance.  In a chess context, zugswang usually refers to when a player is forced to make a move that is bad for you.

Thankfully, real life isn’t turn based.  That being said, you have two options– destroy the confrontation before it occurs, or, if you are the sort of person to try and see if you can bring it to the edge and possibly avoid the confrontation at the last moment, then as soon as you see that it is a situation where it has truly taken a definitive turn for the worse, then that is when you must make your strike doubly effective so as to regain initiative and end the situation in one movement.

The term “tides of war” is apt when problem solving, because problems do behave like tides.  It’s difficult to go against them if your timing is wrong, unless you’ve developed enough substance that you can crash or cut right through it.


The thing is, one needs to develop the recognition for downward spirals.  Problem solving is in large part a question of identifying the problem, and problems do follow patterns.  Problems are seldom static– they often evolve over time, so variables that are time dependant, such as acceleration and force, become important in the solution. That means that you have to see a pattern in which the momentum of a situation, if left unchecked, is going to be really bad.  A situation that from a distance as a whole is something that minor interventions will not suffice to correct a trajectory is a situation that requires immediate and “extremely-prejudiced” action.


Which is to say,

it is not enough to develop the phsyical, emotional, economic, social or technical ability to solve a problem.  It is also necessary to develop the experience that will help you recognize the problem in the first place, and not just recognize it, but to be able to judge it quickly and accuarately as a whole.  You must distinguish between symptoms and diseases.  You need the eye for zugswang tsubanari.


Those are really just terms thrown out there but the idea of zugswang tsubanari is that you have a compulsion to for a conclusion.

Decisiveness! Decisiveness! Decisiveness!

Advertisements