Interview with Livan Grijalva winner of the 2019 Open Canadian Memory Championship

Livan70152588_2689549857763972_2956109166726348800_n

Interview with Livan Grijalva, winner of the 2019 Open Canadian Memory Championship

CMC
Hi Livan,
Congratulations on setting three major Canadian Memory Championships Records this past weekend in Toronto, in Cards, Names and overall performance.

-Livan
Thank you

CMC
I’ve noted you made significant progress in 15 min. Words, a memory discipline that you felt you had difficulty improving on. Thirty more words than in past competitions or so is impressive. How do you explain this? What made a difference here?

Livan
I did work on words. I trained everyday consistently at 5 minute Words and my scores very slowly but consistently kept going up, until I was able to do 100 and more steadily.

CMC
So, it wasn’t seeing Johnny Briones last year doing so well at Words that awakened in you a competitive desire to match his score?

Livan
Ho no, I was happy for Johnny last year when he achieved his winning scores. I compete against myself; it is my personal best I want to beat. Last year, I screwed up my speed card attempts [at the Canadian Memory Championship] because I took a memory hiatus for a few months and when I came back, I was like doing 1 minute for Cards and I told myself that I would get it back to sub 40 seconds very quickly but it didn’t quite worked out that way as gaps in my recall just kept appearing, even if I slowed down. I figured the problem was that when I would memorize, too many side thoughts seemed to enter in my thinking, like, “how will I remember this?” instead of just focusing on the cards. So, I decided to look into whatever way could possibly increase my focus and began to try meditation and by practicing I was able to cut unwanted thoughts and my scores went back up. Now other memory athletes are asking me about it and even people not interested in memory are asking me about this to try and rid themselves of unwanted thoughts and to focus better as this can help you in other areas of your life. I am preparing to offer a program about this. I felt the need to change à number of my methods. I now use the shadow system of Lance Tschirhart and upgraded to a 3 digit system.

CMC
So right now, you are obviously not taking a hiatus, what is your next goal now that you are performing much better.

Livan
Yes, I am not planning another hiatus. I have achieved a world memory record in training at home and I am not telling which memory discipline that was in, but I would like to hold a memory world record at least once. I was thinking of going to the next French IAM in Paris but my lease expires at the same time of that competition and I may not have the funds to fly there. It is not like flying in and out to Toronto, something I can do in a day. You have to get there a few days before the event to adjust. There is another memory discipline too where I am approaching world record times and that is 5 minutes words. So I may be vying for two world records.

CMC
May I ask you how you memorized the word neckless in the Random Word Event? It is a word which has tripped others because it is an adjective and so this word should not really have been there and it is also easy to recall it as a necklace, which is a different word and so costs 10 points.

Livan,
Yes, I do remember this word as I haven’t re-written anything there since the event. [This interview takes place 6 days after the event] The previous word was scarf and the image I made was a magician holding a scarf over the neck and removing it and the head appears neckless. For me it was two words, neck and less. I never thought of ho, well, this sounds like a necklace and how am I going to make sure I don’t mix the two? At that speed it’s about focus and moving on quickly to the next word.

CMC
Finally, I have one question for the beginners that may be just taking up the sport. What would you recommend that they do?

Livan
When you start, it is a lot of fun as you see your times progress quickly. But my advice would be to be consistent at it even if that means training less than training more. If you do a little every day, it will still be hard to maintain the habit but if you do 6 hours a day (an exaggeration here), you won’t be able to keep including that in your everyday routine. Sometimes I don’t really feel like doing my 5 minutes of Words but it is by pushing yourself a little like that you will improve and get more enjoyment from doing this.

CMC
Thanks Livan for this interview and best of luck in your future memory competitions.

Livan
Take care!

5 Likes