2015 in Review

2015 was a year of huge wins for my practice in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the Kamikaze comic. This year went by fast but SO much happened!

  • Trained for my 1st ever BJJ competition-- this is also the first competitive sport I’ve done in my entire life
  • Won a freaking SILVER MEDAL at the Newbreed BJJ Tournament in April!!!


  • Got my  BLUE BELT in BJJ in the Fall
  • Started no-gi training
  • Squatted my bodyweight at last!!! Hooray for plates!
  • Celebrated my 10 year anniversary with my love
  • Visited Harry Potter World! 
  •  Took a judo class for the first time under Leo White, 2-time member of the US Olympic Judo team (Wowza!)
  • Visited The Center for Puppetry Arts for the first time -- as a fan of animation, I had a special appreciation for this craft! I never knew how much illusion, coordination, and acting played into puppetry. What a wonderful artform. 
  • Took a UX Bootcamp at General Assembly 
  • Did my 2nd ever 5K! ... in July like an idiot for some reason. NEVER AGAIN. 
  • Went to San Francisco! It was the best vacation I ever had. So much fun. 

And of course, there were all the Kamikaze wins:

  • Exceeded 1000 Fans on Facebook
  • Won the 2015 Glyph Award for Best Web Comic
  • Stirred up fan engagement on the #NetflixMakeKamikaze movement
  • Guest-starred at Momocon
  • Hosted 4 Kamikaze-run panels and participated on 5+ industry talks with professionals in comic and animation (Including our hero Greg Weisman of "Young Justice" and "Gargoyles"!)
  • Travelled to FL and TN to hit up our first out-of-state conventions to promote Kamikaze
  • Hit our 1 year anniversary
  • Finished Episode 1
  • Released the first Wall Tale one-shot: "Midnight Run" by Eisner-nominated writer Dan Jolley and art by awesome local artists Jamel Jones and Licca Kirk
  • Was interviewed by Lois Reitzes on NPR - freakin' NPR!!!
  • Ran into our FIRST cosplayer! We always said that seeing our first cosplayer is gonna be THE sign that we are DOIN’ IT .. guess we gotta move onto even BIGGER goals! That was seriously so cool
  • Released the webcomic on Tapastic and accumulated over 75K views with almost 1000 subscribers

2014 was the year I committed to improving consistency and follow-through. 2015 was the year I finessed my time management, planning, prioritization, and routine. My mantra has been: “It won’t happen unless you plan it.”

The accomplishments above involved the awareness and implementation of Parkinson’s Law and the awareness of optimism bias. My agenda became my bible. I would NOT have been able to do HALF this stuff if it wasn’t for that thing. I may do a more detailed write up on how I executed this in a separate blog entry because learning how to plan and prioritize changed everything. One small tweak to my to-do list was simply forcing myself to number the tasks. For the first month of the year, I knew I was going to narrow my focus to 3 ongoing items: work, Kamikaze, and BJJ. I had opportunities to work on other projects and pursue other endeavors but I reluctantly turned them down for the time being.

Of course all three are important. But if everything is a ”top priority,” nothing become a “top priority.” Your focus gets scattered. If you MUST assign a number, you get clarity. In that first month, my list was: 1. work, 2. Kamikaze, 3. BJJ.

However, priorities can change and they SHOULD evolve and shift. Once we got a little closer to my competition in April, my list became: 1. work, 2. BJJ, 3. Kamikaze. This did not mean that Kamikaze took a backseat. Luckily, my partners Alan and Carrie were gracious enough to shift my schedule to accommodate my daily training routine. I still clocked in to work on comic page cleans, helped with conventions, and attended team meetings. I was able to do that on autopilot.  Most of my active time and energy  went towards developing my BJJ gameplan, reviewing footage of myself in class, watching BJJ videos to fine-tune and tighten my game plan, drill and study escapes and defenses, cleaning up my diet to make sure I was in good shape for the tournament, etc. After the tournament, my priorities of course shifted again. Narrowing my focus to work, BJJ, and Kamikaze and allowing myself flexibility helped me achieve these huge leaps.

Of course I could NOT have made it without the mentorship, encouragement, advice, and insights of the people around me. The only reason I am able to do all that I do is because of the people who invest their time and energy in me. I try my hardest to always express my appreciation to each of you personally but I know I can never repay the awesome folks I know. With ALL of my heart, thank you so much. 


I am optimistic about 2016. I aim to continue fine-tuning my ability to plan, follow through, and execute on other new pursuits. On top of those new pursuits, I will compete again and the Kamikaze team has big upcoming plans that we are eager to announce. 2016 is going to rock! Happy New Year’s to you all and may your 2016 be prosperous, joyful, and fun!

Havana Nguyen