Watch this Indian kid compute math astonishingly fast with an unusual method


It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.


This reminds me of really fast chisenbop, a method of calculating with your fingers that my sister was taught in elementary school in the '70s. She was in a class for kids who weren’t so good at math, and they were using alternate teaching techniques.


It looks like he’s doing chisenbop, a Korean math method. I learned it in the late 70s from a book in our library. Here’s some tutorials


It must have been hell trying to find all those combinations of people missing specific fingers.

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It is definitely Chisanbop. Here is the commercial from 1979 starring TV’s Fred MacMurray. I remember this commercial being on TV fairly often when I was a kid.


At the store this morning I offered the clerk 2 cents to round off the amount and get all bills for change. She said, “I’ll need 3 cents”. I’m a left side, or is it right side of the brain person?!


I went to school there for a year when I was a kid never got why they said “into” for multiplication.

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I believe, (could be way off base), it’s from multiplication being a series of additions, and the result of an addition being the original numbers going “into” the resulting set (answer). E.g. if I have two separate apples and add them together “into” a box.

High level soroban users are supposed to be able to do complex operations in their head by visualizing the operations on a soraban.

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It’s cool but Flash Anzan is cooler. How quickly can you add 15 numbers each between 100 and 999? You won’t believe the answer:

One of the smartest people I ever met could do very complex math in his head virtually instantaneously. I asked him how he did it and he said “The same way you do, only faster”.


Nice! I haven’t seen that commercial since the seventies, but that was my first thought too.

The method I was taught involved visualizing pressing keys on an electronic calculator. It was a neat short-cut, but the results were no where near as fast as these examples. I wonder if they were cherry-picked for the video.

Depends, was your arithmetic correct?

Apparently not.

I did the same thing, but instead of visualizing, I used a real one. And not to toot my own horn, but I was at least as fast as these kids.


I think the MASTER MIND ABACUS label is a reference to the unusual method in question. Abacus-less abacus classes and competitions are very common in Asia.

I have an Indian colleague who has told me about this a few times; he says you start by learning the abacus, then you learn to visualize the abacus, keeping the hand motions, then you learn a series of Vedic sutras that incorporate mathematical relationships (using rhythm as a brain hack, in the same way that the alphabet song does) and eventually you end up like Scott Flansburg, using entirely different portions of your brain (as compared to practitioners of Western mathematics) for rapid calculation. He says it’s all tied up with classical Hindu philosophy and religion (he is an atheist himself) and the third stage of it leverages the kind of religious literacy that used to be commonplace among upper caste Hindus.

I take this with a smidgen of salt, as this particular fellow has a deep-seated and unshakeable conviction that prehistoric India was (and remains) the root source of all human innovation, science, philosophy culture and literacy. What Burton would have called a Sanskritist, I think. On the other claw, he can find the cube root of a six-digit perfect cube in his head, without using any hand-shaking or tools, faster than I can type the problem into a computer.

India is credited with the number 0 as a number to be fair, but the other points are arguable.

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