Is there some kind of plugin or mode that can be used to display some help for commands? I am increasingly finding nano inadequate. I want to be come a hardcore Vim and Emacs user.
$ vimtutor for starters.
I remember Emacs has a tutorial of some sort from back when I was choosing an editor, but I don't remember what it is.
I'd say learn enough about both to be able to function, then pick one or the other and master it (as much as possible--I'm finding after 7 years of using Vim that there's always lots to learn).
vimtutor is an excellent tutorial for you to go through.
Also the built-in help in vim is very nice. Use
:help inside vim for explanation about practically anything related to vim.
And of course there's Vigor, a User Friendly cartoon turned into reality. :-)