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Are joseki boring?


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2012-08-04 15:08
Buri Is learning joseki boring?
Playing everyday on the Internet I find out immediately if my opponent has studied joseki. At first I knew from their strange responses to the simple ones I learnt here. Then I began to see that this was also reflected in their playing which somehow lacked shape and efficiency a lot of the time.
I began asking people of my low level, indirectly and without any implicit criticism, if they studied joseki and found the answer was, more often than not, `No. They are not interesting. I prefer to play.`
So I have to ask, as something worth exploring, if studying joseki is boring?
According to the branch of psychology known as `flow theory` things become boring when they are too easy. Okay, lets scrub this approach. I don`t find joseki easy to learn so it must be something else.
I look at my bookshelf (actually floor and cat litter tray) and am awed by the number of joseki dictionaries I have. The most famous one by Ishida is a magnificent set of three volumes. I gingerly open the first one and it say `not only a reference work, but a systematic course of study.` Great! `Systematic course of study,` is something I can relate to. I begin with good intentions on page one. It`s boring. Very boring. More boring than watching golf even. Holy cow! Have I answered my research problem? Joseki are boring things like knitting patterns that only Dumbledore is interested in.
This can`t be true. Can it? In gote no-one can hear you screeeeeem.
But, I am a thinker (sometimes.) The problem here is clearly overload. What is relevant or not relevant is not clear and I don`t want to die before I finish one of these books. How would I explain that to St. Peter? Clearly having the most important ones identified by Guo in her Step by Step course is going to be a big help. Not only do we have a target now, but we can go to the books, find the page and write all over it in red pen.`Guo says play here, not here.` etc. Pity red pens cannot do a chinese accent......
Writing in a book, marking it with a post-it sticker and so on is fun and suddenly studying joseki begins to look a little bit more like a night on the town with Angela Jolie (or not). However, joking aside tis is still not quite enough to brush away the boring blues. The reasoning behind this is that someone else is telling us what we have to learn. To some extent this is inevitable in any learning of a complex skill. Nonetheless, it is still an external voice telling us `do xyz because I say so.` implicit in this message is that if one fails to achieve what has been requested one is an inferior product, perhaps off a North Korean rocket assembly line.
You see, it`s still not quite personal enough. It`s not quite what I want to do for my reasons at a specific time to solve a specific problem. So, to get around this problem we can run a parallel study course that is directly related to our needs and wishes.
That is to say, while working on our set joseki we should be reviewing our games. Do you remember that slight feeling of panic and wondering if you did the right thing against that kakari?
Well, that is where our key study lies. Go to the joseki dictionary, study that move in depth and that is something really powerful to get a hold of. Its something you remember wanting and needing at a given moment and so the desire will be high. You will become a joseki nerd in no time.
There is one more problem I have noticed in the way we learn and I think this is connected to things like dailyjoseki.com. These electronic boards seem really cool and trendy (which they are) but have you ever noticed that they can diminish our thinking processes. The temptation to just press a button without figuring it out is really high. It`s like trying to assemble a tent while not bothering to read the instructions.....A truly bad habit.
So when we study from books there is a strong and similar tendency to read and place stones at the same time. In other words a simultaneous process is occurring. This obviates the need for using imagery and holding patterns in short term memory which is what learning is about. In fact a three step process is needed.
First drink some coffee. Second open your book to the correct page. Third , kick your cat off the goban. Fourth read the joseki. Read it. Dont move your hands to the goban or the remains of your cat. Or the remains of your coffee that the cat kicked over. Think about it! Imagine a goban in your head and replay the joseki with the correct spacing a few times. If you can see this clearly you are ready to place stones on the goban. Try it! They just flow down without thought because the computer that controls the hand has been pre-programed correctly. It is a totally different thing.
You will also be amazed to find that learning joseki like this is not boring. Why not? Because the mind is engaged in a challenge and that is what it was born to do.
In the meantime the cat is peeing in the corner of the kitchen.
But then that is what -it- was born to do.
Cheers,
Buri



2012-08-20 19:39
harusaki nice advice ;) thank y ou

2012-08-22 02:07
InfinityMan Buri: Go to http://www.gocommentary.com/ and try the videos (free) "The Secrets of Corner Invasion 01 & 08" They are based upon Joseki, and are not boring because the commentator explains how each variation leads to a different outcome that may favor black or favor white. He usually shows which variation is the best for both players given the initial setup. There are more videos in the series which cost a small fee. I haven't viewed them.
I've just started Guo Juan's Step-by-Step program, and I am finding that she gives hints as to why certain joseki are selected for certain situations, just like she did at a workshop she gave for our local Go Clubs in Colorado. IMHO joseki need to be studied in the context of real Go board situations, otherwise a simple sequential reading of such books as Joseki Dictionaries from page one to the end will indeed be boring.

2012-09-30 13:09
Buri Hi InfinityMan,
thats a great tip.
I was wondering if you knew that what you are describing is actually exactly what can be found in the Ming Jiu lectures on this site? As you say, one specific corner invasion is studied in detail with the choice of joseki based on what outcome you wantIE territory on one side, just to live, attack some other stones and so on. That`s the All about Invasion lectures.
Incredible stuff.
Best wishes,
Buri

2012-10-03 13:56
Guo Juan Joseki are not boring, especially when you are able to punish your opponents typical mistakes.

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