View Full Version : The Game of Go & The Martial Arts - Part III

13th September 2000, 04:09

On to more quotations from the article entitled "The Game of Go & The Martial Arts", by Fred D. Baldwin, Ph.D. Published in the "Journal of Asian Martial Arts", Volume 3 - Number 1 - 1994.

On Go tactics:

"Go's symmetry to the martial arts appears in two senses, the 'tactical' and the 'strategic.'

"At the tactical level, the vocabulary of Go refers to patterns of play for which martial terms seem almost inevitable: 'cuts,' 'nose hits,' 'shoulder hits', and 'cuts at the waist' come to mind. Stones are often said to 'lean' on opposing stones; a group of stones may 'push' another.

"In this context, it should be noted that any Go player would be likely to describe Go as a game of motion. This may seem paradoxical. As already noted, Go stones, once played, are not maneuvered like chess pieces, nor are they raced toward a clearly defined goal. Yet Go experts routinely use terms like 'rapid development' and criticize inefficient moves as 'slow.' An absolutely key concept in Go is 'SENTE,' loosely meaning 'the initiative,' the ability to force an opponent to respond on your terms, often by being a move ahead in an important tactical struggle. The paradox vanishes if you think of the board position after each play as a single frame of a film capturing one instant of a continuous flow of attack and counterattack. A high-speed replay of a Go game on a computer screen suggests this dramatically: groups of black white stones materialize around the board, combine into groups like eggs turning into worms, and soon start twisting around each other like dragons fighting."

I should note that word "SENTE" may definately relate to the martial arts ... . If I'm not mistaken "SEN~" is the same character used in martial arts terminology such as in "SEN no sen" (some one correct me if I'm wrong ... sen no sen would relate to taking the initiative in attack(?) ). The term opposite to "sente" in Go would be "GOTE". Again if I'm not mistaken "GO~" is the same character as in the martial arts term "GO no sen" (passive in attack(?) ).

This interests me ... I believe these terms (Go term vs. martial arts term) mean basically the same thing. From what I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong) the martial arts terms, "Sen no sen", and "go no sen", etc., have a definate mental/spiritual and physical attitude associated with them in combat(?). The Go terms, "sente" and "gote", are likewise a mental/spiritual attitude that is literally manifest on the Go board.

"THE BOARD IS A MIRROR OF THE MIND OF THE PLAYERS AS THE MOMENTS PASS. When a master studies the record of a game he can tell at what point greed overtook the pupil, when he became tired, when he fell into stupidity, and when the maid came by with tea." --Anonymous Go player (source: http://www.kiseido.com/ )

"Sente" involves having the initiative, such that you're always a "step ahead," so to speak, in movement or development on the Go board (taking the initiative). Your opponent is thus forced to respond to your movements in "gote" (somewhat passively waiting for their opportunity to take the initiative when an opening ("suki"- yes, another martial arts term) appears. "Sente" and "gote" are very important, not only tactically, but strategically also.

BTW, in both these terms "~TE" is the character for "hand" (meaning in Go terms, "a move").

Anyway ... more later.



[Edited by burp on 09-12-2000 at 11:12 PM]