It is currently Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:09 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 23 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
Offline
 Post subject: Re: Are we studying the wrong things?
Post #21 Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2023 3:22 am 
Oza

Posts: 3655
Liked others: 20
Was liked: 4630
Quote:
I'm not really an instagram person but taichart just posted "Familiarity with the movements makes you perfect. You must practice and forget the moves, which is the real Kung Fu! what you think?" In a way us outside of Asia must really look at the the sayings for wushu and weiqi as fully intercompatible as indeed in china they are both considered as falling within the branch of arts which most express kung fu! It's silly for us to not do so really. But us trying so hard to morph into an understanding of how mindsports we are used to in Europe and America will only get us halfway results.


There are a lot of things in this that are worth unpicking and emphasising. Even today go in the west is bedevilled by the exoticists. It is a reflection of how the Far East is generally seen. It is perhaps most noticeable in language learning. As Prof. Jay Rubin once said memorably, too many westerners (i.e. his language students) think Japanese language works by speakers "wafting incense" between each other. There are many others, usually teachers who want to big up their own academic standing, who insist that Japanese is inherently imprecise and only magicians, like these teachers, can explain the meanings. In other words, Japanese is just a string of Zen koans. Yet, as I know from 50 years experience of translating technical patents, the Japanese are capable of utterly precise writing that can stand up in an international court of law. In fact, precise writing is the norm. They just achieve precision in different ways from us. Then there are the many who claim that Chinese writing is writing with pictures. Not even Egyptian hieroglyphs are pure picture writing, but modern Chinese writing is something like 97% phonetic based. This was recognised even as far back the missionary Father Wieger who produced a dictionary of characters for westerners based on sound values. But still so many people choose to ignore people like Rubin, Wieger, Legge, Samuel Martin and others in favour of incense, Zen, inscrutability - and Kungfu (which they think means martial arts).

Kungfu (gongfu in modern spelling) is funadmentally just a way of describing the result of intense hard work, and so ends up meaning skill, craftsmanship but with a strong connotation of time spent on achieving the skill. In our terms it's a bit like saying 10,000 hours. The special acrobatic skill needed to do Shaolin Kungfu and other wushu arts is a derived sense, but it still has the 10,000 hours connotation.

And there we see the real difference with the West. Airport bookstalls full of books like "Japanese in 15 hours" "Fitness in 15 minutes a day" "Cook like master chef in one week". Not to mention fast food, go-faster stripes on cars, ways to beat the queue and so on. Western go players are brought up in a world where they expect to find a single book or video that takes them to 1-dan in an instant. Work for them is a four-letter word.

There are also the exoticists who believe that they can buy a fragrant kaya board and waft its incense over themselves to reach dan-hood in some spiritual way. Clam and slate stones become just stepping stones on a Zen path to enlightenment. Masters of the past are revered for their samurai skills and endurance. They are said to produce perfect endgames because they spent days on a game - ignoring the evidence that people like Shuwa would happily play several games a day, and if players did spend too long on a game they would fall seriously ill and try to avoid doing it again.

Hard work over a long time - gongfu - is the only way to mastery even in the West. It has even been recognised in the West without any help from the East. Countless times. To give on example I happen to be familar with. Ballet dancing requires intense hard work 365 days a year, about 95% of the time just training (a professional dancer might only dance in about 15 productions a year). A typical day is an hour and half's class at the barre first thing each morning, followed by learning new dances and rehearsing others, which takes them to the evening break. Then on many days they also give an evening performance, or they may do perpheral work such as giving interviews, dealing with fan clubs - and of course travelling incessantly. I repat 365 days a year. The similaritiies with the life of a top professional go player are striking, are they not?

There is another similarity. In the ballet world it is often said that if you miss one day's barre class, you notice the difference in yourself. If you miss two days, your colleagues and coaches notice the difference. If you miss three days, you are not allowed on stage, because then the audience would notice the difference. Why do top go players seem to fade away so early? The pressures of life and fame just end up taking them away from the "barre" work. But unlike ballet dancers in a company, they don't normally have coaches and colleagues who can jog and prod them into keeping up their daily training routine.

So, apart from hard work, go players unfortunately also need intense self-discipline. That's a tough package! One so tough that it long ago made me very firmly decide to stay firmly within the amateur camp and just be a fan.


This post by John Fairbairn was liked by 2 people: Elom0, Ruarl
Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: Are we studying the wrong things?
Post #22 Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2023 8:02 am 
Lives in sente

Posts: 726
Liked others: 1023
Was liked: 30
Rank: BGA 3 kyu
KGS: Elom, Windnwater
OGS: Elom, Elom0
Online playing schedule: The OGS data looks pretty so I'll pause for now before I change it.
John Fairbairn wrote:
. . .

I am influenced in my own view of this by ballet. It is an art, much tougher than go, that is characterised by intense discipline. 12 hour days are normal, every day. The first part of the day is "warming up the engine" - a class workout for at least 1.5 hours. Afternoons are usually devoted to rehearsals and learning new ballets. Evenings are dedicated to a show. Every portion of every day is thus very, very physical. The dancer is thus permanently exhausted, constantly risking serios injury, typically stricken by stage fright, is constantly competing with other dances for star roles, often has body image issues, and in the end has to face public criticism as well as praise. But it's very like go in some respects - not much pay at the lower end of the scale and those who can, do, while those who can't end up teaching.

I find it very hard to understand why so many dancers put themselves through this torture from a very young age, for just the possibility of a glittering career that will end normally in one's 30s. The nearest I can get to understanding that is to assume that dancers learn (or are taught) to think about themselves and their technique obsessively. They leave the joining-up bits to other people - choreographers and directors. It is a form of egotism, I suppose.

. . .

Hard work over a long time - gongfu - is the only way to mastery even in the West. It has even been recognised in the West without any help from the East. Countless times. To give on example I happen to be familar with. Ballet dancing requires intense hard work 365 days a year, about 95% of the time just training (a professional dancer might only dance in about 15 productions a year). A typical day is an hour and half's class at the barre first thing each morning, followed by learning new dances and rehearsing others, which takes them to the evening break. Then on many days they also give an evening performance, or they may do perpheral work such as giving interviews, dealing with fan clubs - and of course travelling incessantly. I repat 365 days a year. The similaritiies with the life of a top professional go player are striking, are they not?

There is another similarity. In the ballet world it is often said that if you miss one day's barre class, you notice the difference in yourself. If you miss two days, your colleagues and coaches notice the difference. If you miss three days, you are not allowed on stage, because then the audience would notice the difference. Why do top go players seem to fade away so early? The pressures of life and fame just end up taking them away from the "barre" work. But unlike ballet dancers in a company, they don't normally have coaches and colleagues who can jog and prod them into keeping up their daily training routine.

So, apart from hard work, go players unfortunately also need intense self-discipline. That's a tough package! One so tough that it long ago made me very firmly decide to stay firmly within the amateur camp and just be a fan.


The first paragraph was were I realised with rude awakening that the surprise westerners have towards the 8 hours days of 바둑 pros and trainees in Korea is moreso a result of a difference in the value placed on mindports than anything else . . .

Top
 Profile  
 
Offline
 Post subject: Re: Are we studying the wrong things?
Post #23 Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2023 5:10 am 
Lives in sente

Posts: 726
Liked others: 1023
Was liked: 30
Rank: BGA 3 kyu
KGS: Elom, Windnwater
OGS: Elom, Elom0
Online playing schedule: The OGS data looks pretty so I'll pause for now before I change it.
John Fairbairn wrote:
. . .

There are a lot of things in this that are worth unpicking and emphasising. Even today go in the west is bedevilled by the exoticists. It is a reflection of how the Far East is generally seen. It is perhaps most noticeable in language learning. As Prof. Jay Rubin once said memorably, too many westerners (i.e. his language students) think Japanese language works by speakers "wafting incense" between each other. There are many others, usually teachers who want to big up their own academic standing, who insist that Japanese is inherently imprecise and only magicians, like these teachers, can explain the meanings. In other words, Japanese is just a string of Zen koans. Yet, as I know from 50 years experience of translating technical patents, the Japanese are capable of utterly precise writing that can stand up in an international court of law. In fact, precise writing is the norm. They just achieve precision in different ways from us. Then there are the many who claim that Chinese writing is writing with pictures. Not even Egyptian hieroglyphs are pure picture writing, but modern Chinese writing is something like 97% phonetic based. This was recognised even as far back the missionary Father Wieger who produced a dictionary of characters for westerners based on sound values. But still so many people choose to ignore people like Rubin, Wieger, Legge, Samuel Martin and others in favour of incense, Zen, inscrutability - and Kungfu (which they think means martial arts).

. . .


Words such as '誕生日' and '女流' as a prefix give me the impression Japanese is more precise than English

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 23 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group