Main Street Go-Do Academy at Main Street Martial Arts:
An Ancient Art for Modern Times and Timeless Values
Go is a fascinating board game that very likely originated in China more than 4,000 years ago and has remained unchanged for these 4 millennia. The game is generally played on a rectangular board interlaced with a grid by placing stones down on the grid points to surround “territory”. The player with the most territory at the end of the game wins. Also known as Baduk (or Paduk), Wei Ch'i, Weiqi, and Igo, it is played today by millions of people, including thousands in the United States.
In Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan, it is far more popular than chess is in the West, and professional players compete for large cash prizes. Its popularity in this country continues to grow, more than fifty years after the founding of the American Go Association.
Go probably originated in China or Tibet, no one really knows. 2500 years ago, Confucius advised his readers to avoid frivolous pastimes and learn the virtues of this already ancient and venerable game. In Japan, the strongest players have been viewed as national heroes for centuries.
In China, it was suppressed during the Communist era, but came back stronger than ever in the 1980's. Koreans were playing at least 1200 years ago, even before the Japanese, but began taking their play more seriously in the 1950's. Today, the world's strongest players come from Korea. With hundreds of millions of fans in these three countries and growing popularity in the West, it may be the most popular game in the world today.
“A stone laid, is a stone played.” It's easy to study and improve in Go, because each move remains on the board for the rest of the game (unless captured and removed by the opponent). Each game is a record of itself, and the player can reflect on the consequences of early mistakes that are still staring him/her in the face. Thus, as in life, players have to live with their mistakes. But in contrast as compared with the lessons of life, the player can more easily see, reflect, and learn what went wrong and try again in another game. This helps players develop the arts of reflection and leadership.
Go is about building, not destroying. Many popular games involve setting up positions at the beginning, then attacking the enemy. Go begins with an empty board. The object is to create strong, flexible structures, not run around chasing the other guy's pieces. "Life and death" issues may arise, but many games end without the capture of a single stone.
Go is a form of “martial art”, in terms of studying advanced planning, strategy, tactics, economy of resources, and techniques of attack and defense.
Throughout history (4,000 years), Go “… was a requirement of any military person in China or Japan. Samurai played and studied Go, generals were expected to be skilled at it, and emperors, kings, and nobles all devoted significant time to the game”, according to Mr. Paul Barchilon Sensei, Director of the American Go Foundation.
Learning to play Go is considered to be one of the “four accomplishments” that “any distinguished person was supposed to have attained in ancient China.” The other three accomplishments were calligraphy, music, and painting. Ancient scholars/sages were said to be the masters of five arts: Painting, Poetry, Music, Go, and Martial Arts.
GO AS A MARTIAL ART (THE MENTAL MARTIAL ART):
Traditionally in East Asia, a well-cultivated person should master 5 arts: Music, Painting, Poetry, a Martial Art, and Go.
Parallels between Martial Arts & Go-Do:
· both require patience
o both require an understanding of your own strength and the ability to read the other player
· important not to over-extend yourself
o important to secure your own safety before attacking
· valuable to take control of the direction of the game
o both require a peaceful & open mind (an overly-aggressive style is weak & leaves many opportunities to be exploited by the other player)
· one must be able to see what is necessary, not perform superfluous actions, and be efficient with one's moves
o particularly Aikido - "The Way of Harmonious Energy" - ultimately the aim is not to harm or totally conquer the opponent, but to harmonize with them; to maintain one's ground, defend oneself, cultivate oneself, and help the other player become stronger by kindly showing their weak spots when the opportunity arises
At Main Street Martial Arts we are offering a program in Go-Do, or The Way of Go, taught in a martial arts school with the same principles of discipline, training, strategies, leadership and other benefits that martial arts subscribe to. Adults who learn to play Go will create new ways of thinking, learning, and strategizing. Children will learn a discipline and art while having fun in a cooperative and sportsmanlike manner while they build teamwork and leadership skills.
Around the United States, kids are flocking to learn this timeless game. The rules are so simple they can be taught in a few minutes, but it can take a lifetime to master the game. Skilled play requires mathematical analysis, tactical insight, intuition, and a sense of poetry. Like the Eastern martial arts, Go teaches concentration, balance, and discipline. Respect for one's opponent and mutual appreciation of each other's ideas are fundamental aspects of the game.
Go is approximately five times more complex than Chess. The best computers can now beat top human Chess players, yet despite decades of serious effort, the strongest Go software is weaker than the average Go player. Go boards will be provided at the club and take home sets made of paper will be available for free to any club members who want them. Come experience the magic and beauty of Go, while making new friends
"Go is to Western chess what philosophy is to double entry accounting."
-Trevanian, from his bestseller Shibumi
We encourage all students to try a free trial program class in our Go-Do Academy Program with Mr. Michael L. Werth Sensei, Director and Chief Instructor of Go-Do at Main Street Martial Arts. Students who are interested in ongoing Go-Do Academy membership, or as part of our Ultimate After-School Program at Main Street Martial Arts, may inquire further with Werth Sensei, at the end of their free trial program class. Students may also participate in our ongoing Go clinics and official Go tournaments, which will be announced on our web site at www.mainstma.org under our Go-Do menu and Upcoming Events! menu.
Please contact us at
if you have any questions about Go-Do. Call us at (401)274-7672 if you’re interested in trying some free classes with us. We’re looking forward to meeting you!