Go and Martial Arts

    Keywords: Culture & History

Sages were sometimes said to be masters of five arts:

- Painting
- Poetry
- Music
- A game (usually Go, but could be xiangqi, etc)
- Martial Arts

I believe there is some crossover knowledge between Go and Martial Arts, especially with some of the softer arts such as Aikido or Tai Chi.

For example, the concepts of yin and yang are applicable to both. Also the mindset of budo seems applicable for the go board. Here are some commonalities I've seen:

- Must have patience
- Don't over-extend
- Get the opponent to play your own game
- First become safe, then attack
- etc.

In the book 36 stratagems of Go, the author Ma Xiaochun expounds on some other interesting ideas.

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, and his Daito-Ryu instructor, were also known to be Go players.

Does anyone else have any stories about Go and Martial arts? I feel Go has improved my tai chi, and that tai chi has improved my go. Comments welcome :)

I played with an opponent recently, he showed me a variant of a joseki that caught me off guard. I was very impressed and asked him " who taught you that ? " He kept silent. Determined to find a solution to the moves he just made, I repeated his form of attack on another corner. And he showed me how to defend correctly.

In a way, i just learnt a new style of attack... Eng60340

aokun I think go is certainly a martial art. Martial arts are activities originally meant to develop soldierly and fighting skill (and are not solely Asian.) In addition to the well-known hand-to-hand fighting skills, there are martial arts that involve weapons, such as kendo, fencing, archery, marksmanship and so on, as well as horseback riding, various track and field events (discus? javelin certainly.) Chess and go both are arguably martial arts in this sense, as they have certainly both been used to teach the young principles of, um, strategery. Historically chess has been seen more a game for its own sake or general mental exercise, I think, while go, in its fabled origins at least, has a more specific element of leadership training.

You might want to look at a book called "The Protracted Game" in which, in a rather labored fashion, the author models Mao's revolution using go principles. He may make some claim there about military thinking and go playing, though I don't remember.

The previous poster might be right to be suspicious of claimed commonalities between go and Asian martial arts, but I think it is valid to make a more general claim that all martial arts and go are, among other things, training for combat.

Here is a link to an Guardian article on the topic: [ext] http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1161128,00.html

See also: Go and Aikido

Go and Martial Arts last edited by on December 9, 2011 - 00:20
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