Weekly Progress Report: #01

Overview

This week is the mark of some­thing new, yet old at the same time. I am going to do my best to draw on all my exper­i­ments in the past and forge another road for myself once again. I’m not sure what lies ahead of me, but I’m ready for what­ever life has to throw at me. Let’s do this!

Train­ing Regimen

  • Solve 12 prob­lems from Jump Level Up every day.

Books

  • Jump Level Up 1 by Baduktopia
  • Vital Points and Skill­ful Finesse for Sabaki by Yoda Nori­moto, 9p

Journal Entry: #02

As I started get­ting back in the swing of things, one of the things I came to real­ize was that I am reluc­tant to play any games. I’m not sure as to whether it’s because I’m wor­ried that play­ing a game will cause me to dis­ap­pear into another uni­verse where time will fly by, or whether I’m sub­con­sciously afraid of los­ing. Either way, it’s some­thing I’m wrestling with at the moment.

On a more pos­i­tive note though, I’ve taken back up a nice study reg­i­men that has proven to be quite easy to main­tain over the last week or so. It’s pri­mar­ily prob­lem solv­ing at the moment, but a sin­gle step is bet­ter than none! Also, start­ing this Sat­ur­day, you can expect my weekly progress updates to start up again.

Finally, the Go Con­gress posts are pro­gress­ing much slower than I orig­i­nally antic­i­pated; but I have not for­got­ten about them! It’s been sit­ting in my back­log, but it’s a burn­ing itch that I’m con­stantly think­ing about. So fear not, I have a plan in motion to get them up and online within the next week or so.

Review: The Divine Move (Movie)

thedivinemovemovie

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, there were two things that I noticed: go and mar­tial arts. And as some­one who grew up on kung fu movies and watch­ing sub­ti­tled Asian movies, I was sold immediately.

One of my con­cerns was that I would have to find some boot­leg ver­sion of the movie online or wait for­ever to buy the DVD and have it shipped to the U.S. How­ever, for­tu­nately they had a lim­ited the­atri­cal release in the United States and one of the the­aters was only about a 35 min drive away from me. Awesome!

In case you’re plan­ning on see­ing it soon and don’t want to have any of my opin­ion impact your view­ing of the movie, I will just say that I rec­om­mend you check it out. The only word of cau­tion I would advise is for peo­ple who are squea­mish about blood and vio­lence. It’s not any­thing hor­rific or ter­ri­bly gory (like a hor­ror movie), but it’s cer­tainly not com­pletely sugar coated (like some mar­tial art movies where the peo­ple never bleed or have injuries).

If you’d like to hear a bit more opin­ion­ated review, read on!

Con­tinue read­ing

Journal Entry: #01

You ever have one of those days that you just start to feel like you are mak­ing no progress even though you keep try­ing to put one foot after another? I had one of those days today.

As any­one who has read my blog will tell you, it has slowed down con­sid­er­ably over these past few weeks. I ini­tially blamed it on life get­ting in the way, but I was forced to take a step back today and re-evaluate whether it is really true or not.

Long story short, I’ve actu­ally missed reg­u­larly blog­ging a lot. And though I set out to straighten out the rest of my life before mak­ing my return, I was shaken awake to the fact that it’ll never hap­pen. I shouldn’t set aside things that I enjoy in lieu of try­ing to take care of things first. There will always be some­thing else to take care of.

So be on the look­out for much more reg­u­lar blog­ging as I start piec­ing back the parts of my life that are impor­tant to me and make me happy.

Finally, even though I have clearly been writ­ing jour­nal entries for quite some time, I’ve always felt that there was not enough of a dis­tinc­tion between my jour­nal entries and my posts that were more essay/article-esque. So to help keep this dis­tinc­tion clear, this post will mark the begin­ning of my Jour­nal Entry series.

Mak­ing progress!

If You’re Not Moving Forward…

As I’ve been fight­ing off the onslaught of work and pri­or­i­ties that keep com­ing my way, I hate to admit that I’ve fallen quite behind on my go stud­ies. In fact, they have become prac­ti­cally non-existent. I think the most expo­sure I’ve got­ten to go is flip­ping through the new books that have been arriv­ing. How­ever, that can­not even begin to amount to any note­wor­thy type of study.

And to be hon­est, it’s not so much that I don’t want to study or play. In fact, I would love noth­ing more than to ded­i­cate a nice chunk of time each day to my go stud­ies. How­ever, since that has been nearly impos­si­ble, I’ve been wrack­ing my brain for ways to make progress before an obscene amount of time has passed since I last stud­ied go.

As I was walk­ing out­side this morn­ing, a thought occurred to me, “If you’re not mov­ing for­ward, you’re mov­ing back­wards.” (Of course, one’s progress in go is not even remotely that lin­ear, but you get the idea.) And though this might sound repet­i­tive to some, once again I real­ized the neces­sity of tak­ing steps for­ward. And at this point, it doesn’t even mat­ter what direc­tion I’m tak­ing the step in. As long as I am mak­ing efforts to move for­ward, it will be more valu­able than sim­ply wait­ing for the per­fect time for me to pick go back up the way I want to.

So to those who are also caught up in the whirl­wind of the respon­si­bil­i­ties of adult life and being inde­pen­dent, I chal­lenge you to take the small­est of steps for­ward (even if it is as sim­ple as doing 10 easy life and death prob­lems a day). For me, I will return to the Jump Level Up series to pro­vide some struc­ture for myself.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted as I begin mak­ing my comeback.

Still Deep in the Trenches

Though I wish I was already mov­ing on with progress on the numer­ous things I want to do, I’m still deep in the trenches when it comes down to it. On the upside, I will say that I have been able to really gain some clar­ity on what I’m plan­ning on doing. As a result, a lot of plan­ning (and even more plan­ning) is going on as I pre­pare to take off at full speed the moment all these extra­ne­ous tasks are off my back.

And though this might sound crazy to some, I’ve got a decent influx of books com­ing my way as I pre­pare for a sec­ond look at the infra­struc­ture of the blog.

bookshipment0826

This is just the first set of books to arrive! Got two more coming!

I’ve always had a vision for how I wanted to see book reviews writ­ten and orga­nized, so I plan to begin mak­ing it a real­ity as I gain the final major pil­lar that was miss­ing from my collection.

On another note, I wanted to give a shoutout to my friend Nate who wrote a great post today titled Don’t Break the Prob­lem Chain. Be sure to check it out and com­ment if you liked it as well!

And though I haven’t been able to get on KGS as much as I used to, I hope that every­one is doing well and win­ning their games. Gan­batte everyone!

Choking At the Last Second

In my spare time recently, I started play­ing Infin­ity Blade 3 pretty obses­sively. For those who have never played any of the games, it is essen­tially a hack and slash game where play­ers are rewarded for their abil­ity to deter­mine how best to counter their opponent’s attacks. So for exam­ple, the com­puter might spin around and then try to slash at you ver­ti­cally from the ground up. In order to ensure you don’t get hit, you can either dodge or parry the attack with the appro­pri­ate counter attack (which in this case would be a ver­ti­cal strike down towards the ground).

The_Collector

The Col­lec­tor from Infin­ity Blade 3

With that said, there’s one boss (aka The Col­lec­tor) that has been con­sis­tently crush­ing me (and tak­ing my weapons which is demor­al­iz­ing) when I lose. The sad thing is that it’s not because he’s nec­es­sar­ily stronger or bet­ter than me. In fact, there were a num­ber of times where I was just one combo away from a vic­tory, but then I choke at the last sec­ond and die.

Now most peo­ple might chalk it up to nerves or some­thing, but it hit me that this was actu­ally a pat­tern with me. In fact, I can recount numer­ous times where a game of go was within the clutches of my vic­tory and yet it would slip through my grasp at the very end. And like any good inquis­i­tive per­son look­ing to always improve, I started won­der­ing whether I could locate the root of this pattern.

After a lot of thought and los­ing to The Col­lec­tor a few more times, I actu­ally noticed some­thing right as I was about to lose once again: my heart raced at an incred­i­ble speed and I was extremely hyper-active. Yup. You read that right. I was able to notice an actual phys­i­o­log­i­cal change as I approached the line of vic­tory and was about to choke.

Once I noticed this, I thought back to all the times of com­pe­ti­tion or when there was a lot of pres­sure and I choked. Sure enough, a faint mem­ory of that sort of hyper-activity and heart rate speed­ing up was pretty con­sis­tent in each time that I choked. Of course, there were times where I was lucky and still man­aged to suc­ceed, but the major­ity of the evi­dence was against me.

Hyper-activity might sound like a good thing at first; but in my case, I was actual becom­ing overly active and rac­ing too fast for my own good. In other words, my brain raced ahead at 200 mph while the rest of my body was des­per­ately try­ing to catch up at its 100 mph. As you might expect, this leads to a lot of actions that are dis­jointed. The inten­tions are but half-formed and the body’s intent to carry out the actions are more out of nerves than any­thing else.

In fact, upon much self-introspection, I came to the con­clu­sion that my best per­for­mances were always dur­ing times where both my mind and body were one. If I was able to keep my mind and body run­ning in sync, there was a syn­ergy that did not exist before. Moves flowed eas­ier, and I man­aged to be able to avoid chok­ing at the last minute when bat­tling The Col­lec­tor once again. Per­haps with more train­ing, I will be able to avoid ever chok­ing in a game of go (or any­thing else for that mat­ter) again.

Checking In

Sorry for being MIA this past week. As most of you know, the U.S. Go Con­gress 2014 was last week, so I was swamped as you can imag­ine. Like I’ve done before for pre­vi­ous events, you can be sure that I’ll be doing a day by day recount of the Go Con­gress for those who couldn’t make it!

In terms of a short term update though, things are start­ing to look bet­ter. The Go Con­gress helped to pro­vide per­spec­tive for me in terms of where my efforts and energy really need to be invested in order for me to see the results that I want. It’ll be dif­fer­ent from my past approaches (where there was a high risk of burnout), so I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what hap­pens with this new approach.

Hope that every­one is doing well!

Taking It One Day at a Time

With the U.S. Go Con­gress quickly approach­ing, it only seemed appro­pri­ate that it be high time that I returned back to go. And to be hon­est, it couldn’t have hap­pened a moment sooner.

Over the past cou­ple of weeks, I’ve taken some seri­ous time to truly re-evaluate how my time and energy have been spent and whether my efforts were help­ing me move towards a larger goal in life. As a result, I cut back on almost every­thing and spent a lot of time think­ing and test­ing out new approaches to my time, my energy, and my life in general.

For a while, I had a hard time fig­ur­ing out how I was going to work go back into my life. After all, it was a highly time con­sum­ing activ­ity that I had begun to feel frus­trated with since I felt like my game had gone to crap. Nev­er­the­less, I knew that the prob­lem wasn’t the game; but that the prob­lem was me.

I won’t go into great detail about my thought processes and the var­i­ous choices I’ve made along the way since it would end up mak­ing my post sound like some sort of pro­duc­tiv­ity blog. How­ever, the impor­tant thing is that I have found a way to bring go back into my life. It will be a much sim­pler approach than before and not nearly so hap­haz­ard, which I hope will be effec­tive in the long run.

As for the blog, I will take a sim­i­lar approach to my study of the game and approach it with a sim­ple yet effec­tive method instead of try­ing to do ten dif­fer­ent things at once. So if you’ll bear with me for a bit, I’ll be test­ing out dif­fer­ent tac­tics for con­sis­tent blog­ging while slowly reviv­ing pop­u­lar posts like Mon­day Go Med­i­ta­tion once I have a han­dle on things again.

With that said, I’m happy to be back and look for­ward to what the future holds!