Boxing and Go

Credit to CrazyThemes

I’ve recently taken an interest in boxing, and I have to say that the more I study it, the more I can’t help but see similarities between boxing and go. Here are a few off the top of my head:

  1. There are two players in each match.

  2. Regardless of how badly each player might want to win, there can only be one victor at the end of the match.

  3. Exchanging blows with your opponent is inevitable and necessary for a good match.

  4. There are different styles of boxing that seem analogous the go styles as well (e.g., technician/point counter, infighter/fighting, etc.).

But most importantly of all, those who rise to the top are those who are instinctively faithful to the fundamentals.

After all, look at any boxer’s training regimen and what are you going to find? Running, jump rope, shadow boxing, combinations, sparring. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. There might be a few deviations occasionally depending on what muscle groups they need to build for certain techniques, but the training menu almost always consists of the fundamentals. And what does a fight primarily consist of? The basics: jab, cross, hook, uppercut, jab, jab…

So how is this relevant to go? Well, one topic that I know runs rampant throughout the community is the idea of getting stronger (especially for kyu players who want to reach dan level). And as I begin to study boxing, I can’t help but wonder what a go players training menu should look like? I mean sure, everyone will say do life and death problems, but that advice is so incredibly generic and subject to interpretation (as to how to study it) that I would guarantee that many players have gone astray and become frustrated with their progress because they couldn’t figure out what to do to keep getting better.

I know that no one has a magical formula for getting better at go; but I think that there is more wisdom that can be offered from my study of boxing in terms of trying to discover better guidelines for designing a training menu for go. After all, it’s not about knowing the most complicated joseki or knowing the common trick plays, but to instead constantly improve the fundamentals.

More on this as I continue researching and testing out different things…