Book Review - Fighting Fundamentals

Fighting Fundamentals

Description: When it comes to fighting, many players are often confused with the principles behind fighting. In this book, Jasiek tries to answer all the essential questions about fighting. This book covers a wide array of material that is more suited for the very studious players.

Book Details

Title, Fighting Fundamentals
Author, Robert Jasiek
Publisher, Robert Jasiek
Published, “May 27th, 2013”
Language, English
Length, 256 Pages

Table of Content

  • Chapter 1 - Introduction
  • Chapter 2 - Basics

    • The Most Basic Terms and Ideas
    • Important and Valuable
    • Life and Death
    • Stability
    • Thickness and Influence
    • Aji
  • Chapter 3 - Types of Fights

    • Problems
    • Mutual Settling Fight
    • Reduction
    • Mutual Reduction Fight
    • Invasion
    • Attack on One Group
    • Splitting Attack
    • Multiple Groups Fight
    • Mutual Running Fight
    • Cutting Fight
    • Leaning Attack
    • Exchange
    • Capturing Race
    • Complex Fight
    • Answers
  • Chapter 4 - Primary Aims

    • Problems
    • Defended Life
    • Capture versus Sacrifice and Exchange
    • Threatened versus Prevented Capture of a Group
    • Threatened versus Prevented Capture of Part of a Group
    • Threatened versus Defended Stability
    • Offering a Strategic Choice
  • Chapter 5 - Secondary Aims

    • Territory

      *   Making Territory
      • Shifting the Territory Balance
      • Strengthening One’s Own Territory
      • Preventing Opposing Territory

      • Influence

        • Making Influence
      • Strengthening One’s Own Influence
      • Preventing or Restricting Opposing Influence

      • Aji

        • Exploiting Aji
      • Creating Aji
      • Eliminating Aji

      • Playing Elsewhere

    • Answer
  • Chapter 6 - Fighting Techniques and Moves

    • Problems
    • Reading
    • interruption
    • Attacking Life

      *   Capturing
      • Cut
      • Blocking Directions
      • Attacking Eyespace
      • Maintaining Connection and Life
      • Flexibility
      • Severity

      • Defending Life

        • Simplicity
      • Maintaining Connection
      • Connection to Another Group
      • Improving Eyespace
      • Running
      • Capturing
      • Options
      • Contact Plays
      • Flexibility
      • Efficiency

      • Forcing

        • The Attacker’s Forcing
      • The Defender’s Forcing
      • Combining Attack and Defense
      • Resistance

      • Timing

    • Sacrifice
    • Answers
  • Chapter 7 - Strategy

    • Problems
    • About What and Where to Fight
    • General Fighting Strategy
    • Reduction and Invasion
    • Answers
  • Chapter 8 - Index

My Review

Like many other players, when I first saw the title of this book, I wanted to get my hands on it as soon as I possibly could. However, while the idea of having all of the “fighting fundamentals” covered in a single book sounds enticing and attractive, there is way more than meets the eye.

In order to understand my review on the book and how it relates to you, it is critical to first emphasize the following: fighting is a complicated topic. And when I say complicated, I mean it is probably by far the most complex and intricate of all the topics in go. Other things in go like joseki and fuseki can be explained rather simply with relative ease. Fighting, however, is a far more difficult animal to tackle. As a result, the thing I want you to realize from the get go is that fighting in go does not fit into easy principles like “approach from the wider side” the way you want it to.

Secondly, I want to clearly state that my learning style is perhaps different than the average go player. If I were to use the analogy of a bird learning how to fly, I would have to say that there are a number of people out there who would learn flying methodically. In other words, they might learn to flap their wings first, and then maybe learn about air currents and how they impact flight patterns, etc. However, I am more of the jump out of the nest and learn to fly on the way down kind of person. I prefer experience and practical application over deep theories that require significant time of study.

With that said, Jasiek has done a great job in producing the first English go book to really try and approach this monstrosity of a topic. As you can see from the table of contents, there are so many different aspects of fighting that Jasiek covers. And to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot more that could be written on. However, as far as my personal experience goes, I have to say that working through the book felt a lot like the time I took organic chemistry in college.

What do I mean by that? Well, at the very fundamental level, I accepted and understood the basic logic behind what was being taught. There were rules and general principles that applied to why things worked the way they did. Before I knew it though, I was drowning in a sea of different theories, terms and intricacies that overwhelmed my brain and it didn’t take long before I started losing interest. “If you attack here, you must keep in mind of X; but also realize that Y might impact Z in a way that implicates the life of X and Y.” dizzy

The thing to realize is this: fighting is complicated. And while Jasiek has done a great job trying to organize it into different sections and try to break everything down into principles, it doesn’t change the fact that fighting is a multi-faceted skill that will not improve simply because you read a book. There are so many aspects that go into it: your reading ability, your positional judgment ability, your life and death, etc. So unless those are up to par, fighting will still seem like a chaotic whirlwind that you won’t be able to make much sense of.

At the end of the day, while I personally had a difficult time absorbing the material in the book, this book is truly a milestone for Western go literature in its effort to pioneer a way for us to learn about fighting. And to be honest, I think that I might just be a weird outlier who doesn’t have the diligence or tenacity to absorb the material. So if even a small part of you believes that you have the personality and learning style suited to benefiting from this book, then I would disregard my experience of the book and recommend you get it whenever possible.


What did I enjoy about the book?

  • There are lots of examples throughout the book.
  • Utilizes typographic elements like bullet points and bold to emphasize its points.
  • A very thorough breakdown of topics that fit together well logistically.
    What did I gain from reading this book?

  • Realization that I am a far cry from being able to truly grasp and apply the material in the book.
    What is the format of the book?

  • Textbook. Concepts are introduced and are accompanied by numerous examples along with a few practice problems at the end of each section as well.
    What aspects can be improved on?

  • I am only commenting on this from a weak amateur perspective, but the information was very difficult to process as a whole for myself. And to be fair, I recognize that this book is an important step to creating a more “user-friendly” version of teaching fighting principles, but overall I had a harder time working through and learning with this book due to my learning style.
    Is this book easy to read?

  • There is so much information in this book that it is not easy to gloss through at all. It definitely reads more like an academic textbook that requires slow and deliberate reading. Almost as if you were taking a course and you were trying to memorize all the different theories and how they fit together.
    Bottom Line

  1. A great first milestone for Western literature on the topic of fighting.
  2. Suited for players who are very studious and enjoy learning through an intricate textbook.
  3. Not recommended for players looking to get a light overview of fighting.
  • Players interested in a methodical and textbook approach to the study of fighting.

Where Can I Buy It?

Last Updated on February 20th, 2014