When you think of a go school you probably imagine us holed up inside for endless hours of study, practice and play. So you would have been surprised to see the Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (BIBA) students recently when we went camping and hit the beach.
After a three-hour drive, we arrived at a cabin on the side of a spectacular mountain; shades of summer camp back in the States. Except that in this cabin there was a very nice go board and bowls of stones waiting for us, and less than ten minutes after we arrived, we were playing go. After losing a couple of games to fellow students, I decided to try my luck on the tennis court just outside the cabin. Tennis is my favorite physical sport, so I jumped at the chance to finally get outside and play and we had time for two matches before lunch.
After lunch, we hiked to a waterfall. It was a bit more strenuous getting there than I’d anticipated but well worth it for the refreshing plunge into the icy waters. When another student dove under the waterfall to try and get a rock from beneath the crashing waters, I had to take the challenge on as well. Just like go, however, it proved to be far more difficult than I had realized. Diving under a waterfall and fighting the current to get to the bottom was very hard! I persevered, however, and was finally able to get a rock as well. Here we are at the side of the waterfall getting ready to take the plunge.
After our trip to the waterfall, we all went back to the camp to play more go and tennis, including doubles and Pair Go. My score for the day: seven games of go, seven tennis matches, and one rock from the waterfall. I slept very well that night but the next day I was really sore! No pain, no gain, right?
A few days after our camping trip, it was time for the yearly trip to the beach. The first day was a bit of a disappointment since the waves were too large and beach security wouldn’t let anyone in. No problem for go players: we went back to the hotel and played go. The second day was far more exciting, still with big waves, but safe enough for us to go in. Again like go, though, appearances were deceptive. After riding the waves a good few times, I was pushed into the beach where I was knocked over and dragged back into the water only to be hit by the next wave. This repeated about four times before I was able to stand up and get out of the current. I probably should have resigned there but no, back in I went. Riding the waves more carefully this time around, I was really enjoying myself, until, a really big wave lifted me and my float ring up, completely flipped me over and threw me into the beach face first. With a bloody nose and sore shoulder, I was 0-2 but not ready to resign just yet and went right back into the water for a few more hours of fun.
Getting good at go is hard work but it’s important to remember to have fun. The BIBA students managed to find challenges on our mountain and beach vacation but most of all we had a lot of fun and welcomed the respite from the continuous study schedule we’re accustomed to. I look forward to our next outing, but now it’s back to work!
Shawn Ray, known as Clossius to his YouTube and KGS fans, recently moved to Korea to do a series of lessons on BadukTV. photos courtesy Ray.