"Robert Jasiek" <jas...
@snafu.de> wrote in message
> The haengma of a stone is the development of meanings for it
> during the entire game.
> So in particular as an example, relation to other stones can
> be a meaning or part of a meaning. Thus there can be haengma
> of several stones together.
Robert, I don't profess to have the definitive answer, but I think you are a
bit askew on this, and also in danger of over-egging the pudding by trying
to attach too much meaning to the word.
I offer the following comments, slightly at random, which should be read in
conjunction with Kim's original remarks cited by Robert.
"The haengma of a stone" is nonsensical. A ma is a stone. It is either the
player, the position or the way of playing that uses (not has) haengma.
I start from the belief that Japanese suji and Korean haengma, for all
practical purposes, are the same thing. Haengma is therefore not a new
concept. What is different about the Korean version is the way they attempt
to codify and teach it. The Japanese approach differs because they have the
word tesuji (lacking in Korean) and their codification and method of
teaching have focused on tesuji, which is just one aspect of suji/haengma.
The Koreans try more to teach the whole concept.
I think there are three aspects to S/H, as above. In the Oriental languages
they are mostly distinguished by being used in standard phrases (e.g. suji
ga ii is almost always used of a player and effectively means he has good
One thing that underlies all aspects is that there is a dynamic feel. This
cannot be stressed enough, because westerners ignore it even when they think
they have understood the basic concept. The commonest manifestation of this
is believing that tesuji means good move (or brilliant move), whereas it
means something more dynamic - a key that unlocks a position.
When used of a player S/H means near enough style, provided that is
understood to mean the flow of the way one plays rather than a predilection
for a certain kind of move. To answer a cap with a knight's move is to show
good suji (it may not be correct, of course, but see Kim's remarks). That is
a very simplistic example. A good player knows what to do in a myriad
positions. It is useful to think of moves not as the static plonking down of
a stone but as moves the way a boxer uses the word.
When used of a large position or other broad sense, I'd suggest an effective
translation for S/H is to say the dynamics of a position.
When used of a micro or local position the meaning is, in Japanese, tesuji.
This is where Korean differs because they do not have a precise word for
tesuji. You can view tesuji as meaning micro-suji if you like, but Korean
does not have a way of modifying the word haengma in the same way. Instead,
Koreans have the concept of maek. I am not entirely sure whether Koreans
really consider maek as part of haengma. Suji and tesuji are clearly in a
parent-child kind of relationship, but I suspect haengma and maek are seen
as cousins - kissing cousins, maybe.
Maek means, literally, pulse (Japanese myaku). I suggest a good translation
is pulse point. Vital point is obviously similar but has largely been
preempted for the Japanese kyuusho which means urgent point. A pulse point
is like a pressure point on the body, or a support point, and has no
connotation of timing. Maek does not have the dynamic feel of tesuji, though
of course there is some overlap.
Turning now to why Orientals seem to find it hard to explain it all to us:
well, I am not sure that that is the correct view. I think that to a large
degree the problem is that Orientals find it hard to understand why we are
asking. I don't want to go all academic and serious here, but there is a
fundamental difference in our respective expectations about the learning
process. At the risk of oversimplification, I'd say that in the west we tend
to want to learn by understanding something and then (if we decide it is
worthwhile) we may go away and practise it. In the Orient there is a
tendency to do it another away: start with a blank slate, practise something
assiduously enough, and then you will understand it. We are familiar with
this process, of course. It's how we learn our multiplication tables or a
musical instrument, but we tend to drop this approach and may have to
re-learn it if we take up an Oriental martial art - or go :)
I think Kim's remarks bear this out. He would expect us to learn
haengma/suji by constant mimicking of the pros' way of doing things. It is
instructive to note that the Japanese word for learn (manabu) is related to
the word for imitate (as in mane-go), and indeed in old Japanese texts it
often has to be translated as imitate. Then, of course, we'd understand and
wouldn't need to ask for an explantion!
This process seems to be similar to the Damascene conversion that Robert has
mentioned he experienced. He said (I think) that he had been concentrating
solely on the "before" aspects of a stone and had only just realised there
was an "after" aspect. If he had learnt S/H the Oriental way, probably he
would have made the same journey with a less bumpy ride. Learning has its
own suji, too, perhaps :)