Get Stronger - Advice from In-seong - copy from reddit


Here, In-seong Hwang, answers a reddit post on how to get stronger. He has a teaching dojo at

I like his take on ‘crawling out’ of you comfortable moves/style idea, and wanted to repost it here.

There are some general answers, such as tsumego practice and study josekis. But that’s insufficient, right?

My theory is this: when Go players reach the limit of their strength(which means that they feel that they can’t improve anymore), then they need to jump over the ‘stage,’ not a ‘level’ like a ‘rank.’

Then how to jump over the ‘stage’? In this case, they need a ‘personal touch’ because the general way or someone else’s way may not be a good way for you.

And eventually, what they need to do is to overcome themselves. Yes, I know that it’s a very abstract answer, but that’s the best answer I got after 30 years of my Go study and teaching.

For example, why do you lose games? You know that you keep making the same type of mistakes or lose in a similar way. When I teach my members, I find that they keep making similar mistakes repeatedly. It’s like human nature; people like to put themself in the comfortable zone that they know it. If there’s an existing road that they have gone through many times already, why would people try to find a new rough path instead? But the problem is that they can’t do something better than what they have achieved there.

For instance, if one has a good car that can go over 200 km/hour. And they want a better one and buy another car that goes over 250 km/hour. However, as long as it ‘runs’ with a wheel, it can’t go over 300 km/hour. But what if they could afford an airplane? Then it can go over 1000 km/hour! That’s the way to jump over the ‘stage.’ Do something different and find a new way.

To make this great thing happen, they need to analyze their style of play and find their comfort zone. Which sounds easy, but it’s so difficult because it’s against human nature. people unconsciously block doing this and just put themself in their comfort zone.

But if they should come out of this zone and do adventures. While adventuring the new path, they would make so many errors. However, that’s what they need to take, which I called a ‘step,’ not a ‘failure.’ Then they can learn from those steps and finally jump over the stage.

To summarize:

  1. Hit the limit of the current stage(which you don’t feel that you can’t improve anymore)
  2. Analyze the strong/weak parts and find the comfort zone
  3. Come out of the comfort zone and do adventures and get failures.
  4. Find a new path and make it big.
  5. Hit the limit of the stage and do the same thing.

Personally, I had more than several times of these paths, which I noticed later though. And I’m still trying to find my comfort zone and come out of it. But as like many others, due to the lack of time(good excuse!), I can’t do this, and I feel pity.

So instead, I’m finding others’ comfort zones and trying to help them out of it. And I see people struggle to make it, and I’m stressed too. But eventually, some find a new path and jump over their stage! Then that’s one of the biggest joys of my Go teaching!