From what I understand, Joseki are similar to Chess openings, in that they may not represent “perfect” play, but are commonly accepted as near-optimal response sequences that can be memorized for certain situations.
If that information is correct, then I imagine it is beneficial (as in Chess) to take a holistic approach i.e. Learning first to play based on PRINCIPLE, so that predetermined sequences are not just memorized but UNDERSTOOD. That way a player is prepared to cope with opponents who go “out of book” and respond reasonably in the absence of encyclopedic knowledge.
So how can a new player learn the principles guiding those sequences, without relying on rote memorization as a crutch?
And when does memorizing specific Joseki become important to progress as a player?