The Yin and Yang of Baduk

by jesse

The baduk board represents the universe, and baduk was Taek’s world. When Deoksun ignorantly placed a stone right at the centre of the board in episode 4, she metaphorically placed herself at the centre of Taek’s universe.

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Black and white stones represent two opposing forces in the universe; yin vs yang. There are a few ways to end a game.
Ideally, a game is ended by agreement. When a player believes that he cannot gain more territory, capture more stones or reduce his opponent’s territory by playing on, he may choose to pass on a move. When both players pass consecutively, the game will end.

This reflects the fundamental philosophy of balance/equilibrium, in which two opposing forces attack and defend against each other to finally achieve a harmonious state of peaceful co-existence.

There are two camps of baduk players, 勝負師 vs 求道派. The first camp is fixated on the sole objective of winning, while the latter emphasises the art of playing baduk. I believe the writer belonged to the latter camp and was trying to tell Taek victory wasn’t everything.

In episodes 16-17, Life is Irony I & II, he won the ING Cup but he couldn’t make his final move by confessing to Deoksun. Just then, the yin-yang kiss happened.

 

The baduk board represents the universe, and baduk was Taek’s world. When Deoksun ignorantly placed a stone right at the centre of the board in episode 4, she metaphorically placed herself at the centre of Taek’s universe.

Black and white stones represent two opposing forces in the universe; yin vs yang. There are a few ways to end a game.
Ideally, a game is ended by agreement. When a player believes that he cannot gain more territory, capture more stones or reduce his opponent’s territory by playing on, he may choose to pass on a move. When both players pass consecutively, the game will end.

This reflects the fundamental philosophy of balance/equilibrium, in which two opposing forces attack and defend against each other to finally achieve a harmonious state of peaceful co-existence.

There are two camps of baduk players, 勝負師 vs 求道派. The first camp is fixated on the sole objective of winning, while the latter emphasises the art of playing baduk. I believe the writer belonged to the latter camp and was trying to tell Taek victory wasn’t everything.

In episodes 16-17, Life is Irony I & II, he won the ING Cup but he couldn’t make his final move by confessing to Deoksun. Just then, the yin-yang kiss happened.

 

Taek = black (coffee) = night (darkness) = yin ()    and    Deoksun = white (milk) = day (light) = yang ()

During the yin-yang kiss, Taek thought it was a dream (yin/night) while Deoksun knew it was reality (yang/day). The line between dreams and reality was blurred, and for the first time, yin and yang united. It was symbolic of the harmonious balance between yin and yang, the fundamental philosophy of baduk, and that was what the writer wanted to convey.

BadukSymbolism6

 

Light vs Darkness

1988.09.22

Who am I? Do I want to be a sky?

The light crushes the darkness and brightens everything.
The light even brightens the darkness.
The darkness covers the light and makes everything become dark.
It’s ridiculous act and impossible to get rid the light with light.
The light breaks the darkness and only the darkness that can break the light.

This was Deoksuns’s diary entry (translated by rynn_peace). It talked about the battle between light (yang) and darkness (yin). The concluding statement, “The light breaks the darkness and only the darkness can break the light” didn’t imply that light should win, or darkness shall prevail. Instead, it hinted at a balance of power between light and darkness.

Taek = Night, Deoksun = Day

The interchanging moves between white and black represented how day interchanged with night. Taek had problems sleeping at night. While everyone else went to bed, he stayed up late to practice baduk, and often ended up sleeping in the day. His dad advised him to drink milk to help him sleep better, and milk represented Deoksun.

BadukSymbolism2A

BadukSymbolism3A

 

 

Light vs Darkness

1988.09.22

Who am I? Do I want to be a sky?

The light crushes the darkness and brightens everything.
The light even brightens the darkness.
The darkness covers the light and makes everything become dark.
It’s ridiculous act and impossible to get rid the light with light.
The light breaks the darkness and only the darkness that can break the light.

This was Deoksun’s diary entry (translated by rynn_peace). It talked about the battle between light (yang) and darkness (yin).
The concluding statement, “The light breaks the darkness and only the darkness can break the light” didn’t imply that light should win, or darkness shall prevail. Instead, it hinted at a balance of power between light and darkness.

Taek = Night, Deoksun = Day

The interchanging moves between white and black represented how day interchanged with night. Taek had problems sleeping at night. While everyone else went to bed, he stayed up late to practice baduk, and often ended up sleeping in the day. His dad advised him to drink milk to help him sleep better, and milk represented Deoksun.

 

 

Milk + Coffee = Milk Coffee

Taek had always drunk milk and coffee separately. It was Deoksun who taught him that milk could be mixed together with coffee to make milk coffee. The act of mixing milk (white) and coffee (black) represented the harmonious convergence of yin and yang.

BadukSymbolism4A

Winning isn’t Everything

Like his father, Taek was highly competitive and he couldn’t stand losing. In episode 4, he cried and even cursed to vent his frustrations for losing to a newbie. Deoksun was the one who kept reminding him it was OK to lose.

BadukSymbolism5

Notably, Taek’s romantic plans and advances were pegged to his victories.

  1. He made his first move of asking her out for a movie after he won the World Baduk Championship.
  2. After winning the Fujitsu Cup, he gave his winning trophy to her.
  3. He planned to confess to her after winning the ING Cup.

But when he couldn’t confess to Deoksun after winning the ING Cup, he gradually came to realise that winning wasn’t everything. His subsequent winning streak only served to rub salt into his wound.

Thereafter, he devoted his time to Baduk in a bid to distract himself from Deoksun. But despite winning matches after matches as Choi Taek 9-dan, he wasn’t happy at all. He had to rely on sleeping pills to ease his suffering. In the past, Baduk was Taek’s everything. He ate, slept and played Baduk. But gradually, Duk Seon became his top priority. That was why he chose to forfeit a match for her without any hesitation. This showed that Taek got his priorities right and understood what the writer was trying to tell him, that winning wasn’t everything.

 

Milk + Coffee = Milk Coffee

Taek had always drunk milk and coffee separately. It was Deoksun who taught him that milk could be mixed together with coffee to make milk coffee. The act of mixing milk (white) and coffee (black) represented the harmonious convergence of yin and yang.

Winning isn’t Everything

Like his father, Taek was highly competitive and he couldn’t stand losing. In episode 4, he cried and even cursed to vent his frustrations for losing to a newbie. Deoksun was the one who kept reminding him it was OK to lose.

Notably, Taek’s romantic plans and advances were pegged to his victories.

  1. He made his first move of asking her out for a movie after he won the World Baduk Championship.
  2. After winning the Fujitsu Cup, he gave his winning trophy to her.
  3. He planned to confess to her after winning the ING Cup.

But when he couldn’t confess to Deoksun after winning the ING Cup, he gradually came to realise that winning wasn’t everything. His subsequent winning streak only served to rub salt into his wound.

Thereafter, he devoted his time to Baduk in a bid to distract himself from Deoksun. But despite winning matches after matches as Choi Taek 9-dan, he wasn’t happy at all. He had to rely on sleeping pills to ease his suffering. In the past, Baduk was Taek’s everything. He ate, slept and played Baduk. But gradually,Deoksun became his top priority. That was why he chose to forfeit a match for her without any hesitation. This showed that Taek got his priorities right and understood what the writer was trying to tell him, that winning wasn’t everything.

 

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