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Keeping the Initiative 先手

I’ve been watching videos about Go in an effort to learn the game. One of the terms, taken from Japanese, is “sente” (先手), or “initiative”.

It stands in opposition to “gote” (後手), literally “after hand”, refers to having to place the “succeeding move”. This is an undesirable situation to be in. When your adversary has sente they are in control of the game. Part of the strategy of the game is to maintain sente. To do this, sometimes, it requires one to give up some territory in exchange for keeping the upper hand.

I find this an interesting concept as it relates to my work in activism. I find that progressives and activists tend to be constantly in gote, always responding and reacting to their adversaries moves. Thinking strategically about how to obtain sente, even if it means paying a small price, is something I hope to hold with me moving into the future.

Here’s one of a series of videos that I’ve been watching that discusses this idea and gives an example:

Also, here’s a wikipeadia list of Go terms.

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