Teaching

kazsurpriseKaz teaching style:

Last update: November 21th, 2014.

Hello! This is Kaz. Thanks for visiting this website.

My rank is amateur 8 dan.

The most recent result:  George in his 60s has been taking my offline Special Services Lessons, beginning in summer, 2014, and has improved quickly.  See George to learn how he has studied.

The following is an overview of the way I run my lessons.  If you would like some more detailed information, please click “Teaching” above in the menu and and then click “Offline Lessons” and “Online Lessons”.

I have taught hundreds, if not thousands of amateur players from a 30 kyu to 7 dan, from children to 78 year-olds  intensively for more than 15 years (Here, you can see how intensively I taught over the years: http://kazsensei.com/faq/#teaching%20style ).  I’m particularly good at teaching adult players over 35.

My teaching is original and completely different from any other teaching you’ve ever seen as will be demonstrated below.

Some Go teachers teach the latest joseki and opening, and many pro moves as well to amateurs, dan and kyu players, regardless of whether they will properly understand them.

I try to avoid teaching the latest joseki and openings to amateurs.  Here is the reason: http://kazsensei.seesaa.net/article/252401123.html)

I don’t teach top pros’ games.  I teach my students based on their level.  ( I explained the reason on my blog: http://kazsensei.seesaa.net/article/396285189.html .  The following is also related to this: http://kazsensei.com/faq/#tournament.  Here is how I developed my teaching method over the years: http://kazsensei.com/faq/#teaching%20style )

When you read a Go book or when watch a lecture, you are usually learning top pros’ games and / or learning mistakes made by somebody else.  In my lessons you will learn from your own mistakes.  I have learned that Go players learn much more quickly if they study their own mistakes.

Before a lesson, I will examine 10 of your games thoroughly, find your strengths, weaknesses, bad habits, and common mistakes, and only then start teaching you. 

After a lesson, I will send you problems bases on your mistakes.  My material will not only help you correct your mistakes, but also transform your weaknesses into great weapons to crush your enemy.  You will also learn new skills to [kaz- you could say “gracefully” or “gently” here] punish your opponent’s mistakes without hurting his/her feelings.

I will not ask kyu players and even dan players to memorize advanced dan-level things.  Memorization works for children, but not adults.  Instead I’ll make problems to help you learn basics (When I say “basics,” what I mean is that every skill level has its own basics- 1-dan basics, 5-kyu basics, 10-kyu basics etc.).

 

My focus is the following:

  1. I teach each player based on their own level.  When I teach a 5 kyu player, I will only teach things appropriate to that level in the fields of tesuji, life-and-death, a fight, etc.  I will not teach a 5 kyu player 5 dan level tesuji, joseki, etc.
  2. I teach the most basic and simplest sequences, patterns, and joseki, which you can use in various other situations.  They are simple, but you will be still be able to use them even if you get to top amateur levels.  (I realize that there are some misunderstandings in 1. and 2.  I’ve elaborated on that in the following: http://kazsensei.com/faq/#basic )
  3. When you solve my problems, you will be able to apply them in other situations.  I will not teach things which you cannot apply to other places.  (Of course, if players knows basic things, I will teach them advanced things.  To be honest, over the years I’ve learned that many adults at 2 dan and 3 dan lack a lot of basics.)
  4. give many problems that will help you learn things from various board positions so that they will naturally become part of your playing.
  5. You will solidify your basic foundation like building a strong base of a building.
  6. Then I’ll give you some advanced problems relating to what you have learned.  Because they are related, you will be able to learn them rather easily.  (This is a far more effective and efficient way to learn than learning unrelated things randomly.)
  7. As you add more learning on top of your strong foundation, your knowledge will be solid, like a building designed to survive an earthquake or typhoon.

 

One Benefit of my teaching (among other things):

Adults are always busy in life, work, etc.  Sometimes adults may find themselves unable to play Go for a half year or more. But because my teaching and problems will make you solve related things repeatedly, you will not forget them easily.  Even if you forget some of them, you can always go back to my problems, so you will get them back quickly.

Here you can see recommendations that will attest to the effectiveness of my lessons.

I’ve developed my teaching style by listening to my students and analyzing thousands of adult games.  I’m still constantly learning from my students.  As far as I know, I’m probably the only Go teacher who has been watching, observing, and examining thousands of amateur games.  If I have time to study pros’ games, I examine amateur games.

I’ve also been read business magazines and books for many years, and every time I learn about success corporations, I use their methods in my teaching.  The other day I read how Disneyland Tokyo has been successful for more than 30 years, and I started incorporating their corporate strategies into my teaching.

 

Kaz teaching styles:

Table of contents of this site.

I will make customized problems for you.

My life-and-death problems.

The reason why I ask you to send me 10 games.

The reason why I don’t teach adult dan- and kyu-level players long, complicated joseki.

Teaching backup moves

I prefer offline teaching, and this is the reason.

Payment by Paypal.

How to apply for Kaz Go lessons.

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I will make customized problem for you!

You may think that I charge a rather high fee, but there is a reason for that. This is what you get when you study with me:

I make Go problems that are specifically targeted at a student’s needs ; because I examine at least 10 games of his/hers, I know his/her weaknesses in learning joseki, shape, tesuji, etc. So I can create a customized approach for each student, focusing on his/her specific needs.

I believe that solving many related problems is really crucial for adults. Go is so complicated and hard to understand that adults often can’t easily grasp concepts such as “you should play here because it’s good shape.

Even if they understand it, it may not really sink in and become part of their playing for quite a while. But when I give a student many problems on the same theme, they can study a situation from various angles.

As a result, they not only can better understand my teaching , but also apply what they’ve learned to other situations more easily, as well as retain what they’ve learned for a longer time. Even if they forget, they will always have my problems to review anytime.Children may be able to remember a lesson and never forget it, but that is not the case with adults. That is why I use this approach.

I often give 15 or more problems to help my students grasp tesuji, shape, how to punish common mistakes, etc. The more examples my students see, the better their understanding becomes. That is why I try to send many problems. And as I stated, making customized problems takes lots of time.

These problems will also help you understand the meaning of joseki. Over the years of teaching, I’m convinced that learning tesuji and good shapes are far more important than learning joseki. The detailed reason is written on my blog: http://kazsensei.seesaa.net/article/396281507.html

By the way, there are some really complicated concepts in Go- one example you will see if you study with me is what I call the  “Romeo-and-Juliet shape”. This is one of the most important ideas, but also one of the hardest to grasp- especially for adults. In situations like this, I have to send at least 30, probably 60 or more problems in order for adults to fully comprehend and internalize the material.

I’ve never heard of any other teacher make customized problems; this is my unique style of service.  So that’s why I charge a premium price for studying with me.

WARNING: In fact I have not been making much money from my private teaching because I often spend 6 or 8 hours for each student to make customized problems.  But I’ve been doing it because that’s one of the most effective ways to teach.

And I am constantly adding new services to make my teaching more effective.

I’ve often considered reducing the number of problems I give to my students.  But this teaching has been very effective so far, and I’ve seen that my students are getting stronger, so I feel I should keep it that way.  I guess I’ll have to find a way to make problems more quickly.

Right now I have few students, so I am able to continue offering problems. But in a year or so, I may not have enough time to do so for each student. If that’s the case, I’ll have to reduce the number of problems.  We’ll see.

 

My life and death problems!

Studying life-and-death problems is crucial if you want to become a strong Go player. (Here is the reason: http://kazsensei.seesaa.net/article/251677919.html )

Many of my students have spent time studying life-and-death before taking lessons with me.  They often tell me that life-and-death situations during a real game are more complicated.

My life-and-death problems come from common situations that arise in actual amateur games.  I will not give you life-and-death problems that you would never see in a real game.

In my lessons, I start by sending my students only simple problems.  It’s important to get used to simple ones at first to solidify basic foundations. After a while, I send more complicated ones. But I always make sure that my life-and-death, joseki, tesuji, and other problems build gradually on what the student has done before.

I do this because scientists say that continuous repetition over time is what allows patterns to become ingrained in memory, so that those concepts are retained for a long time. So, yes- it may seem that some of the problems are similar. But that is by design.


The reason why I ask you to send me 10 games.

Ideally, I should analyze 100 of your games to fully understand your Go. But in my experience, 10 games are sufficient to see some of the most important weaknesses. (Some people don’t have any recorded games and can’t send any games, and that’s fine with me. But in that case I may not find what problems you have.)

Please send me 10 games in .sgf format. It’s best if those games are played with 10 different Go players, both stronger and weaker (you could include handicap games up to 3 stones as Black and / or White). Showing me 10 games with 10 different opponents helps me find your biggest weaknesses.

There is a reason for that. (Please feel free skip the following if you don’t need to know the reason.)

For example, many people don’t play well with a stronger player because they become intimidated.

Other people have what I call a “Jekyll and Hyde” syndrome: when they play with a weaker player, they become Mr. Hyde, and start playing many overplays and bad moves in order to kill stones. I’ve found that this tendency thwarts Go players’ improvement.

If you don’t have 10 recorded games, it’s okay to send me just a few games. If you don’t have recent games, then you can send me games from a year ago or so. (Even if you don’t have any game records at all, you can still begin studying with me.) If you play on KGS by the way, all the games are automatically recorded, so you can always download them.

WARNING: When you send me 10 games, please don’t worry about sending me bad games.  I believe that all your games are there to help you improve.  So you shouldn’t worry about good or bad games.  Besides, often when people say “Oh, I played terrible games”, but it turns out to be good games.  I’ve seen that many times.  In addition, it’s better for me to see your worst games because I’d like to see your biggest weaknesses as soon as possible.  So I will be able to help you improve at maximum speed.


The reason why I don’t teach adult dan- and kyu-level

players long, complicated joseki.

I’ve watched many adults who have tried to memorize long complicated joseki variations, and I helped many of them.

But one day I realized something: Teenage players can memorize all sorts of long complicated joseki variations and will never forget, but not adultsMany adults, especially those in their mid-30s or older, can’t memorize all the variations. Some adults do succeed in memorizing some complicated variations after spending many hours over many days.  But if they don’t keep using them often, after a few weeks, they can’t remember them, and sooner or later their knowledge is lost.

I think this is just like learning another language. Even if you memorize words, if you don’t use them all that time, you forget them.

These days, I believe that adults should learn only a limited number of joseki- most importantly, those which feature basic, good shapes and tesuji, all of which come up in games frequently. And I teach the meaning of each move in a joseki. That way you can apply the moves to other situations. And you don’t have to waste time memorizing advanced joseki which you will probably never use.

I call these joseki “basic joseki for adults” or “adult joseki”.

Unlike children, adults have very limited time to study Go. In addition adults can learn only a certain number of joseki, tesuji, shape, life-and-death situations. So you might want to be selective.

By the way, I’ve never seen a joseki book that is specifically geared either to adult learners or teenagers-  so this also makes my teaching unique.

If you’re an adult player and not sure about which joseki to learn, please feel free to ask me.

In my teaching I also emphasize tesujigood shapehow to punish common mistakes, and lifeanddeath. Learning these makes my students not only strong at fighting, but also better at understanding joseki as well as at countering non-joseki moves.

Keep in mind that even if you learn a hundred  joseki, many opponents constantly play non-joseki moves. When that happens, your memorization of joseki doesn’t help, but understanding of tesujigood shapehow to punish common mistakes, and lifeanddeath will help you.

(If you’re a teenage kyu player, then learning simple and basic joseki is still very helpful because you can get an understanding of the basics more quickly.  You can memorize lots of joseki variations without understanding of each move.  But I can teach you the meaning of each move and help you apply to other situations.  That way, you can learn joseki far more effectively and efficiently. )

 

Teaching backup moves

When I teach, I also try to teach a backup move in case you make a mistake- because we all make mistakes. When you have a backup plan, then you may very well feel more comfortable.

I know that some people get very upset when they make a mistake, and then make more mistakes and lose a game easily. That’s not good.   I was like that when I was an insei (Go apprentice).  So having a backup move is one way to interrupt that vicious cycle. As with adult basic joseki, I teach backup moves that are based on tesuji, good shape, etc., and will be most useful for you in a broad range of situations.

 

I prefer offline teaching, and this is the reason:

  • First a game commentary allows me to write more detailed and well-thought ideas. In fact, it is much easier for me to provide online lesson, in which I just tell my students my comments. Since the online teaching time is usually an hour and a half, which is very limited, my comments may not be well-thought. After a lesson, I sometimes realize that I said something incorrectly or I should’ve taught differently. But when I give comments on a game at home alone, I can analyze a game very carefully before I start writing.
  • Second there is a time difference, and there is no daylight saving time. I have to check these. When a student changes the time, I have to ask other students to change their time as well. It’s really hard to do so and very tiring.
  • Third I found that giving commentary on a game would help my students learn more than playing with me. This is because many players show their most natural self in a game when they play with a peer. Here are examples below:

For example quite a few Go players try to kill an opponent’s stones during a game, so they keep playing overplays or improper moves. (By the way, having a tendency to always kill an opponent’s stones thwarts one’s improvement. I call this “Jekyll and Hyde” syndrome. If you have that tendency, please let me know. I should cure you.)

Another example is that those who study basics often get defeated by a player who doesn’t care about basics.  They don’t know what to do about non-standard moves.   But when they play with me, their weakness is unlikely to appear.  In order to help them defeat non-standard moves, I have to comment on their games.

(So far, 98% of my students take my offline lessons, and they have all become repeaters.)

Please also read Offline lessons and / or  Online lessons.

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Payment by Paypal.

I use Paypal and accept  US dollars, Yen, Euros, and Pounds Sterling.  I may also accept other currencies if Paypal carries them.  I do not accept credit cards.

How to apply for Kaz Go Lessons!

  1. Login to your Paypal account and look for my email address: cickazu@gmail.com
  2. Now you’re ready to pay the fee to “Kazunari Furuyama”, (in Japan) but don’t confirm the payment yet.
  3. Before you click and complete the payment, please scroll down and find “Message (optional)” on the page.
  4. In “Message (optional)”, please fill out your instructions.  Here is an example of how you should write your instructions:  “An offline lesson fee. This is Harry Callahan (your full name, please); I’ll be sending you 10 games soon.  Choose one of the games. Go ahead, make my day!”
  5. After this, please email me your 10 games in .sgf format.

 

Lesson Fee:

If you’re interested in offline lesson, please click: http://kazsensei.com/teaching/offline-lessons/ ).

If you’re interested in online lesson, please click: http://kazsensei.com/teaching/online-lessons-2/ )

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you very much for reading this long website.

Sincerely,

Kazunari Furuyama

Office: 48-6 Ooyamahigashi-cho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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