History of BadukA Brief History of Baduk
There is very little historical evidence pertaining to the exact origins of baduk, but there are many myths and theories. One plausible theory suggests that it was originally a method of tracking the seasons. This would have been a very useful tool since the lives of the ancient Chinese people were based around agriculture. There are 361 intersections on the baduk board and that roughly translates with the number of days in a year. If a stone is placed each day, then one would be able to track the seasons. This would be beneficial for tracking such natural events as the flooding of the Yangtze River. One legend involves the Chinese emperor Yao (2337 - 2258 BC). It was said that Emperor Yao invented baduk to influence a more positive mental condition in his son Danzhu.
There are numerous well known philosophers who have made references to baduk. Confucius thought of baduk as a form of mental exercise that would consume your mental energy. Confucius thought that baduk was useless. In the 1600's Korean philosopher Song, Si-yeol studied Songnihak (The Study of Nature and Principle) and argued that baduk does not wear away the mental energies, rather it improves the mind. These benefits would include concentration, memory, judgment ... etc. Today there is strong scientific evidence that reveals baduk develops mental faculties of the brain, rather than consume them. Science has shown without mental exercise the mind will begin to stagnate, and this could lead to ailments such as Alzheimer's disease. This is why baduk is beginning to be seen as a very healthy way to maintain one's mental health by keeping the mind active.
Currently about 25 million people play baduk around the world. The majority of the players are located in China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. However the game is beginning to make an emergence into America as well as Europe. There are reliable rumors that baduk may one day be an Olympic event. However it is important to understand the traditional ways of baduk in order to build a strong foundation that will lead you towards a healthy and happy life.