守破離

Shuhari is a Japanese martial arts concept, and describes the stages of learning to mastery. It is sometimes applied to other disciplines, such as Go.

ShuHaRi roughly translates to Learn, Detach and Transcend.

Shu (守:しゅ, “protect”, “obey”) — traditional wisdom — learning fundamentals, techniques,proverbs.

Ha (破:は, “detach”, “digress”) — breaking with tradition — finding exceptions to traditional wisdom, reflecting on their truth, finding new ways, techniques, and proverbs.

Ri (離:り, “leave”, “separate”) — transcendence — there are no techniques or proverbs, all moves are natural, no form, no constraints. 

Shu Ha Ri can be considered as concentric circles, with Shu within Ha, and both Shu and Ha within Ri. The fundamental techniques and knowledge do not change.

During the Shu phase the student should loyally follow the instruction of a single teacher; the student is not yet ready to explore and compare different paths.

Often people view this process within the realm of physical skill training only.

However, I’d like to look through a wider and deeper lense to view how this process possibly relates to the evolution and future of the Bujinkan during Sokes reign as Grandmaster of the nine schools.

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