守破離 – Shuhari

Last night I mentioned this as we were training through the Kihon Happo. Shuhari is a philosophy that was adopted by Aikido but has been applied to the arts, business and also science.

Below is my attempt to understand the concept and how we can apply it to our training.

守 – shu “obey”, “protect” – The student learns and absorbs the fundamentals, the way, rules, techniques to the letter with discipline and repetition. A single path to mastery.

破 – ha “break”, “detach”, “digress” – The student understands the fundamentals. Through innovation, the teachings/techniques can be adapted or broken where necessary. Rules/processes can be discarded to allow discussion and ultimately improvement of the discipline itself.

離 – ri “separate”, “transcend” – The teachings have been completely assimilated and become second nature. The practitioner becomes the ‘rule’ and can completely depart from the forms.

Essentially, learn the forms, break the forms, transcend the forms.

Although I must point out that in no way suggesting that we should break the rules too early and depart from sound teachings, but merely offering the concept as a guide to help realise your own skill level. From there, I believe that improvement can be made.

Of course, I feel that even if we are able to get to the Ri stage in our lifetime, learning never really stops.

If you have questions on this concept or my understanding please feel free to comment.