The principle of Shuhari


While participating in a new coach training, the principle of Shuhari was introduced to us. Shuhari comes from the Japanese martial art Aikido. It roughly translates to "to keep, to fall, to break away". As Aikido master Enda Seishira describes it: "It is known that, when we learn or train in something, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. These stages are explained as follows:

  • In SHU we repeat the forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the forms that our forebears created. We remain faithful to these forms with no deviation.
  • Next, in the stage of HA, once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire the forms and movements, we make innovations. In this process the forms may be broken and discarded.
  • Finally, in RI, we completely depart from the forms, open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we act in accordance with what our heart/mind desires, unhindered while not overstepping laws."

Consider how this could describe our learning journey process towards more fulfillment:
SHU: protect, obey, traditional wisdom, learning fundamentals, techniques.
HA: detach, digress, breaking with tradition, detachment from the illusions of self.
RI: leave, separate, transcendence, all moves are natural, becoming one with spirit alone without clinging to forms, transcending the physical.

Could Shu-Ha-Ri be a useful framework to consider when we reflect on our lives?