Sunday 15 December 2013


Shu Ha Ri. A term used in martial arts to do with stages of study. Shu is basically about learning and practice as we generally understand it. Ha is about then taking responsibility for what you have learned and can do and basically reviewing and creatively adding to. In other words still studying even when you know and can do. Ri is the ultimate, the realm of mastery and making it yours.....apllicable to all you see no matter what the situation.

Now, as usual I am going to put some perspective on this. Although we can go deep and see how it starts with the shoshin mind and ends with Fudoshin I will prefer to show how these principles are alive and well and operational in your daily lives and training. Once again in order to study we must be able to see when we are doing what's being studied and when we are daily life.

Shu...When training we are taking in data and knowledge and getting to a point of understanding. We build up these understandings. Meanwhile we practice the application of these understandings and thus we have study and practice. No different to a musician who has to physically practice or when you learned to read or write where there too was the same thing....mental learning and physical application. So SHU is about mind and body coordination. Thus you gain skill.

Ha...The next step. 'What's left?' you may ask. Well let's go back to mind. You have a set mind view, a stable to that degree understanding. Does this set understanding work in various situations? Is there still that 'opponent' who always gives you trouble? Is there situations where you have to revert to something else? Do you still have 'yeah buts' and 'what ifs?'

In other words we must look at the mind. Mentally you see what should happen when you apply your understanding but as you do the result is not what was envisioned. So it's time for humility. It's time for review. It's time for a greater understanding. It's time for responsibility. It's time for Ha.

This is truly the next stage of learning. So there you are confused because how you see it and how you generally apply it isn't working in this particular case. So Ha is also a test. It's an ego buster. It shakes your faith. Yet the solution is not to revert to another way by ditching the learned principles but rather to accept with joy that there is a new thing to learn. To be honest. To be disciplined. So a new discipline and honesty is all part of Ha. The result? Simple....when your mind and body are back in coordination. When what you mentally see happens as seen for real. All becomes easy once again.

Ri....So we can see here what the realm of Ri is. It's universal. It's the condition of doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what scene or situation or 'opponent' presnts itself you can see what to do and do it comfortably and thus what is in your mind happens via your application. You may have a favourite technique for example that you are sure you can use on anyone at any time no matter who they are or what the situation.....universal. Meanwhile you can also have others you are not so confident in. Thus one is nearing the Ri aspect whilst the others are shu or ha.

I am at Ri with regards to tying my shoelaces.

So shu ha's not so hard to understand really. Taking the mystery out of it.

To do with tying your shoelace you too are standing on the floating bridge between heaven and explosive power or any other nonsense.....just centred and in harmony.


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