SHUHARI – THE JOURNEY TO MASTERY

The Karate journey follows three stages – learning the basics, putting the basics into fighting forms, and ultimately absorbing the forms into our reflexes, muscle memory and spirit. Shuhari is a Japanese martial art concept that clearly describes these stages of learning to mastery.

The Goshukan Karate Academy philosophy is to understand the meaning of every training technique, essentialise its true form, commit it to muscle memory and ultimately our instincts. This means developing good training habits based on purpose, accurate technique and repetition. This can only be attained through the appreciation, understanding and deliberate execution of ‘Kaizen’ – Constant and never ending improvement – Never stop growing, never stop learning.

When we train, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. In shu, we repeat the basic technique and forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the technique that are being taught by the Teacher – 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 –  we have a level of conscious competence and we begin the process of adding personal interpretation in the movement through expression of the art that we are developing. Finally, in ri, we have developed a level of ‘mastery’ – we open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we no longer have to think, we act entirely spontaneously.

SHU  

Imitation. This is the first stage of learning typified by strict memorisation and copying of the Sensei. We repeat the technique and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb what is being taught – we remain faithful to these forms with no deviation.

HA

Exploration. Once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire technique and form, we make innovations –  we have a level of conscious competence and we begin the process of adding personal interpretation in the movement through expression of the art that we are developing. We learn to flow – we develop movement that is no longer one dimensional and mechanical. It begins to feel like we are in control, calm.

RI 

Breaking Free. We have developed a level of ‘mastery’. We open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we no longer have to think, we act entirely spontaneously. We are truly in the art form now. It looks effortless, flowing technique that has grace, beauty, power. The movement become like art.

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