Shuhari roughly translates to Learn, Detach, and Transcend.
- shu (守?)
- "protect", "obey" — traditional wisdom — learning fundamentals, techniques, heuristics, proverbs
- ha (破?)
- "detach", "digress" — breaking with tradition — detachment from the illusions of Self.
- ri (離?)
- "leave", "separate" — transcendence — there are no techniques or proverbs, all moves are natural, becoming one with spirit alone without clinging to forms; transcending the physical.
Shuhari 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.
- 地 di (Earth)
- Basics. To experience movements at the fundamental levels.
- 人 ren (Human)
- Ready to learn. (Some Chinese martial grandmasters equates the entry to this level as the Japanese belt system level of black belt 1st Dan (rank)
- 天 tian (Sky/Heaven)
- No conscious thought, flows/moves like the elements. This stage takes years of training and coaching from other Grandmasters.
The Shuhari concept is first presented by Fuhaku Kawakami as Jo-ha-kyū in Tao of Tea. Then, Zeami Motokiyo, the master of Noh, extended this concept to his dance as Shuhari, which then became a part of the philosophy of Aikido. Shuhari is part of the philosophy of Shorinji Kempo.