Mastering Your Learning with ShuHaRi

William Meller - Mastering Your Learning with ShuHaRi
ShuHaRi is a Japanese martial art concept that describes the stages of learning to master and improve your skills in an area.

ShuHaRi (Kanji: 守破離 Hiragana: しゅはり) is the Japanese concept of learning to master martial arts.

The ShuHaRi concept was first presented by Fuhaku Kawakami as Jo-ha-kyū in The Way of Tea, "Sado 茶道". Fuhaku based his process on the works of, Zeami Motokiyo, the master of Noh, which then became a part of the philosophy of Aikido.

Though ShuHaRi has its origins in Japanese martial arts, it has been popularized by agile software developers like Martin Fowler and Alistair Cockburn and applied more broadly to learning in general.

Most disciplines can be learned this way

When you know where you are on the journey to mastery, you can figure out what kind of learning will be most beneficial for you.

Shu - Follow The Rules

Shu (守) "protect", "obey"-traditional wisdom: The beginning stage is focused solely on learning fundamentals through repetition. In order to form muscle memory, you repeat the basic forms over and over again. In the shu stage, you're not concerned with any underlying theory of the practice.

Ha - Break The Rules

Ha (破) "detach", "digress"-breaking with tradition: Once you've mastered the basics, you can start innovating. It might be a good idea to branch out and learn from other masters. If you have an understanding of the underlying theory, you may be able to incorporate methods and variations from outside sources into your own work. 

Ri - Make The Rules

Ri (離) "leave", "separate"-transcendence: After mastery, you are free to give up forms altogether and follow whatever your mind desires. Now, you learn from your own practice, not from other people. When you reach the Ri stage, you are essentially expanding the discipline.

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.

Shuhari creates effective discipline when followed. Consider it a shift in your learning model. 

Shuhari emphasizes actual learning and not just getting a grade. 

It is a change from the school standard of 'get the grade' to 'master the skill.'

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