Training Philosophy

When studying traditional Bugei (martial arts) , the student moves through three distinct phases, known as . Instrumental to this is the Kata—prearranged fighting forms—which help to manifest the principles of the Ryu in the physical model. Based on lessons learned in real combat, kata are used as a vehicle to transfer the knowledge of the Ryu. The Shu Ha Ri Philosophy must be careful adhered to especially in the beginning.

Preserving the tradition: Shu

In the beginning of training, one has to learn to work within the constraints of the form, be a formal Kata or Waza from the kyu requirements. Awareness is of utmost importance. You must learn by observation (観察).  Also, try not to think too much or question why something is done in a certain way. The transmission of knowledge also takes form or oral teachings (Kuden) oral tradition. These often times related to the Kaka and are considered (truths) “or” observations pass on with the form. Originally, Japanese martial arts were all transmitted Orally for security reasons.  As you continue to train, you will discover the answer to your question through the constant and correct repetition of the forms. Your body learns proper distancing, timing, and tempo. Your heart is being conditioned by facing a threatening situation and ultimately becoming victorious. At this stage, all aspects of one’s individuality must be discarded. You must learn to operate through specific framework of the Kata by imitating the postures and movements of your teacher. Departure from the form is not allowed at this stage. At first, this will all seem very difficult and you may have many questions, but perseverance is key.

Breaking down the tradition: Ha

Once the student has merged with the kata, it is time to start examining the form through henka (variations). On a very basic level, the student understands the fundamental principles of the form. Henka will  help to reinforce the principles of the Kata by demonstrating that they work outside of the form.

Escaping the form: Ri

This is the level of true mastery. The principles of the kata are now part of the student and ones individuality is regained. At this level, mushin (no mind) is evident. No longer does the student think about what they are doing. Reactions are all natural.

To me, the possibility of Shu Ha Ri gives thinking instruments, a dialect and a casing of reference to see how to approach taking in another ability.

When you are first learning something, assortment of thoughts isn’t normally the most helpful place to begin.

When you get the nuts and bolts down proceed to experimenting and looking to integrate new thoughts or ideas.

Your experiments will lead you to new ways and in the end you’ll move past the particular practices and advance your own particular manner of doing things.