Shuhari 守破離 is a learning methodology observed in typical Japanese budo. It consists of three stages shu, ha and ri which are usu
守 Shu - To learn from tradition. Literally meaning to keep, protect, stick-to or maintain learning fundamentals, techniques, heuristics, proverbs etc. It is a "Don't ask, just do" outlook synonymous with stereotypical japanese masters. The aim is to learn and protect the basic form without deviation. There is no point of asking 'Why' if you have not yet mastered the 'how'. Mixing styles and inventing ones own techniques certainly defies the principle of shu and is the wrong path in learn
ing budo. The master usually takes his time to reveal all the technical details of a individual techniques and principles. Those who give up or deviate from the path too soon therefore never receive the fullest transmission and are never suffiiently equipped to enter the Ha 破 stage of their training.
破 Ha - To 'break' the chains of tradition. In Ha, the student must reflect on the meaning and purpose of everything that one has learned and thus, come to a deeper understanding of the art than pure repetitive practice can allow. At this stage, since each technique is thoroughly learned and absorbed into the muscle memory, the student is now equiped to reason about the background behind these techniques. Only now can he ask 'WHY' and truly understand the answer. Typically this starts around brown belt and 1st degree black belt levels.
離 Ri - Meaning separation, leaving, depart (from). At this stage upon mastery the practitioner seeks to go beyond the knowledge that was learnt. He creates his own approaches and adapts what he's learned to his own particular circumstances.
[ Adapted from http://www.makigami.info/ ]