Common Misunderstandings of Shu Ha Ri model

Japanese philosophy, Shu Ha Ri model, is getting a well-known concept nowadays. Originally the concept was for Japanese martial arts and art. However, many companies and business people have also adopted it, especially the Technology industry, which tends to have agile management. However, some people seem to have a misunderstanding of the essence of its concept.

Shu Ha Ri Model

A brief explanation of Shu Ha Ri is:

  • Shu (守): Protect or Follow
    Keep the basics thoroughly without any rearrangements
  • Ha (破): Break or Seek
    Try different things or methods to seek out what is best for the person
  • Ri (離): Leave or Remove
    Expand own horizons and create a new standard based on the full understanding of the basics and even themselves.

Example Cases of Shu Ha Ri

Giving a presentation at workplace

Copy the way the senior worker talks and creates PowerPoint slides.

Notice that he changes his tone and delivery depending upon the type of presentation and the audience. Try to convey commonly used structures and expressions, even in the different presentations, in the person’s own way of speaking.

Create an original way of giving a presentation that plays to one’s strengths.

Draw Animation Picture

Thoroughly imitate the pictures of professional anime creators.

Learn different expressions and depictions from other types of arts, such as films and contemporary arts.

Draw a unique and captivating picture.

Common Misunderstandings About Shuhari

japanese garden

Blindly follow the instructions

“Shu” is the most important of the three, but this does not mean that we should blindly follow the teachings without thinking. If people don’t learn something with a sort of skepticism, they will never be able to decide what is the best answer for them, and they will never be able to take the next step as the basics to be followed are vague. Furthermore, in some cases, it is abused to make the pupil obey without questions as the master likes. People need to learn proactively.

Moving on to the next phase at the wrong timing

When someone moves from “Shu” to “Ha”, they have to be careful with its timing. The best time to move to “Ha” is often not when they feel that they have mastered the basics but when they have an awkward feeling that something is not working properly while continuing with the basics. People should move on when they get convinced that the basics are not fully optimized for them.

Not just about stepping up, but It’s about the importance of the basics

Shuhari is not just a way of scaling up oneself; it essentially means never neglecting the basics. Even if someone has mastered something, their originality must be accompanied by a foundation.


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