Shu Ha Ri is a Japanese martial art concept that is used to describe the stages of learning to reach a state of mastery.
It has been used to describe the stages of learning agile practices.
The first stage is ‘shu’. In this stage, a student repeats the practices that have been defined by masters. There is no deviation from these practices. They may not be fully understood, but by practicing them, over and over again, they begin to feel familiar, become natural.
In the next stage, ‘ha’, a student begins to understand the movements and starts to experiment with them. These innovations start to reveal the deeper essence of the movements.
In the ‘ri’ stage, a student becomes a master, where the creative potential is unleashed and individual expressions reveal the deeper meaning of the practice.
Some Chinese martial arts have a similar three stage concept to Mastery:
> 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.