SHU – HA – RI: the essence of life

Der Alte eine Legende der Kampfkunst

 As mentioned in our movie Takeda Ryu is one of the oldest existing japanese martial arts. The question is, why did it survive through time so long?

Or in another way. Why does something survive for centuries?
No matter if it is martial art, music, art or something else.

According to ZEN and also to western thinkers like Marc Aurel, nothing in this world has consistency. We are all aware of the fact that once we die our body will degenerate in its atomic structure and rebuild in another being.

Maybe a plant an animal or maybe a stone or a human beeing. Once you start to think about that, the undeniable truth surfaces and it will be clear, that we all depend on all other beings in our universe.

You can definitly never be sure if not one single atom of the flower you just watch or the cat you just pet or the person you just fight with, is the same like in your body. Strange isn’t it?

But why does something survive so long? Some call that evolution. The necessity of life. The theory says that we have our eyes near to our nose because before we eat something we need to see it. Once we see it, we first have to smell it, then we have to taste it. Therefore our mouth is so close to the nose. And also our hands are directed forward so that if we grab something everything is in front of our face.

The necessity of life they call it. Well we can talk about that very long and indeed it is thrilling and very interessting. In ancient martial arts there is only one reason why it survived so long and that is quality.

Which is logic because the Takeda samurai would have died in too big numbers if their martial art did’nt work.

It is the duty of the Soke to take care about the school. In his oath he took the burden to prepare the school for the next generations as especially a Soke is aware of the fact of Shuhari. In ancient martial arts the so called secrets are written in kanji, where each represents a sentence.
So „SHU“ is the beginning of a senctence as is „HA“ as is „RI“.
Takeda Ryu Nakamura Ha practicioner know this principle already as our flag, the FU-RIN-KA-SAN, works in the same way.

Each syllable represents a sentence. As Takeda Ryu Nakamura Ha consists of seven secrets, each one is accompanied with a sentence. To be clear.
Shuhari is not a secret. It is a prerequisite to find the seven.

But is is a truth, an absolute requirement, to understand the basic of the school and therefore to find the secrets. In my opinion it also shows how deep the samurai came in their thinking.

„SHU“ – means KEEP „HA“ – means BREAK „RI“ means SEPARATE.
So what does this mean? It describes everything concerning learning, relationship and becoming a master.
In training it means the follwing: First SHU then HA then RI. First watch the master very closely, KEEP doing what the master is doing. Imitate him. Second after some years of training, BREAK from doing exactly the same what your master does and try to find out your own way. Regulary you start to do exactly the opposite. (Your master will support that move)
Third after decades of training, SEPERATE, be your own way, practice your own way.

When you reach „RI“ you reached the status of a real master. Does this mean that you have to leave your master? That you make new Bujutsu? Of course not!

It is the same like in regular life. Everybody needs role models. For growing up your first role models are your parents. They teach you the first things. Then there comes school  and at last their comes your own life. Do you now not honour your parents? Bujutsu is the same. When you reached the level of „RI“ you digested all principles so far that you act on them without even thinking. This is mastership.

It was your master, who taught you that, who supported you to find them. But it is an undeniable fact that you only can become a master by yourself in being yourself. Always hanging on the lap of your master does not make you a master. And a good master knows that. WHY? He experienced it before. By himself. In finding to oneself the survival of the school is secured. It is like the wish to geneticaly alter human. Everytime you copy a human a small part of the original human is lost. And one day the cloned human is not able to live.
IF a master is only copied and not experienced, the school will die. Because everytime a small part is lost.

BUT if someone reached RI, she or he understood, felt all principles, therefore found out all the secrets and from now on it is her/him, who is speaking, it is her/him, who is acting and not a copy of someone else.
NOW the point is reached where existance of own experience exists. This transfer safed the school.
Because one thing never can be transfered.
You have to go that way by yourself. Your master shows you the way. He helps you to find the flowers on your way.
And, this is very important, he also leaves you, when he feels that RI is reached.

It is clear, that each phase of SHUHARI is a matter of decades of training. It is evident that you only learn this phases after your master opened the door for you. Which means, once you are released to „RI“ you START to learn it.
As everything in your life works this way.
You first learn the letter. Then you learn the word. Then you learn the senctence. – SHU
Then you learn to read. Then you learn to understand. Then you learn to think. – HA
Then you learn to combine. Then you learn to tell. Then you learn to write. – RI

First you are born. You are a baby. Your parents take care about you. – SHU
Then you grow up. With 2-3 you find a new word: „I“. This is the beginning of – HA Puberty follows, leaving home, creating your own family, the beginning of – RI

When you are wise enough you will find this principle in every aspect of life. In Japan this is called the holy three. Everything in this world consists of minimum three. If you only know two, then you are stuck in HA.

As there are sooo many. HA is comfortable. HA is not dangerous. HA is just being always in opposition. HA is always pointing with the fingers to others. HA is waiting for others to fail. HA is being a monkey and following orders without learning from them.
A master, who keeps his students in the stage of HA, is not a master. He is an egoist. Not taking care about the school. Every parent knows, that one day you have to release your own blood into life. It is a necessity. As hard it is, it has to be done. Everything else is against nature. Nature, back to start. One atom of each other might be in our body. Once the atom reached RI and spread out, grew in someone else, survival was safed.