ShuHaRi is a concept in Japanese martial art. It describes the three stages of learning towards mastery.

  • Shu: The first stage is about learning the fundamentals.
  • Ha: Second stage is about learning the underlying principles behind the fundamental and learning from other masters.
  • Ri: The final stage means mastery, so it is about creating own, new approaches based on the skills and experience.

A couple of take-aways from this:

  • Get the foundation right: when we’re learning new stuff, it is easy to rush to doing the really cool things. In ShuHaRi, you spend a significant amount of time on this first stage. If you’re learning something new, this might be a great way to enhance your learning.
  • Learn by doing first, fully understanding comes second: ShuHaRi delays full comprehension over practical applying of the fundamentals. This speeds things up greatly.
  • Understand before trying new approaches. Before you’re trying to really create something new, in ShuHaRi significant time is spent on having a deep understanding of the fundamentals.

This is a little abstract, but that’s because it is so universal. You could apply this to your position, a new instrument, a new language, basically any complicated subject you’re getting yourself into.