Thread: Shu Ha Ri
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Old 07-11-2004, 06:41 PM   #18
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: Shu Ha Ri


I think the principle difference in our positions in this thread is not that I have experienced this process as a student of a Japanese shihan, which I have, but that I have often seen this process used as you describe it to achieve results that have little do with technique. I have seen it used to change behaviors and reactions that, while “spontaneous” in a certain sense, reflect an attachment to a way of perceiving the world and one’s place in it that is not consistent with the principles of aikido. But these behaviors and reactions are not necessarily replaced with the ability to effectively apply the physical techniques of aikido.

This is why I have said that aikido is not principally an art of techniques. Of course, all arts, even extremely formal koryu, are arts of principle rather than technique, so the way I framed that point is somewhat confusing. My intent was to say that in aikido, techniques play a very different role than in other arts. I think we can agree, along with several others, that mainstream aikido, unlike most other arts, does not intend to teach the effective application of physical aikido techniques to real conflicts. It does, however teach something, and I believe that it does so through the process of shu-ha-ri, as you described it.

What that “something” that mainstream aikido teaches is rather hard to pin down. Yet if you attend seminars, visit dojos, or even read discussion boards such as this one on the Internet, you will see examples of it. It is an approach to conflict that assumes that things will never reach the point of a real physical attack. Personally, I think that is an unwise stance, particularly in the dojo where we have signed away our rights to legal recourse in the case of injury, but perhaps it is more suited to our modern world where physical violence is no longer a real concern for most adults.

Interestingly, we can also look at the debate over whether aikido should be taught to the poor that was taking place on another board in a similar light. The poor are proportionally more likely to face actual violence in their daily lives than the rich, who make up the bulk of the aikido community. Yet, many feel that the art is not for them. Perhaps the underlying reason for this is that the poor need something with more physically effective techniques than mainstream aikido offers. Since we both have an interest in such techniques, it should not be surprising then that we both are more open to teaching such students, reducing fees if necessary. Aikido has great potential to change the way people relate to each other and themselves, but that potential will never be fully achieved until we get it into the hands of those who need it most.


Last edited by G DiPierro : 07-11-2004 at 06:46 PM.
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