Suhari – Intro


In traditional Japanese martial arts the concept of Suhari is the subject of much discussion
and varied levels of interpretation. Ever since I first started learning karate in 1973 I have
been interested in this topic and it seems to me now, after more than three decades in
martial arts, that is a universal concept applicable to all martial arts irrespective of their
geographical or cultural origins. In Chinese the three characters concerned are sou, po and li
and they mean approximately absorb, break through and leave. Absorb is used to mean
thoroughly take in or completely learn while break through means to make what you have
learnt truly your own, to individualise the standard. Leave means to depart from the
techniques and principles you have previously learnt. Another interpretation is that at the
sou stage you learn the principles and techniques of the school, then at the po stage you
master these rules and finally you leave the school (li). Both interpretations work at different
levels and serve to guarantee freshness to the art while going some way to ensure progress
and improvement. To see an example of these three stages …………

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