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The ShuHaRi is a concept derived from Japanese martial arts and describes the 3 main stages of learning. Apply as part of the deployment of Lean 6 Sigma, the use of this principle allows to accelerate and better perpetuate the change.


The ShuHaRi is a concept derived from Japanese martial arts and describes the 3 main stages of learning. Integrated into Japanese culture, the concept of ShuHaRi reflects an attitude in which at first we must respect the rules before transcending them.

Step 1 – Shu 守 : to obey

At first, the “student” must first listen and respect what the instructor tells him. His attitude must be positive and he must want to learn. When to the instructor, he must transmit his knowledge, nurture the interests of the student and encourage him in his progress.

We are in a parent-child relationship.

Step2 – Ha 破 : To liberate oneself

The second stage occurs when the student has acquired a high level of competence (black belt in judo for example). He can then appropriate the learning and review in his own way. He will enter a personal learning cycle where he will question the instructor’s learning. The typical student question at this point is “Why do we do this?” ».

We are in a parent relationship to adult / child.

Step 3 – Ri 離 : Separate

At this stage, Kodansha (a high level black belt) has more to learn by itself and by creating new knowledge itself, than by learning the instructor. This does not mean that there is more respect or listening.

It is a relationship between grandparents and their children who are themselves now parents.

Adopter le ShuHaRi pour conduire le changement

Adopting ShuHaRi will allow us to more easily drive change and adopt Lean 6 Sigma methods more effectively.

ShuHaRi applies as follows to les Lean 6 Sigma projects :

  1. Pour the first project: the project leader ( Lean ExpertLean Leader…), considered as the expert of the subject, is the sole decision-maker of the actions to be performed, the whole team being then considered as pupils.
  2. For the second project: the expert of the method (Lean Expert …) intervenes only as an assistant and advises the “students” then animators of the different projects.
  3. For the following projects: the expert is no longer in the projects and lets the teams manage the projects themselves. Students who become animators then let their creativity be done, and are free to create their own modes of action and the methods they wish to use. The expert is then available to answer questions, ensure concrete results and advise if necessary.


C. Thompson (2008) – Black Belt Karaté

N. Johnson (2009) – The enigma of Karaté Kata

J. Liker, L. Convis (2012) – The Toyota Way to Lean leadership

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