Hello, my name is G J Harris also known as Sifu G. In 1998 I created a martial arts system I call Shu Ha Ri Do. My Journey through the martial arts began in a somewhat non-conventional way. It is an honor to share with you the influence martial arts has had on my life. Thanks in advance for reading!
The Meaning of Shu Ha Ri
Shu Ha Ri can be defined as: The three stages that one takes in the martial arts from simple imitation, to development of one’s own style, and personal development in the martial arts. I chose the word Shu Ha Ri because I felt it described perfectly what I and many martial artists experience as they mature in the arts.
What inspired me to create Shu Ha Ri Do
It was a regular night when my mother and father took me to the local movie theater called “The Dixie Drive Theater”. What I saw would impact me for the rest of my life. It was the powerful and dynamic Bruce lee on a huge 2 story external movie screen. You have only but to imagine how all of the punches, kicks, screams and “watahhhs” of Bruce Lee affected my mind as a 4-year old I’m sure some of you can relate! Especially since that was not the only time I would watch a Bruce Lee movie in this fashion I would soon see all of the Bruce Lee movies by the time I was 8. This was the beginning.
Through elementary school junior high and high school I searched the school libraries for books about martial arts, mostly I found books about boxing/wrestling and occasionally finding one about martial arts. Every time I found a book related to hand to hand combat I would instantly put the techniques I saw into practice, as a young teenager with 4 other siblings receiving official martial arts training at that time was not possible due to financial reasons. This, however, did not stop me, I visited any school I could to receive any free lessons they were offering even at times traveling up to 25 miles away by bus. During this time I fed what was becoming an obsession for me by receiving free lessons in styles like American Kenpo, Goju Ryu, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Boxing, and more while writing down my observations in note pads. At the age of 16, I began my first official class in Shotokan Karate. Even while training in Shotokan I continued what had become a habit, of visiting other martial arts schools. During this time I also enrolled in a Kung Fu school where I learned the Praying Mantis, Wing Chun, and Crane Styles. What was key in my transition is that since my journey started I took lots of notes. With being able to continuously train formally an uncertainty I was sure to write down all that I learned so I could practice. My obsession not only kept me visiting schools but I would often catch the bus to the only martial arts supply store in Miami owned by Grandmaster Kim and his wife. I would spend hours in the store reading books and talking with Master Kim and his wife. I absolutely loved visiting the store and speaking with them. I have mentioned to them how I never thought I would do what I’m doing now.
Due to the incredible amount of knowledge I was digesting, ambitions of innovation and creativity began to fill my heart and mind. Looking into what had become about 10 notepads filled with martial arts related notes. I began to humbly test my observations, in sparring matches and small competitions at local dojos. I was amazed at the effectiveness of what I had come to embrace as my very own (up to this point) nameless method of combat. It was 1998 when I began flipping through the ten 30 page note pads I had filled with 12 years of notes since the age of 16. In my heart, I knew I had to make sense of my observations but trying to see a pattern in all of the lines, and scribbles seemed overwhelming to me, and so… it began the construction of Phases 1, through 7 of Shu Ha Ri Do. Organizing all of this information into a system of martial arts was one of the hardest things I ever did, taking me about 7 months of daily deciphering of what I wanted to share with potential students. There is so much more that can be shared about the intricate details of each Phase of Ha Ri Do i.e. strikes, kicks, grappling, Flex Fist Boxing etc. However, that would fill a book, soon to come in the future. Now that I had finally organized all the martial arts information I acquired over a 10 year period into a 7 belt/phase martial arts system it was time for a name. Well, to make a long story short after purchasing a book on Asian martial arts terminology I found that the word Shu Ha Ri perfectly described my transition in the martial arts. So, on July 23, 1998, the “way” of Shu Ha Ri was born, “Shu Ha Ri Do”. I began teaching my first 2 students outside, behind an elementary school in just 1 month those two became 25 students all training outside. After this humble beginning, I moved into my first building in the year 2000 growing my student base from 25 to 70 students. In 2003 I teamed up with all of the La Petite Academies in South Florida setting up satellite locations of martial arts training to all enrolled students. During this time I also taught a free boxing program to at-risk youth in Miami at an apartment community clubhouse.
Books by Sifu
In 2006 I began teaching my signature concepts for awareness in a fourteen-page booklet I wrote called “The Awareness Formula”. I taught “The Awareness Formula” concepts throughout South Florida in seminars and workshops. In 2007 I officially published my first book titled “Harness the Power Within and Without”. This book outlines Shu Ha Ri Do spiritual, mental, and physical concepts for self-mastery. During this time I started my own internet talk radio show based on self-mastery in the martial arts titled “The Harness the Power Hour”. In 2009 I was featured in the Key West Citizen Newspaper. I was also featured as a guest on the Mark Mills show in Key Largo Florida and the Louie Jones show in Chicago to discuss my concepts. Shortly after this I published 2 more books "Flex Fist Boxing" and "The Book of Hai Clue. I have also played an integral role in the development of such notable fighters as Alfonso “Chocolate” Frierson (featured in the Dawg Fight Documentary by Billy Corben), and Allen “AT” Terry who are now professional fighters. I welcome you to explore the world of Shu Ha Ri Do I am certain you will enjoy your journey thanks for reading.