Shugyo can be considered as the path of austere training. It is the path taken to overcome barriers. It is the crossroads we encounter at a certain point in our development. To continue with our journey on the "Way", we need to go past it.
What does this mean for me as a student of T'ai Chi? Simple - TRAIN. Feeling worn out - TRAIN. Fed up with it all - TRAIN. It's a bit grey and cold outside - TRAIN.
It's all to easy to think that we have developed to a reasonable standard and rest upon our laurels. John Kells told me that my t'ai chi was only as good as my last practise.
When the good student reaches the crossroad and then passes it, they have entered into a world where inner development is of the essence in daily practise.
Shu = to strike with delicate precision Gyo = Crossroad.
The good student strikes with deliberate precision at the target of the self. There is simply no choice in the matter.
Source: Sword and Brush by Dave Lowry, Shambhala, 1995.