Hiding Techniques in Plain Sight

Wayne Muramoto on the concept of Damasare (Hidden in Plain Sight) in budo

Those aren’t blocks. And not all of them are at gedan level, I would conjecture. They are hidden techniques, hidden within plain sight. Those who don’t know think they are just three gedan blocks done one after another. Those who do know what they really mean…well, a lot of times, they won’t tell you unless you’re part of their school, and a trusted student at that.

This concept has been around for a long time, with the purpose of protecting the “secret techniques” of a ryu from potential adversaries. But as Muramoto sensei goes on to say, the modern purpose is perhaps even more important:

Nowadays, the purpose of damasare has changed somewhat. It is used to mask the essence of the ryu from those who would steal the methods via printed media or videos and market it as their own.

Copyright is an important concept in all lines of endeavour. People who create something, whether it be book, app, photographic image or novel training method should have the right to protect their work, and to share it as they please – with or without compensation as they choose.

A content creator may choose to:

  • Share it freely (i.e. freeware)
  • Share it openly with restrictions, such as Creative Commons style licenses that might allow non-commercial usage, usage with attribution or no-derivative works
  • Share it only with those who enter into a commercial license (i.e. they retain “copyright”)

Is there any reason why the creator of a new training methodology (e.g. a certain kata, yakusoku kumite or flow drill) should have the right to choose a similar approach?

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