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?

The Applied Karate Show Episode 15 – Joe Berne Sempai

Applied Karate #015 (mp3 – 40MB – 84 mins)



Well folks, my intentions about getting a monthly podcast out were pure. Following on from the September episode with Chris Denwood Sensei, I recorded the October episode in plenty of time, only to have a bunch of gremlins strike. They seem to be resolved now, so hopefully we’re back on track.

Our guest for Episode 15 of The Applied Karate Show is Joe Berne, Sempai, a Seido practioner and blogger behind the Karate Conditioning blog.

Joe began training in Seido Karate in 1988 at the Karate Club of his college, the State University of New York at Buffalo.  The class was taught by Shuseki Shihan Christopher Caile (who went on to create Fightingarts.com, a well known website with content about a variety of martial arts).  He trained there, and at the style’s New York City Honbu dojo, through 1994, at which time he earned his shodan in Seido Karate.  A variety of injuries and life issues kept him away from training, but he returned in 2006.  Then living in Maryland, he began training under Jun Shihan Kate Stewart, and has remained there since then.  He recently earned his sandan at the 2011 Gasshuku in upstate New York.

Joe began studying strength and conditioning informally in high school in a vain attempt to qualify for the (American) football team.   He resumed his studies with a vengeance after taking up karate again in 2006 as he tried to use science to make up for the damage done by over a decade of a sedentary and hypercaloric lifestyle.  He has made a part time job out of reading and viewing everything available in the field of strength and conditioning that can relate in any way to martial arts performance.

The wide ranging discussions with Joe covered such topics as

  • Joe’s introduction to, and background in, karate
  • Strength tools (including the wonderful kettlebell)
  • Training for martial arts skills
  • Stretching for karate
  • Training for injury avoidance
  • Nutrition tips and the Paleo diet

This was a fascinating interview with a karateka who has clearly invested a lot of time and thought into his training and the strength and conditioning program required to support it. I heartily recommend you visit and subscribe to Joe’s blog Karate Conditioning.

Applied Karate #015 (mp3 – 40MB – 84 mins)