We are ninjas : Walk like a ninja!
Ninja walk : “Ashi-nami Jyukkajyou” (Ten walking methods)
There is a ninjutsu-sho (a book about ninja’s tricks) entitled “Shouninki” or “Seininki” (literal meaning is “The notes of correct ninja”), written by a military expert in the “Kishuu” domain (the present Wakayama and a part of Mie area) in 1681.
In this book, there are ten walking methods listed.
“Ashi” means “foot” and / or “leg” in Japanese, but in this case, “gait” would be a more proper word.
Nuki ashi (lit. “Pulling out gait”)
More details below.
Suri ashi (“Shuffling gait”)
In the darkness, you can’t see if there are any obstacles (including the ones you put to prevent enemies from following you) or differences in level on the floor.
So, you walk while raising your one hand in front of you to know if there is something, the other hand on your weapon to be ready for the fight, and without raising your feet from the floor.
Shime ashi (“Tightening gait”)
When you feel the enemy’s presence, walk in a pigeon-toed gait, your thighs together.
This makes it easier to take a step further to respond instantly against the enemy.
Tobi ashi (“Jumping gait”)
When things are scattered on the floor, you jump to go forward.
Kata ashi (“One-foot gait”)
When you have to go through the narrow space, you hop on one foot.
Oo ashi (“Big gait”)
Walk with long strides.
Ko ashi (“Small gait”)
Walk with small steps.
Kizami ashi (“Wiggling gait”)
When you feel a more sense of danger and “shime ashi” is not enough, walk with “kizami ashi”.
Step a little forward with your right foot, then drag your left foot without raising it from the floor like “okuri ashi” of “Kendou”.
(Your left foot will never be placed in front of your right foot)
This makes you easier to draw out your sword quickly.
Hashiri ashi (“Running gait”)
Tsune no ashi (“Usual gait”)
In old days, people walk while swinging the same side of their arms as their feet.
If you step forward with your right foot, you swing your right arm forward.
This way of walking was called “Nanba aruki” (“aruki” means “walk”).
It is said Japanese people walked like this until the Meiji era when western military method was applied, so it was the “usual” way.
You haven’t got to twist your body with “Nanba aruki”, thus it will make you less tired and enable you to go for a longer distance.
I assume lots of Japanese have heard of the expression, “Nuki ashi, sashi ashi, shinobi ashi”. (“Pulling out foot, placing foot, ninja foot”)
When I hear this expression, I imagine somebody walking on tiptoe.
But actually, tiptoe walking is called “Uki ashi” (see below).
“Shinobi ashi” is the combination of “nuki ashi” and “sashi ashi”.
You raise your leg like when you pull out your leg from mud.
Drop your raised foot slowly on the floor, place it starting from the small toe.
Other silent walking methods
When ninja sneaked into the enemy’s territory, they had got to walk silently.
So, it was very important to train particular techniques of walking.
Place your raised foot from your tiptoe after “nuki ashi”.
“Uki ashi” is quieter than “sashi ashi”.
Shinsoutoho (Rabbit walking in the thick grass)
Traditionally, Japanese people sleep on the floor.
So, you have got to be extremely careful not to make a noise when you pass by somebody sleeping.
This is the quietest way but very difficult to move.
How to do;
1) Place your hands on the floor so that fingertips of one hand are pointing at those of the other.
2) Place your feet on back of your hands.
It’s bare feet in this image, but usually ninja wear their Japanese traditional footwear “waraji” (sandals made from straw rope)
Because you keep your body in a low position, it’s easier to protect yourself if the enemy attacks you with a sword.
Intentionally making a sound of footsteps
The enemies mistakenly consider the footsteps as an animal or something.
I don’t know why footsteps are easily mistaken, because I couldn’t find details.
Probably ninja make animal sounds too.
Changing their footwear
I’m not sure how ninja confuse the enemies with this method either.
Footprints or footsteps or both, maybe?
Wearing the footwear back to front
The footprints will look as if ninja went the opposite direction.
They are a little bit like tricks in a mystery novel, aren’t they?
“Ashikou aruki” (Instep walk) training
Here is one of the ninja’s training.
Do not attempt !!!
If you harm yourself, I can’t take any responsibilities.
The training method is very easy to explain.
Walk with your insteps.
Latest posts by kara (see all)
- Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese - June 24, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese - May 29, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Go-chisou sama” – Phrase after meal - May 27, 2015
This will be the last part of the Shogi series. In case you missed the first posts about shogi, here they are: History and Origin, Shogi Pieces, Board and Gameplay. In this post, we will learn more about the shogi rules and strategies. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by […]
Summer in Japan is finally here! Finally, the season for Matsuri(festivals). Japan as busy as a country it may seem has a year-long list of festivals it celebrate all over the country. For most tourists, this is the best time to experience first-hand Japanese traditions and culture. In most of these festivals, you will find […]
Like any other culture, the Japanese have also traditional toys which children used to play and is now slowly being forgotten due to the rise of modern and high-tech toys and gadgets. One of these toys is the kendama. The Kendama Kendama (けん玉, can also be written as 剣玉 or 拳玉) is a Japanese traditional […]
I have never been to any form of hunting trip till my friends and I head out to Kyoto this year to experience Momijigari which literally translates to maple leaf (momiji) hunting (gari). Just like Hanami (sakura viewing) in spring, Momijigari in autumn is well rooted in the Japanese culture and recently has also gained […]
As the concept of kendo states that kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principle of the katana, there are kendo rules and regulations followed in a match (or in Japanese 試合, shiai). Kendo Match Rules A kendo match is herein defined as a contest between two contestants for a […]
Imagine yourself standing underneath a canopy of Cherry Blossom trees (Sakura) in full bloom, its delicate petals slowly dancing in the gentle spring breeze blowing. Its sounds like a scene from a movie right? But for the Japanese people these is no movie, it happens every spring. The annual Hanami – the Japanese tradition of […]
What to see in Fukiya surrounding area (3) [The Nishie residence] This house is located on the opposite side of the Hirokane residence and there is no bus service to/from the village centre in the off season, and even in the high season, a cyclic bus goes there only once a day. However, a bus […]
The game of ‘Go’ has its origin in China 4,000 years ago. It is more than 1,300 years since ‘Go’ was introduced to Japan. During these centuries, the ancient Chinese form of ‘Go’ has been modified and improved by the Japanese. ‘Go’ as it is played today is an indoor game which has no further […]
One of the things I noticed during my first visit in Japan is the custom of riding an escalator. In my country, I haven’t really thought about which side of the escalator to stand. But when I came here in Japan, I noticed that people stand on one side to give way to other people who are in […]
Muramasa (1) Masamune and Muramasa “Masamune” and “Muramasa” are probably the two well-known Japanese sword brands to common Japanese people. You may have seen those names in Japanese manga, video games, novels, etc. For example, “Masamune” is used by Sephiroth in a Playstation game, Final Fantasy 7. Also, there is a game entitled as “Oboro-muramasa” […]