It is often said that the Ninja is a supreme master of stealth, able to vanish
in a puff of smoke or change into a wild animal form in order to facilitate
an escape. In actuality it is the Ninja's understanding of invisibility that
gives them the advantage. Invisibility in reality is simply knowing how to fool
the enemies senses in order to remain undetected, much like a magician misdirects
in order to mystify and confuse.
There are two natural senses that are the focus of study.
The first is that of Sound. Noises attract attention, and if the mind fails to identify a sound, it becomes curious. This is where the Ninja employs the art of "Himitsu iri," the ever-elusive method of "Silent movement." This art serves as a foundation for all aspects of the Ninja lifestyle. Everything must be approached in a subtle manner if ones endeavors are to remain a secret.
The Ninja's first lessons in stealth are those pertaining to "Kage aruki," or "Shadow steps." These walking movements increase the warrior's efficiency at adapting to specific situations while remaining stealthy. Different types of terrain, varied foliage, sloping rooftops, inner floors of structures, all of these variables are embraced so that silence can be maintained.
The second sense is that of Sight . If something is visually perceived, the value of surprise is forfeit.
Therefore, it is important that the Ninja study methods of moving when they are within visual range of their opponent.
There are four areas of focus;
KAGE ARUKIJUTSU - THE ART OF SILENT WALKING
The Kage Aruki walking techniques were perfected by Ninja field agents during the course of their missions. It is the use of proper weight distribution, mental awareness and general feats of dexterity that enable an operative to carry out these acts of stealth.
To move soundlessly requires the warrior to commit themselves to countless hours of practicing and perfecting their technique. Traversing every type of terrain imaginable so that when specific surfaces are encountered during field operations, they are fully prepared to surpass them in a silent fashion. However, these walking techniques alone do not magically endow one with the ability to move unheard. These steps are simply tools used to increase ones ability to move with more grace and elegance. In actuality, stealth becomes a skill the warrior attains without really being aware of it. It is a result of their unarmed, acrobatic and weaponry training. This happens because the warrior has attained a intimate knowledge of the body and how it works.
HAYAGAKEJUTSU - RUNNING SKILLS
Also included in Himitsu iri is the art of "Hayagakejutsu," which is the method used to develop greater speed and stamina when running. These techniques require that the Ninja go through a set of rigorous training sessions that are designed to increase speed by applying different principles of body weight distribution. These running techniques combine stealth and speed. To initiate this technique, the Ninja assumes a low Hiryu posture with the upper body leaning deeply forward. As the warrior runs in this position, he is not only using the power of his legs, but also his upper body because it actually pulls the body forward into a faster run. The body must not bob up and down as the Ninja runs and the arms should not move at all. Instead, the arms should remain as motionless as possible so as not to attract unwanted attention. The legs are the only part of the body that alternate motion.
HOFUKUJUTSU - CRAWLING SKILLS
Another unique method of silent movement is the art of "Hofukujutsu," in which the Ninja employs different methods of low movement to avoid detection. One such method is "Ryohebi no jutsu," or the "Serpent crawl," in which the Ninja walks on all fours with his stomach very low to the ground. The serpent crawl provides the Ninja with a very fast method of low movement when travelling beneath the enemy's line of sight. One of the best crawling techniques is that of "Shinso toho no jutsu," or the "Deep grass rabbit" technique. This tactic is used when the Ninja is moving in extreme darkness and wants to avoid making noise by tripping or bumping into anything. This technique is accomplished by walking on all fours while scanning softly in all directions with the hands and feet. Although this is a very slow process, it is also very effective.
GIONJUTSU - FALSE SOUNDS
There are instances when the Ninja may accidentally make a noise. When this occurs, the Ninja must not panic. Instead, he should learn to cover his mistake. This is accomplished through the use of a very ingenious art. "Gionjutsu," the art of employing "False sounds" is extremely effective. In the application of this method, the Ninja creates noises that might deter attention from his presence. Therefore, if an enemy sentry was patrolling the land surrounding their lords castle and he heard a strange noise, he would most certainly investigate. This is where the Ninja can employ false sounds because often times, it is a simple sound that will calm the sentry's suspicion. The Ninja could mimic the sound of a cricket to deter attention from his specific location. This is because crickets stop chirping when they are approached, and if the sentry hears this sound he may not investigate that particular area because he thinks if there was someone there, the cricket would cease his song. Or perhaps the Ninja would imitate the sound of a cat, making the sentry believe a feline was responsible for whatever noise occurred, and since the sentry does not fear cats, he may feel somewhat foolish for searching. If though this tactic is creative, it is very possible that the enemy will not fall for the ruse. In this instance, physical combat may be the only recourse.
DOBUTSUJUTSU - THE ART OF USING ANIMALS
Another tactic known as "Dobutsujutsu," or the art of "Using animals." This tactic makes use of live animals as a means of diversion. To remain invisible, the Ninja may release a small animal such as a dog, cat, rabbit or monkey into the area of operation. This technique teaches that, when the threat of being discovered is imminent, the Ninja can use these animals as a diversionary tactic. These animals often cause havoc with the enemies senses while the Ninja slips away. This tactic can also be employed with insects such as venomous hornets or bees. To apply this technique, the Ninja would place a hive of angry insects in a pouch, and when he detects the presence of enemy forces he shakes the bag to enrage the insects and then throws the open pouch in the direction of his enemy. By the time the bag lands, the insects are furious, attacking anyone in close proximity.
KAGEJUTSU - INVISIBILITY
To truly embrace the concept of invisibility the Ninja must not only be undetectable to the ear, they must also remain equally unnoticed by the eye. The human scope of visual perception is the focal point in this situation. Visual perception is a fairly simple concept. The Ninja must come to learn how different types of vision affect their chances of remaining unseen.
KAGESHIN - THE QUIET MIND
Stealth is largely a mental activity. This mentality is known as "Kageshin," or the "Quiet mind." What this means is that the Ninja's mind must be free of aggressive intention. In essence, the Ninja's mind must become silent, because what the mind feels, the body will imitate. What this means is that the Ninja's mind must be alert to what is happening around them without any anxiety of being detected. This anxiety will inadvertently lead to mistakes in judgement. The Ninja must simply be confident in their training, knowing they have been prepared to deal with every contingency.