The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-

SoJutsu - Ninja's burning Run-

What was a ninja's running ability?

In the Japanese Warring States period when ninjas were active the fate of each land depended on the speed of information transmitted. I have already explained the ways that ninjas moved information that they got in the article " Dentatsu-Jutsu (`Bp) ". Actually, ninjas worked out many methods of moving information, but in that age, the most basic way of carrying news was " to run "with it. Especially in the case of independent actions, that was certainly the way.
So, how well did ninjas run? Ninjas ran very fast over both short and long distances. It was very natural for them because ninjas were the specialists of bringing information. A ninjas way of running was named " SoJutsu (p) " in Japanese. At that time, some ninjas were called " Idaten (ʓV) " in Japanese which was the God of Buddhism " Skanda ". Skanda was a kind of a symbol for " fast running " in Japan . According to a certain document, one ninja could run about 200 km a day and got a salary 5 times higher than usual ninjas. This distance is 5 times that of a full marathon today. Another source says that a certain ninja could run about 240 km in 12 hours. Although of course these records were for particularly talented ninjas, it should be thought that common ninjas could run very quickly. Back then, the running speed decided the fate of the ninjas and their groups. In addition to it, the condition of roads in those days in Japan was really bad compared with that of today. Needless to say, they were not paved at all and Japan is of course especially mountainous so considering this, a ninja's running ability was pretty amazing. In terms of short distance running, ninjas had to be able to run so fast because if they couldnft, they were soon captured by their enemies when escaping.The technique of a ninja's running was called " So-Jutsu (p) " .
How did ninjas usually train to get such an outstanding running ability? Letfs find out.

Breathing techniques

Control of breathing was the base of any kind of ancient oriental physical techniques. It is hard to find any exceptions. Modern oriental physical techniques do not apply it very much like modern judo (ߑ_) or full contact karate (tR^Ng) but almost all of the ancient ones valued breathing techniques and in all cases, a beginner would learn breathing control first. The main ones were Buddhism (), Taoism (), Yoga, Kung]fu, Old style Jujutsu (×_p), Okinawa Karate (), among others. The base of them is deep breathing and the effectiveness of it is proven through modern medicine . It gives one energy and stabilizes the state of body and mind. It goes without saying that ninjas adopted specific breathing techniques .
For ninjas, there are two key points for mastering breathing control. The first is to keep a fit body that can handle such physical exertions and the other was not to be noticed by their enemies from their breathing. The technique was called " Seisoku-Ho (@) ". I am going to introduce normal Seisoku-Ho.

" Ibuki " The breathing method of oriental cultures

In oriental breathing control, expelling carbon dioxide is more important than drawing air in. To explain it simply, a person has to spend more time expelling carbon dioxide than drawing air in. In Japanese, the breathing out is called " Ibuki () ". The correct method for Ibuki is below .
A ninja would sit straight up and take a deep breath then he would stop breathing and move the spirit all around his body. After that, he would breath out very, very slowly from his nostrils with his mouth shut. The key point in this case was never to make a sound. For exercise, he attached a feather or a piece of paper on the tip of his nose and tried to keep still so it wouldnft fall. At the end of his breath, he would repeat the same Ibuki again. Once he got used to this, he would do it after another ninjutsu (Ep) practice or while running without disturbing his breathing and making a noise.

" Futae-Ibuki " A ninjafs special breath

" Futae-Ibuki (d) " was a breathing technique which was distinctive to ninjas. Futae-Ibuki was for aggressive exercise like long distance running or free-climbing. It was said that by means of adopting Futae-Ibuki, ninjas could endure severe missions without running out of breath. The procedure of Futae-Ibuki is below.
To begin with, as with standard Ibuki, a ninja would sit up straight. Next, he repeated the following.


" breath in - expel - expel , breath in - expel - expel, breath in - expel - expel " .


He never stopped breathing and he repeated the same breathing style with a regular rhythm. In accordance with his habitual, he did it while exercising. It is considered that by means of this breathing style, a ninja could breath in a lot of oxygen and would not become fatigued even if he kept running for a long time and over a long distance.


A ninjafs running form

The running form of ninjas was almost the same as a walk. It was called " Nanba - Hashiri (io) ". When a ninja put his right foot forward he would swing his right arm forward and he would move his left foot with his left arm after that. It is said that there are some reasons that ninjas used this form. At first, not only ninjas but also every Japanese person, especially Samurais in pre-modern time, ran in this way. The grounding for this is that samurais had their swords on their waists, they couldnft help but run in a nanba-run style and secondly, it is thought that the nanba-run did not demand extra motion from a runner, so the runner could conserve his stamina and vitality from this style. The big motion of normal running is so heavy and noticeable that a runner may be found by his enemies easily. Maybe is why ninjas chose to run in the nanba-run style.
So how exactly did ninjas run? First of all, they pulled their chin in. Then, they started using " Futae-Ibuki " breathing. By means of these movements, ninjas could run rhythmically without fatigue. Further ninjas attached " Umeboshi (~) " - which is a Japanese pickled plum - on their navels while they were running. It is obscure as to what kind of an effect umeboshi had on a running ninja nut ninjas considered umeboshi as the source of running power.


Running training

Running for ninjas always had to be quick and discreet. For this purpose, ninjas thought out various forms of training. According to a certain document, ninjas tied a long rope around their neck with a length of about 10 m and started to run making sure the rope didnft touch the ground. Ninjas also put a wood plate on their chest and began running and ensuring it didnft drop down. These were the trainings for getting running ability and stamina.
There were other forms of training too. A ninja would sink his face into a tub filled with water, he would hold his breath for as long as possible, after that, he would suddenly stand up and run on wet paper without breaking it. Also, a ninja would lean a long wooden board against a wall, he would run up the board as fast as possible. To test himself more, the angle of the board would be made more and more acute.
Through such training, ninjas could develop a running style with both power and balance.