Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Secrets of the Ninja (16)

INPO– The Art of Hiding

Inpo, the Art of Hiding, is an integral part of the Ninjitsu system. It simply means that one
must take advantage of every possible object, natural as well as manmade, to conceal oneself.
Inpo gave rise to the legends that the ancient Ninja could vanish at will.
Foremost among the precepts of Inpo is the admonition to avoid unnecessary movement.
The Ninja employs this in conjunction with the principle of Monomi-no-jitsu, or "observing the
enemy from his perimeter." Following are the five preferred Inpo methods:
 
EARTH METHOD

The best example of this technique is supplied by Uzuragakure no-jitsu, which suggests hiding
like a quail in small gaps between two larger objects. The primary consideration here is that
one must be able to completely fill the space between the objects. In this way, one may escape
detection, since an observer will scan past these as lie walks his post. Of note also is the technique
of hiding under overhanging brush or grass. Stay low to observe and look around the
cover.
 
WATER METHOD
Sometimes known as Kitsune gakure nojitsu, this means to imitate the actions of the fox by
concealing oneself in water. Not only does this aid in erasing one’s trail, but also allows only
poor footing for the pursuing enemy. A variation is the Tanuki method of dragging the enemy
into the water for the purpose of drowning him.
 
FIRE METHOD

This is perhaps the i-nost difficult of the Inpo arts. It refers to the erasing of sound and
shadow. Always move behind a light source to avoid casting a shadow which might betray
you. Learn to move silently. Only practice in the Nine Steps can develop this skill. (See chapter
on Kuji Ashi.)
 
AIR METHOD

This refers to hiding like a raccoon, Tanuki gakure no-jitsu. It means that one should climb
a tree or other high place and press oneself against the object so that one seems to be a part of it.
The infamous jewel thieves, Alan Kuhn and Jack Murphy-who stole the Star of India from a
New York museum-made frequent use of this tactic. They believed, and rightly so, that people
seldom look up.

WOOD METHOD

Pu Neng Mu is the term used to mean "invisibility in plain sight." When no cover is at hand,
one must hide behind nothing. This is accomplished by distorting the silhouette. It is possible
to form the body into many shapes by means of yogic exercises. In the old days of Ninjitsu,
one excellent tactic involved replacing a scarecrow and standing in the center of a plowed field.

By kneeling and wrapping the arms around the knees, one assumes a rounded posture. This is
known as "hiding like a stone."

Numerous other methods exist for concealing one’s presence from the enemy, such as disguises,
mingling with crowds, false identities, and so on. These alternatives lie in the realm of
strategic, rather than tactical considerations, and have been omitted here as they do not relate
directly to penetration of the enemy encampment.

~Ashida Kim