Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secrets of Ninja (52)

LEAVING NO TRACE

In Ninjitsu, it is essential that as little evidence of the methods used remains for the enemy to
study. Thus, we strive to leave no trace of our passing for the enemy to follow.
When being pursued, and the enemy cannot be outrun, the options are few. The Ninja can
stand and fight, in which event the foremost enemy should be killed as savagely as possible,
striking terror into the hearts of his fellows. Or, he can shake off the enemy by means of’ false
trails carrying the pursuit away from his actual position.

One method of shaking off the enemy is known as the false exit. Gaining sufficient lead
from the enemy to escape his view, open a door or gate and leave it ajar as you pass. Few people
will leave an outside door open, and virtually no security installation would tolerate it. The
enemy in hot pursuit would be faced with the decision of which path to take. At the least, this
should induce him to divide his forces.

A similar technique is known as disturbing the dust. It calls for leaving footprints in an area
where they can be seen by the enemy. Running by means of the Heng Pu leaves tracks which
seem to travel in both directions at once. Back-tracking is a variation of this. It involves allowing
the enemy to overrun your concealed position as he follows a previously prepared trail, then
doubling back to your real intent.

Chia Ying, or the false shadow, is a technique for using an S-shaped candle to hide the Ninja’s position. In ancient times, such a candle could be hung on projecting cornices or brush,
giving the impression that the assassin was standing holding a candle where there were no
places to set one. Modern police officers utilize a similar technique in holding their flashlights
away from the body. A suspect would naturally assume the light to be in front of the body and
fire at that.

Ametori no jitsu is probably the most famous method of concealing the true escape route. It
is based old the principle that a raincoat always implies the presence of the person inside. Thus,
a cloak or suit of armor could be positioned so that it appeared to be a person standing, producing
the same effect as a scarecrow.

Whenever possible it is advisable to create confusion in the enemy. Overlook nothing. Utilize
meteorological phenomena such as rain, a sudden flash of lightning, the passing of the moon
behind a cloud, blinding sunlight, and deceptive moonlight. All should be considered.

Fire is an excellent diversion which will create confusion. Fire at strategic sites in the camp
is best used to cover escape rather than entry, since it will arouse the enemy and put him on
guard. Fire on the perimeter can be used to drive tile enemy back.

Lastly, consider terminating the trail. The ancient Ninja were masters of this. Lead the enemy
to a precipice and disappear, leaving no trace; lead the enemy into a trap; or lead the enemy
to an intersection leaving no clue as to which path was taken. In short, escape his pursuit
in such a manner that he will believe you have vanished into thin air. To accomplish this, one
must be a master of lnpo.

~Ashida Kim