Guidelines for Stealth
Excerpt from The
Mystic Arts of the Ninja by Stephen K. Hayes
Posted on the Trackers mailing list on the Internet in 2000
1. Maintain balance control by allowing
your body weight to sink and be carried by deeply flexed knees.
2. Remember to breathe along with your
movement. Unconsciously holding your breath can unknowingly produce
unneeded muscle tension, and could result in gasping release of breathe
if you are startled or accidentally unbalanced.
3. Stay alert to the entire scene. Do not
become so engrossed in watching your feet that you do not notice other
people an elements entering the surroundings.
4. Use all joints for movement,
emphasizing fluidity through the engagement of the ankles, knees, and
hips for stepping. Avoid the lazy and dangerous habit of stiffening
knees and swinging the entire leg from the hip.
5. Maintain your weight and balance on
your grounded leg while you move the other leg into position to bear the
weight. When absolute silence is a must, avoid distributing your weight
over both legs at the same time.
6. If practical, allow your hands to float
lightly in front of and beside your torso, one arm higher and one arm
lower, to detect possible obstructions before your committed body weight
7. Pause and hold your position if you
feel that you have accidentally caused too much noise. Listen for signs
that you were heard, such as the movement of others or the immediate
silencing of background noise following your slip. Sink a little lower
on your knees to physically relax that could normally jump into your
body with alarm. Take a deep breathe and release it slowly to further
relax. Continue your pause for as long as you feel is necessary to
regain composure and allow possible listeners to decide they did not
hear anything after all.
8. Be as patient as possible. If speed of
travel is not important, take as much time as you can. Impatience and
the resultant hasty movement that it encourages are the greatest dangers
to the person who must move silently without detection.
9. Keep your movement appropriate to your
surroundings. Do not go to greater lengths than necessary to conceal
your movement, while at the same being aware of what others entering the
area may see if they cannot hear. Total silence may not be needed when
moving through wooded or densely populated areas where scattered noise
is a natural part of the environment. Also be aware that low profile
crawling or sliding may be the only way to move silently without being
seen in some locations.
Addendum, contributed by Leonard Henry
Weight Transfer -- progress SLOWLY with small steps, but most
importantly, body weight is placed on the ouside EDGE of the advancing foot and
then the foot is rotated in slowly inward testing the ground under foot until
about half your body weight is on the ball of the foot. When balanced,
begin the process with the other foot.
Wait and LISTEN -- when there is covering noise, such as wind or bird
or small animal movement, use their sound in the leaves to mask your own.
Never brush up against or touch surrounding limbs, twigs, or other vegetation.
Every contact, however minor, leaves a scent trail.
Top speed with this stalking is about 500 yards in two hours - but you will
be amazed at the animals and surrounding detail in the forest that you will
begin to see. I have stalked mature Bucks on the ground in dry Fall leaf
cover to within twenty yards with this technique, and shot very wary swamp
squirrels from as close as 15 to 20 feet. This Stalking technique was
treated in very good detail by Ken Wee in Primitive Archer Magazine several
years ago. It takes patience and effort to master, but gives consistent
results in the woods.