How to walk (almost) without making noise
After having seen the introductory exercise for the silent walking (read Stealth walking: an introductory exercise), we move now to the first practical technique (the one that, better than the others, describes the general method).
A note by Master Kongling – There are various techniques and variations for the stealth walking, each of which adapts to different scenarios (and requires specific physical preparation).
What we are going to describe is the 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s “adaptation” of one of the most effective stealth methods used in Ninjutsu; it allows at the same time:
- To move at a good speed
- To remain (relatively) less visible
- To make a very limited noise
A note by Master Kongling – As we always say, in certain circumstances, it is almost impossible to do not make any noise but the real important thing is to blend a limited sound impact with a harmonization with the natural dynamics of the environment.
The first stealth walking technique
Even if this is the first technique we describe, it is not easy at all. To catch all the details we have to follow these learning phases:
- Memorize the theory
- Widely train the practice
- Add one by one each detail
- Merge all together
- Adapt the theory to us and to the scenario
- Let’s read again the previous article (we will not repeat what we have already said)
- First of all, let’s do a minimum of warm-up and stretching (read Basic warm-up and Basic soft stretching); in the most complete silence, even the best of the executions can be ruined by errors related to a cold body (like the noise of snapping bones, a sprained ankle, etc.)
- Before starting, let’s prepare us mentally, let’s imagine to have all the time we need, let’s relax our body and our mind (we should not keep any physical or psychological tension / stiffness, read also Breathing for immediate relaxation)
- Let’s introduce into our minds the idea that we should not try to move inside the environment as “foreign elements”, we are part of it and therefore, it is not hostile to us
- Let’s choose a path from A to B (5-6m without obstacles are good to begin)
- Before starting we always have to quickly plan which path is more convenient to follow (to avoid useless obstacles, dangers, forced passages, etc.)
- We have to focus on the harmony of body and mind, constant balance and movements synchronized with totally noiseless breathing (let’s use silent diaphragmatic breathing, read Diaphragmatic breathing)
- Let’s imagine we want to move forward (the backward movement is a different technique that we will see)
- Let’s lower our center of gravity slightly forward bending our knees, head and torso (read Kung Fu rooting: the pyramid concept)
- The more we bend our knee, the more we are stable but at the same time, the effort will increase (read How to improve balance: tricks and exercises)
- We should have one foot forward and one back (both completely flat on the ground, without folds)
- 90% of our weight must be on the leg behind; we must always be able to quickly retreat in case of error (eg. while leaning our foot on an unexpectedly unstable / noisy surface)
- Let’s lengthen our arms gently forward, with the hands open and relaxed (the palm of the hands should be parallel to the ground)
- The arms are not fully extended; our position is a mobile guard, ready to defend / attack but also to intercept eventual obstacles (eg. a branch in complete darkness conditions)
- In terms of body states (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch), our upper limbs should be fluid (ready to manage in the most silent way any contact)
- The foot that we want to move first (the one of the back leg) must be without weight even before it starts to move
- The foot always raises starting from the heel to arrive then to the toes (in a natural and harmonic way)
- While the foot lifts we inhale and we release our arms horizontally (to better distribute our weight in the space we are going to occupy)
- During the step, the arms move in sync outward and downward, describing circles that return cyclically to the starting guard position
- The foot moves with the tip inclined outwardly by 45° but trying to remain with its palm parallel to the ground (this to say that the tip of the toes should not look upwards)
- The foot goes then forward, in a quite central direction (towards our center of gravity, as if we were walking on a rope)
- The length of the step depends on the type of speed we want to maintain, each situation is different (eg. in some cases is more dangerous to be slow than making a small noise)
- A long step imposes more inertia on the ground and this means more risks to make noise and more effort; in any case, it is important to always maintain the knee bent
- The first part of the foot that gently touches the ground is the back-outside edge of the heel
- After the heel (with a slow but gradual and continuous leaning) arrives the rest of the external edge (as drawing a half moon on the ground) untile the entire foot has landed
- Let’s remember that each step is always exploratory, the weight should remain on the other leg until we are more than sure that we are not risking to cause any audible reaction (or dangerous loss of balance)
- If we are sure, we can fully and stably pull down the foot (only after having reached a balanced stance we can transfer our body weight)
- To move the weight from the back leg to the front one we have to rotate the pelvis upward, “throwing” our torso and our arms frontward (until, from our view, we can see the knee of the advanced leg overlapping the line of the corresponding toes)
- Only while we bring our body forward and we transfer our body weight on the front leg we can finally exhale (without making any noise)
- When we are completely flat on the ground we have to follow the same instructions with the other foot
- Each time we execute a step sequence, let’s do it without simultaneously sum the weight of the landing foot to the one of the leaving (at least in the phase of study the 2 moments must be consequential but separate)
- Let’s never load the weight of our body in the direction of the support leg; we should try to keep it in line with our center of gravity (this way we will have a better distribution of the pressure load)
- The entire motion should be continuous and non-fragmented; at each step, we must start and arrive in a perfectly stable stance (ready to interact with the scenario, stand still, fight, step back, crouch, etc.)
- As we always say, invisibility does not limit its focus on being not perceived by the senses but it extends to the idea of being mentally accepted as a neutral element of the scenario (something so normal to be instictively and logically ignored, read also Be invisible in the crowd: divert attention)
- When we talk about invisibility, the implications related to each sense must be cured in detail and sight is the first one (read for example Invisibility: the best night stealth color and Invisibility: how to hide heavy breathing)
- It is interesting to stress that contrary to what happens in most of the other 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s techniques (for movement, combat, etc., read for example How to punch (simple explanation)), the breath-out phase, is not synchronized with the landing movement, it starts only when the foot in well attached to the ground
- Due to the number of details to be cured, this is not exactly a beginner-level technique; we should start to address the study of the stealth walking, at least, at an intermediate level (we need for example basic standing stamina, read )
In the next article of this series, we will see a few more details and fixes to solve the most common problems (read Stealth walking: tips and notes).
In-depth video courses
- Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises – How to bring our body to an optimal shape for stealth mobility and combat
- Invisibility: hiding in the shadow – How to “disappear” in low light conditions
- 9 teachings from the movie Batman Begins – Through a Hollywood movie, let’s learn a few stealth and self-defense tips
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Have you tried? On the total number of steps, how many are actually silent?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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