How to effectively learn to walk silently
Connecting us to the topic of stealth walking (started with Stealth walking: an introductory exercise) we want to give a set of tips and tricks to learn and practice better.
To start it is important to stress that:
- To truly learn how to walk without being noticed is not sufficient a periodic training (eg. once a week, etc.)
- We will never learn to be silent (or better, to become part of the environment) if we do not decide consistently to live according to this principle (or at least in all the moments in which it is reasonable to do it)
- There are no always-valid rules, all the tips and techniques we talk about must be intelligently and consinstetly adapted to the specific cases of application
Drastically change our approach to mobility
Is it possible to replace our walking method with another near to the stealth ones?
In many cases there is the occasion, if not to apply an entire technique, at least to take care of its fundamental principles.
A note by Master Kongling – It is useless to say that to execute out of context, for example, the stealth walking technique 1 (read Stealth walking: Technique 1) would be “impractical”: instead, to apply its breathing, relaxation and balance-related aspects (with the idea of being unnoticed) is absolutely feasible.
The advantage of changing our “normal walking method” with a partially stealth one is that we would constantly promote a skill that improves:
- Spatial intelligence
- Quick reasoning
- Body fluidity
A note by Master Kongling – The silent walk is not only an invisibility technique but it is also a valuable aid in the development of many other aspects of martial education. We can start it as a “game”, to improve then at the point to transform it into a natural attitude.
Tips and trick to improve
Now let’s see the latest tips, useful notes and insights for walking stealthily while performing the full technique.
A note by Master Kongling – In the triptych that distinguishes the 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s setting (preparation, discipline, concentration), this would be part related to “concentration” (the technique is the preparation part and the training is the discipline part, read also A scheme to quickly learn any kind of technique).
We have to cross the steps (as walking on a rope)
When we walk we should always remember to slightly cross our steps, like as composing an “X” with our legs (but without making them touching), this:
- Allows us, in case of need, to quickly go down to the ground (enveloping spirally on ourselves, using the classical Kung Fu cross stance)
- Gives us the possibility to rest our legs one over the another, remaining motionless without excessive effort (in a lot of cases, “invisibility is a matter of patience”, read also 9 teachings from the movie Batman Begins)
- Grant us the ability to change direction easily and to rapidly flip our guard to the opposite direction (eg. to face an unexpected danger)
How to improve the technique execution
A few details to cure:
- The footsteps must have a natural length (neither too long nor too short); in addition to this we should never have a vertical bouncing motion (it attracts a lot of attention), our head should always remain at the same height (moving on a line parallel to the ground)
- The less time our foot treads an unstable ground, the less risk there is of emitting unwanted noises (eg. the late settling noise of a wooden floor)
- As already mentioned (in the past tutorials), we can not always avoid making noise, what we can do is try to synchronize ourselves with the environmental noises (paying attention to their cause, intensity, type, duration and pace)
- Let’s always try to make resolute but delicate steps, characterized by semi-circular legs’ movements
- At each step, we must completely detach our feet from the ground but remembering that the bigger is the distance that we create between them and the support surface, the bigger is the risk of making noise (while landing)
- During each phase of the walk, our feet must remain as perpendicular to the calves and as parallel to the ground as possible
- In a real scenario, it will be very rare to have the opportunity to follow a linear path; once we understood the basic mechanism we have to learn to stop, change direction, overcome obstacles and to turn back at any time (without losing pace, balance or make noise)
A note by Master Kongling – Even visually, in low light conditions (and at a certain distance), perfect execution of the stealth walking should be ignored by the observers and cataloged as a natural dynamic of the environment (eg. the movement of shrubs with the wind, etc.).
Barefoot stealth walking
The differences without footwear:
- If we are barefoot, the skin of the sole of the foot must land on the ground in extension and uncompressed (otherwise, at the start of every step, we will issue a small releasing sound)
- Unless we walk constantly in bare feet, in an open field, this exposes us to a high risk of injury (a big problem if our goal is not to be noticed)
- Walking barefoot can be a good choice if our feet are very dry, it is not if they are sweaty (even slightly); better to stop and clean our shoes carefully (above and below)
- If our feet are sweaty they will paste to the ground and collect debris (making sound and leaving visual signals hard to hide)
- Another drawback is that, for example after a long march, the bare feet assumes a strong smell, an olfactory signal that could be recognized not only by animals (like dogs hundreds of meters away) but at a small distance, even by humans
A note by Master Kongling – It is no coincidence that the areas subjected to constant surveillance are kept under control by human personnel combined with canine species with a highly developed sense of smell. In this sense, their ability can be up to 100 thousand times more powerful than ours; moreover, while the human brain is 10 times larger than that of a dog, the part dedicated to the sense of smell is 40 times larger than ours. Later we will also explain how to confuse the senses of the animals.
How to solve the most common problems
Common problems and relative solutions:
- If, while walking, we find that the support that we have chosen is not valid, we have to assume a stable / quiet stance to rapidly recalculate the route (eg. return to the previous location or choose a more favorable one); this is possible because, at each step, the last thing that we do is transferring the weight
- If, at a considerable distance (over 20 meters indicatively), we have been generically visually identified (eg. simply as a form of life and not as humans), we must have the courage and the patience to remain motionless (for at least 2 minutes)
- If at a considerable distance, we have been specifically visually identified (as humans) let’s crouch down extremely slowly and quietly, withdrawing on ourselves (to securely look at the evolution of the situation); in this case we must be ready to escape but it is not strange that the observer thinks he was wrong
- If who has noticed our presence starts to come toward us, have to get away in the same direction, at the same speed (without leaving too much traces and in an as much stealthy as possible way); if the distance starts to decrease we have to accelerate; if he runs, we have to run, leaving all the stealth attentions and trying to create obstacles between us and him
- If we make a noise and we are not at a short distance, again, let’s stand still and relaxed for at least one minute (let’s find a comfortable and quiet position)
- If we make a noise and we are in a visible position, again, let’s crouch very slowly to the ground and let’s remain froze / relaxed (for at least 2 minutes)
- If we have been identified by a short distance we have to quickly make a choice, try to gain an advantage to escape (to a safe area) or face our pursuers (surrendering to them, fighting them, etc.); in any case, the best option is always the one that rationally offers the better possibilities to preserve our safety (the S.A.F.E. method can be implemented even in this case, read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method)
A note by Master Kongling – When we talk about “distances”, it is important to stress that they are always relative to the peculiar characteristcs of the present scenario: hour of the day, type of illumination, terrain conformation, obstacles, atmospheric events, number / position / level of preparation of the observers (etc.).
There would be countless other things to say, but we stop here; gradually we will see the other stealth mobility methods, each of which must be used according to the different conditions of action (our level of preparation, psychophysical skills, slope of the land, kind of scenario, available time, level / type of tolerable noise disturbance, etc.).
In-depth video courses
- Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises – A set of exercises useful to build real combat psychophysical capabilities
- Constant attention: what is and how it works – How to catch the biggest number of information from the scenario
- Night vision – What is, how it work and how tu improve its functionality
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Have you ever tested your stealth walking skills?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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