Onshin jutsu

The Art of Hiding

The art of hiding, concealing, making oneself invisible and camouflage is also referred to as inton or inpō. Hiding is probably the most effective method of self-protection. One can observe from relative safety or wait until a certain point in time has come. The art of rendering invisible can be divided into three different areas:

  • Avoiding the reflection of light, avoiding noise and smells
  • Paralyze the opponent’s ability to observe and hear
  • Dress up and acting

To understand the art of hiding, one must first hone one’s senses and try and recognize the effects of color, shape, sound, distance, and smell. Only then is one able to understand the connections and avoid these anomalies.

The Five Methods of Inpō

Based on the foundation of the godai, a principle was developed that Ninja could use in concealment. These aspects are very similar to the goton pō, and in principle, it is not possible to strictly separate the many areas, since each area is directly related to another area.

Chi – Method of the Earth

  • Exploitation of land
  • Hide in burrows, hollows, crevices, or behind stones (uzura gakure no jutsu, Engl. The art of hiding like a quail)
  • Use of vegetation for camouflage

Sui – Method of the Water

  • Hide in or underwater
  • Use of artificial reed islands for hiding

Ka – Method of the Fire

  • Camouflage using light, shadow, and sound
  • Silent movement
  • Attention to shadows and reflections
  • Use of dusk, fog, or rain for camouflage

Fu – Method of the Air

  • Conceal in an elevated position, such as on trees or poles
  • Hide in treetops
  • Conceal on gables

Kū – Method of the Emptiness

  • Methods of camouflage when natural resources are not available
  • Roll up to appear like a boulder
  • Motionless stand in the field to appear as a scarecrow
  • Conceal in sacks, baskets, barrels, and other containers (shiba gakure no jutsu)
  • Hide under floors or in gaps

Basic Rules of Camouflage

  • Camouflage hides the body but does not protect against the effects of weapons and shells
  • Even in absolute darkness, that doesn’t automatically mean perfect safety. Technical aids such as residual light intensifiers, infrared and thermal imaging sensors could be used
  • If you are spotted by searchlights or flares, you should make yourself small and stop moving
  • Colors no longer exist in the dark, so it doesn’t matter whether you wear bright red or black. But you should opt for darker colors because of possible light radiation. An uneven pattern and matt fabrics are even preferable to a deep black
  • In the light darkness you will be recognized by fast, hectic movements. Therefore movements should be carried out slowly and smoothly. If quick movements are required, they should be done close to the ground and for short periods
  • If you have to move over wide areas, you should plan the route beforehand and always jump from cover to cover. Never walk in a straight line for long periods
  • Hollows and burrows should be exploited when observing
  • Fresh soil from an excavation should be covered or removed
  • In total darkness, the Ninja used a trick to get his bearings. He placed the saya on the tip of his sword blade. To keep it from falling, he held the ribbon between his teeth. When he bumped into an opponent, he simply dropped the saya and immediately had the sword in his hand, ready to strike. It also served as a probe, and with the dual-range (saya and blade) he was always out of range of the object or person he sensed with that probe
  • Light sources should not be visible under any circumstances
  • Natural camouflage materials have to be replaced frequently, otherwise, they can become conspicuous due to withering or drying out
  • The camouflage must fit into the region, the natural direction and type of growth must be observed, i. H. Leaf undersides should face inward
  • Artificial camouflage can also be used, stripes, camouflage nets, and camouflage garlands have a camouflage effect similar to that of natural vegetation
  • If you camouflage your face and hands, you should pay attention to an irregular pattern
  • It is best to visit an area when it is already bright and to memorize the topographical conditions
  • Moonlit nights are particularly good for observation missions
  • Moonless nights are suitable for infiltration, exfiltration, or combat missions
  • Rain can help hide your sounds and limit your opponent’s vision. In addition, sentinels become less alert when it rains and spend less time outdoors
  • Traces should be avoided or removed if possible
  • Cast shadows from objects or people should be avoided
  • The eye takes a certain amount of time (up to 20 minutes) to adjust to the dark, but it only takes a few seconds to adjust to the light. It is therefore essential to avoid looking directly into white light. A red light should be used to find your way around on maps or with devices
  • It is best to always observe from a low position against the horizon
  • If you look hard at a point in the dark, target recognition is limited and a black point seems to dance in front of your eyes. Therefore, one should circle a target with one’s gaze
  • Objects appear to move when observed in the dark. They appear to change shape and color
  • When it’s dark, objects appear larger and distances appear longer. Suddenly flashing light appears closer
  • Be sure to protect your eyes when exposed to light, otherwise night vision will be lost
  • Movements across the opponent are particularly dangerous
  • Holding your hands in a funnel shape in front of your eyes improves your vision
  • When confronted directly with the opponent, his ability to observe can be reduced or prevented by smoke bombs, chemical gases, sprays, blinding powder, or intense flashes of light
  • In light winds in an open area, noise can be heard at the following distances:
    • 70 m – footsteps of a person with boots on the grassy ground
    • 100 m to 150 m – whispering
    • 130 m – snapping of branches
    • 150 m – footsteps of a man with boots on a dirt road
    • 150 m – Conversation of several people without caution
    • 300 m – Marching troops
    • 600 m – Driving in poles
    • 1000 m – hitting a stone with a spade
    • 3000 m – engine and chain noise of vehicles
  • Putting the ear on the floor improves hearing ability
  • To be able to locate noises better, always turn your head in the direction of the noise, if necessary place your hands behind the ear cups for support
  • Especially noise should be avoided. Keep or avoid conversations at whisper levels. Better to use hand signals
  • You should pay attention to your body odor. While it is the least developed sense in humans, dogs can be in the company of guards. It is, therefore, best to approach against the wind

Text: Stefan Imhoff