Hints on how to be an urban ninja

That’s a catchy title for what is a really interesting post at The Martial Explorer titled “How to hide in plain sight”. While Jesse’s not in any way suggesting urban ninja action, I thought that the principles there sound like something from an awesome urban ninja film, possibly set in 1980s California or New York, with bad hair and guitar-laden power-ballads 😀

But enough of the silliness, some of the things he writes about are very useful in an urban context, particularly his final point on blending into your environment so that you don’t present yourself as a target – I remember years ago reading material on self defense and preventative actions you can take to ensure you make yourself less of a target to someone looking for trouble, and a lot of it falls back to what Jesse’s talked about in his post. It’s short and snappy, and while it doesn’t have any images of ninjas in the post, the content makes for an excellent read. Because of my leg and the associated limp that comes with it, I try and use other aspects of my body language to play-down my presence if I’m concerned about my safety, whether it be by matching pace with other people, working hard to minimise the limp, presenting myself as a confident individual (head up, back straight, impassive face, stuff like that), etc. Not sure if it’s ever made a difference, but it’s probably good habit nonetheless!

The only point I would add to or emphasise from his post is to make extended use of your senses – sight (again, using your eyes and peripheral vision, not necessarily your head), hearing (it’s amazing what you can pick up on if you attune your hearing appropriately), and your gut instinct, because sometimes you can pick up on a potentially dangerous situation without “logically” determining it, and it’s worthwhile paying attention to it.

Mind, if you’re a bit on the paranoid side, you’ll find your gut instinct can sometimes get a little jumpy 😉 At least that’s my experience!


2 Responses to “Hints on how to be an urban ninja”

  1. What a post!

    I was struck immediately by a memory when you mentioned limping with your leg.
    I remember one of my instructors telling me once that he has avoided fights before by acting a little ‘off’. Some scary looking guys were coming by so he limped, bugged his eyes out, walked funny and started talking a little crazy and asked them for drugs. They were more scared of him at that point than he was of them. He acted his way into making them think he was a worthless target for whatever reason.

    It’s an example of how it truly is ADAPTING and not just doing one thing or another. It’s becoming one with your surroundings, no matter what they are.

    Also, you know I’m the ‘martial explorer’ and not the ‘martial way’, right? 😉 Matt at Ikigaiway has ‘martial way’ in his title.

  2. That’s an awesome story, thanks for sharing 🙂 I never thought of going all the way with the craziness, your instructor was definitely switched on to pull that off, but the principle you discussed remains the same – adapting!!

    … oh, and my bad for the typo in the title for your site, I’ve fixed it up now 😉

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September 2009