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kikuchiyo
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Samurai Walk? Reply with quote
Didn't know where to post this since it doesn't necessarily deal with an Era in particular. Anyway, recently I came across the term "Namba Aruki" which is something to the effect of walking with the same hand and leg forward which in effect used less energy for walking. Also in the video link I provided below, the man says that Japanese never ran with their hands moving? I'd spoken to couple of Japanese about it and they said the whole deal sounds a bit suspicious, as if someone found the term in a book and made up some kind of story. Anybody know anything about this and care to share thoughts on the subject? Any Western accounts of strange Japanese walking habits?


http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/ナンバ走り

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=DC66NZj8pJ4

http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1802
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, if you have two swords in your obi, you'd probably be running with at least one hand clutching them to keep them in place, if not two. There is a scene in the movie The Hidden Blade where the samurai are taught to run western style-- but this was exaggerated and put in the film for comedic purposes to poke a little fun at "backwater country samurai".

I watched the youtube clip and found it a bit hokey. I'm not saying that the nanba aruki style didn't exist, but just how wide-spread was it? It could have been some sort of flash in the pan fad, such as Japanese celebrity "Duke" and his special weight-loss walking style that was briefly popular a year or two ago.

Also, I've never come across anything that mentions strange Japanese walking habits in any of the journals of westerners in Japan during the Bakumatsu.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The J-Wiki article doesn't think it really existed as a practical running method either.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Also, I've never come across anything that mentions strange Japanese walking habits in any of the journals of westerners in Japan during the Bakumatsu.


It's been a decade since I read it, but in a college course I read an article (presented as an example of Nihonjinron, a genre of publishing that basically amounts to Japanese folks patting themselves on the back about how unique and special they are) celebrating the diversity of walking styles that existed in the Edo period, and how they've disappeared with modernization.

Apparently in the olden days Edoites shuffled, strolled, gamboled, strode, trotted, loped, swaggered, shambled, and cantered.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:

It's been a decade since I read it, but in a college course I read an article (presented as an example of Nihonjinron, a genre of publishing that basically amounts to Japanese folks patting themselves on the back about how unique and special they are) celebrating the diversity of walking styles that existed in the Edo period, and how they've disappeared with modernization.

Apparently in the olden days Edoites shuffled, strolled, gamboled, strode, trotted, loped, swaggered, shambled, and cantered.


Japanese middle-aged men still have a distinctive way of walking - rod-straight back, feet that kick out ahead of them loosely in a shuffle, and hands, palms back, flopping along with the gait. I can do a mean impression of it for you, but I'm sure you see it every day Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Goodness!!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Knowing the Tokugawa Shogunate's fascination with classification, regulation, and restriction, one wonders if there was a bakufu Ministry Of Silly Walks.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:48 am    Post subject: Re: Samurai Walk? Reply with quote
Hi everyone, it's been a while.

kikuchiyo wrote:
Didn't know where to post this since it doesn't necessarily deal with an Era in particular. Anyway, recently I came across the term "Namba Aruki" which is something to the effect of walking with the same hand and leg forward which in effect used less energy for walking. Also in the video link I provided below, the man says that Japanese never ran with their hands moving? I'd spoken to couple of Japanese about it and they said the whole deal sounds a bit suspicious, as if someone found the term in a book and made up some kind of story. Anybody know anything about this and care to share thoughts on the subject? Any Western accounts of strange Japanese walking habits?


That way of walking is directly linked to bujutsu.
Walking in this manner will allow you to draw properly.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Knowing the Tokugawa Shogunate's fascination with classification, regulation, and restriction, one wonders if there was a bakufu Ministry Of Silly Walks.

Laughing I was thinking exactly the same thing !!! Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:04 am    Post subject: Silly Ninjer Walk Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Knowing the Tokugawa Shogunate's fascination with classification, regulation, and restriction, one wonders if there was a bakufu Ministry Of Silly Walks.
I once tried to demonstrate a silly walk to a yearbook photographer (long ago); it showed up in the yearbook looking like nothing so much as an exaggerated karate block with simultaneous kick, like John Cleese's high kick without the briefcase, sort of. I guess everyone's got his or her own unique brand of silly walk...

As for this walking style, it was taught as a technique in my Bujinkan training as a silent walking method, and my sensei acknowledged that it looked rather like a "chicken walk." He also told me that it has to be practiced constantly or else one loses the ability to do it effectively (i.e., silently). As practice, he led us students on a forced chicken walk (run) through a quadful of dried leaves. No one did it silently. He also told us to practice it wherever we were, so, for awhile, there were people walking around in the town who I could identify as ninjers-in-training, just by the fact that they had this particular silly walk. I had forgotten the name, though. It looks the same in the video demonstration as I remember it.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Knowing the Tokugawa Shogunate's fascination with classification, regulation, and restriction, one wonders if there was a bakufu Ministry Of Silly Walks.


You can't let the proles walk around as they see fit, it'd be unseemly!
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
What are proles? Proleteriat, hoi polloi? Undergrads, what? John
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
What are proles? Proleteriat, hoi polloi? Undergrads, what? John


In the eyes of the ruling elite, Edo residents lacking two swords, I'd imagine.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:


You can't let the proles walk around as they see fit, it'd be unseemly!


How dare the little people abscound with the refined walkage of the samurai class! Tokugawa no tame!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is rather interesting as it just came up at our battodo seminars the past couple of days--it kind of makes me wonder if something isn't making the rounds, as it were.

The description we were given, which makes me really want to check the extant pictorial evidence, is that Japanese didn't tend to move their hands as they walked, and that it was adopted in the Meiji from the European (specifically French-style) military training popular at the time, and then taught in schools as the 'proper' way to walk (which I really could see happening in pre-war Japan).

The evidence cited was partly that, when running out of a burning building, for instance, you would put your hands over your head and run, or cover your head, and not move them with your legs.

This does seem a little contraindicated by an anecdote I recall from around the early Meiji period (I can't remember the source) about two samurai approaching each other, but that could have been me putting my own western view on it.

I'm going to try to remember to look into this more and see what I can find on it. It is interesting, but I don't know if I completely believe it. Since it isn't something people of the time are likely to comment on directly, it would probably best be found, as I noted, in extant paintings, etc., that attempt to show movement.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't know. I just seems counter-intuitive. It is natural to swing one's arms. I can see when walking in crowds to limit it so as not to give offense or when running accoutred to hold floppy bits from falling or making noise. How would exaggerated swaying caused by same side motion be quieter or some clandestine attack walk? This seems nonsense to me, sorry. John
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
I don't know. I just seems counter-intuitive. It is natural to swing one's arms. I can see when walking in crowds to limit it so as not to give offense or when running accoutred to hold floppy bits from falling or making noise. How would exaggerated swaying caused by same side motion be quieter or some clandestine attack walk? This seems nonsense to me, sorry. John



This type of walk exist in quite a few koryu.
When drawing the sword while walking, the leg on the sword's opposite side is forward.
Having that arm follow the leg movement makes it easier and faster to draw.

Also, the steps taken aren't supposed to be as big as those we use in western walk, so the need to swing the arms isn't really present.
Bigger steps means your body bounces a bit (a shift in weight transfer). In bujutsu, this has to be avoided to have a proper movement.

I don't think that other classes would walk in this manner since it is mainly bujutsu related.
But think about women in kimono. There's no way for them to make big steps (or else the kimono would open), hence no need to swing their arms western style.
Go ahead and walk with smaller steps than usual. You'll feel weird if you swing your arms opposite of your legs. It's just not natural.

So in my opinion, it has to do with culture (clothing, way of life, etc.).

The video shown in the first post....the man is amplifying the movements way too much. I understand how it can feel strange to many people.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Baian, As an approach to an impending situation, real or anticipated, I can see swinging one's arms could make nuki delayed as the arm has to re-orient itself to an accustomed draw technique. That I can at least visualise. I don't practise iaijutsu as a separate discipline so, I can only go by demonstrations I've seen. Most forms are done from a static start position, movement ensuing as the form progresses and the arms/hands at this time are engaged in prescribed movement. The forms I practise in kenjutsu have the sword/swords already drawn and in kamae, 90% of the time, so moot. It is thinking that one must always walk with this form of walking on the off-chance that drawing the sword is imminent at any moment that seems hard to fathom. Too, there was a comment that this would facilitate a silent walk, well....Anyway, I think the more natural the movement the less one has to think about adjusting during a kata/strike/technique. Mushin, sen no sen, yes? John
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
Hi Baian, As an approach to an impending situation, real or anticipated, I can see swinging one's arms could make nuki delayed as the arm has to re-orient itself to an accustomed draw technique. That I can at least visualise. I don't practise iaijutsu as a separate discipline so, I can only go by demonstrations I've seen. Most forms are done from a static start position, movement ensuing as the form progresses and the arms/hands at this time are engaged in prescribed movement. The forms I practise in kenjutsu have the sword/swords already drawn and in kamae, 90% of the time, so moot. It is thinking that one must always walk with this form of walking on the off-chance that drawing the sword is imminent at any moment that seems hard to fathom. Too, there was a comment that this would facilitate a silent walk, well....Anyway, I think the more natural the movement the less one has to think about adjusting during a kata/strike/technique. Mushin, sen no sen, yes? John


It might seem cliche, but like they always say, "live so that you're always ready for the worst".
You know, it depends of the ryu also. Practitioner of Itto-ryu would always seem full of openings and not ready. They trusted their skill enough for that.
Others, developed a shizen-tai and walk aimed toward combat readiness.

As for the silent walk, I call bs on it.
Silent movement techniques often depends on the environment. So there's many of them.
But for the above walking technique, it requires smaller steps than we're used to.
Smaller steps = less weight transfer = less noise.
So I guess, yes, in a way. But it's not made to walk "undetected" as was implied in another user's post.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Baian is right about the walk being common place in bujutsu. I just got an "Aikido Friendship" series dvd in which they explain the roots of aikido by letting various koryu demonstrate their styles. I don't remember off hand the name of the koryu that I saw this walk performed...I'm thinking Yagyu Shingan Ryu, but I'm not quite sure. Anyway they clearly demonstrated moving the arms in time with the corresponding leg. As Baian said the explaination was to facilitate the drawing of the sword so I'm not sure how widespread, if at all, this style of walking was used outside of the samurai class or if all koryu practiced it or not.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


This picture is called "Ryukyu Chuzano ryoshisha tojogyoretsu". Notice the way everyone has been drawn. Couldn't find anymore drawings that were so blatantly obvious like this one. People who didn't move their hands while they walked or kept their hands on their weapons is very different than a person who walked with same side hand/same side leg forward than some of you have suggested.

Credit:
National Archives of Japan
http://jpimg.digital.archives.go.jp/kouseisai/word/pqrs.html
[/img]
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
i am resurrecting this thread, since I have run across a book dedicated to walking so that one is prepared for a martial maneuver. it surprised the hell out of me, but, well, there you go. It is a book titled 'Nanba Hashiri'. In the picture you can see how the arms are kept in line with the legs. John



[img=http://img56.imageshack.us/img56/7180/nanbahashiri1.jpg]
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Could all this *silly* modern talk about strange samurai walks stem from the theatrical and sometimes absurd way that samurai would march when coming through towns or villages as a part of Edo period daimyo processions for sankin kōtai (alternate attendance)? I couldn't help but to assume this when reading about the theatrical aspects of daimyo gyōretsu in Constantine Vaporis' very interesting book Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo and the Culture of Early Modern Japan.

Some of the clans had their samurai march in the strangest ways-- and there really wasn't anything martial about these choreographed walks or marching styles-- it was simply for show-- a kind of theatrical display to impress bystanders.
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
That same thought crossed my mind when I read that chapter Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Could all this *silly* modern talk about strange samurai walks stem from the theatrical and sometimes absurd way that samurai would march when coming through towns or villages as a part of Edo period daimyo processions for sankin kōtai (alternate attendance)? I couldn't help but to assume this when reading about the theatrical aspects of daimyo gyōretsu in Constantine Vaporis' very interesting book Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo and the Culture of Early Modern Japan.

Some of the clans had their samurai march in the strangest ways-- and there really wasn't anything martial about these choreographed walks or marching styles-- it was simply for show-- a kind of theatrical display to impress bystanders.



On a bujutsu standpoint, if you don't use nanba aruki while wearing a sword, you die if you are attacked. It is specially designed so that you have easy access to your weapon at all time.
The end result gives you the same movement used in unsheating/cutting. Though obviously, you can make movements really small (i.e. your arms doesn't move much).

I don't know about those clans forcing their men to walk "strangely". But what is the source the author you mentioned used? Was there a good description?
Because what is considered weird and choreographed now wasn't necessarily what they would consider so back then.

One thing for sure: no nanba aruki = you die if someone comes for your head. Not using it would make you too slow to draw and in a bad stance.
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