Walk Like a Ninja

I have a theory.  It may be a bit crackpot but at the end of this little blog I’m sure you’ll agree that despite the broken ceramics it has to be true.  It occurs to me that the only problem with that statement is that all crackpots believe their theories to be true and, as my grasp of reality is fairly tenuous at the best times, how do I know there’s any truth in what I’m about to say.  Okay I’m going to let you be the judge.  Here’s the theory.  It’s about walking.  I’ve noticed that there is a huge difference in the amount of noise people make when walking on the hills.  I don’t mean their happy chatter or, in my case, constant wheezing in an effort to catch their breath, I mean that some people’s feet make an awful lot more noise as they kick Mother Nature into submission than others.  Some folk cover ground silently whilst others are sending showers of debris up with every step and crashing about the hillside.

Well John I hear you say that may be true but does it matter?  I think noisy walking is bad walking.  Here’s why.  Sound has to be produced by energy so if you are making a lot of noise when you walk that energy can only come from one place.  The hill isn’t moving so it must be coming from you. As a result you are losing a small percentage of your energy with every step in making noise.  That might not seem much of a deal but suppose it’s only 1% or 2%  of your walking effort that you are losing to sound, over a whole day, that’s a lot of energy.  Over a lifetime, it’s much more.  Quiet walking has to be efficient walking as you are not losing energy in the creation of sound.

Not to mention the fact that noisy walking is likely to be causing more damage to the mountain as it is the sound of the hill being crushed under foot, stones and pebbles moving about etc.    Has anyone ever propounded this theory before? Perhaps I just have too much time on my hands but listen to people walking next time you are out and you’ll notice a huge difference.  I suppose heavier walkers are likely to make more noise but I think it’s more to do how you walk.  There’s probably a thesis sitting somewhere or a book you can buy on Kindle about it.  Boot manufacturers will now rush off and start developing the Silent Sole walking boot and walkers will tiptoe about the hills in carpet slippers.

I think it benefits us all to walk in sympathy with the terrain and not kick it into submission.  Does anyone else think it pays to walk like a Ninja?


4 responses to “Walk Like a Ninja

  1. I’ll agree and disagree with your post here 🙂
    Well, not so much disagree, as raise a point shall we say. You mention the amount of noise created, and that it takes energy to create it. However, where does this energy come from? Yeah, some will come from the walker being clumsy, however everything has energy, so quite a bit of the energy expanded as noise is just as likely to come from the objects being moved as it is from the walker. Makes it rather difficult to judge how much energy is wasted through this.

    However, I do agree with the idea. I am a quiet walker, and often wonder at the sheer clumsiness of some of my walking partners, as the blunder through the mountains. Having given it a bit of thought before, I came to the conclusion it is not actually clumsiness per sae, but in fact an inability to maneouvre your bodies mass correctly. If you are perpetually out of balance, you cannot move smoothly, and this obviously means you are wasting energy in constantly arresting the movement of your body. This can be shown by putting a badly packed rucksac on, then walking over difficult terrain, it will constantly “fight” your body, and you will fast feel the effects this has on you!
    Interestingly enough, you would expect climbers to fair better here, as climbing requires a much more refined sense of balance, however this does not always prove true (a friend of mine is a reasonable climber, but very un-coordinated on the hill!) Body size is also irrelevant, because it is an issue of how you move your mass, not the amount of it.

    The issue of quiet walking for me is not the problem, merely one sympton of a much bigger problem.

  2. John, you are right about energy, but walking quietly is also about better security and sure-footedness: it’s Whymper’s “Look well to each step”.

    I don’t know much about the ninja way but Wikipedia says “Some legendary abilities purported to be in the province of ninja training include invisibility, walking on water, and control over the natural elements” – that could be handy – I could nip across Loch Quoich and up Sgurr Mor …

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