If you’ve been on the Internet within the past few months, you’ve probably been smacked in the face with ‘Storm Area 51’. The buzz has been everywhere! What most likely started as a joke blew up to eventually include more than 2 million people pledging to find out what really goes down at the government’s top-secret Area 51. The tagline ‘they can’t stop all of us’ grabbed attention from the get-go, luring in potential stormers. Dark implications of that statement aside, many people decided the risk was worth it in hopes of getting to see them aliens. With plane tickets bought, people got down to brass tacks. All the planning circled back around to one question: what could they possibly do to gain an advantage over the United States’ military? Is there such a tactic, one which could break down fences and render bullets useless? The answer: maybe. The action: Naruto running.
While it’s name indicates Naruto running is strictly for Masashi Kishimoto’s titular character, the athletic style and benefits of Naruto running have spread it far beyond the original anime. It’s been seen in Inuyasha, Ranma ½, Dragonball Z, and numerous others. Naruto running burst from the manga pages and into mainstream media around 2008 when a WikiHow page popped up (“How to Run Like Naruto”). The advent of Vine around 2015 gave fans of the running style a medium which was perfect for conveying their nerdy athleticism. Relatable videos featuring Naruto runners in an unnatural element (i.e. on the campus courtyard, not usually the place ninjas hang out) took over the Internet, and we all had some good giggles. It went quiet for a while, until ‘Storm Area 51’ blasted onto the social media scene. The tactical benefits of Naruto running seemed like a perfect fit for those looking to fly past whizzing bullets and into the secret space.
The concept of Naruto running is simple: if you want to be faster, lower the drag. Wind resistance is a real threat when you’ve got enemies coming at you from all sides. To best maximize your speed, lower your torso and jet your arms straight back instead of pumping them in front of you while upright. The lower center of gravity combined with straight arms trailing behind you is what’s known as ‘Naruto running’. The Naruto run has the benefit of raising speed while lowering your potential body mass. Similar to how professional fencers aim to keep only the smallest parts of their body exposed to their opponent, the Naruto run offers less surface area for, say, bullets to hit at Area 51.
So here’s the deal… Storm Area 51 didn’t work out as planned. Only one brave Naruto runner was captured on camera in preparation for the actual takeover. The numbers weren’t high enough; maybe if there had been an army of runners, things would have been different. Instead, a musical festival took place, people made new friends, a custom can of Bud Light was released, and no one got hurt. Unfortunately, people would most likely have gotten hurt had they actually tried storming Area 51. While Naruto running may look cool (to some), it’s not actually all that effective. It may help reduce exposed flesh for projectiles to hit, but the unnatural gait will undoubtedly slow down non-ninjas. Naruto running may not be the most effective way to run, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. It may help you get your cardio in, become Internet famous, or meet new friends at the 2020 LVL Up Expo!