Why Do the Naruto Characters Run the Way They Do?

Why Do the Naruto Characters Run the Way They Do

For those unfamiliar with the Naruto run, it’s a style of running made popular by characters in the popular anime series. Unlike traditional sprints, the Naruto run is characterized by an angled upper body and arms held loosely behind the runner. The show got so popular you’re sure to have seen at least one kid Naruto-running in the playground. There’s something undeniably fun about it— sprinting by holding your arms back, just like the anime hero himself. But beyond its nostalgic charm, it turns out that the Naruto run is based on a real running technique used by ninjas. 

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The Naruto characters run in that peculiar way because it conserves energy without sacrificing speed.
  • Their arms being pinned back also allows them to reach for their weapons more easily. It’s based on a real-life running technique called “ninja running.” 

The origins of the Naruto run

The origins of the Naruto run

Ninja running is the name given to this type of running. The fundamental idea behind “ninja running” is to preserve energy and improve function. 

The theory is that leaving your arms slack and essentially stationary at your sides is a more efficient method to move than using extra energy to move your arms along with your legs and running the danger of having your body slowly sway from side to side as your arms move. 

To make it simple to draw their blade, the runner holds the sheath to their lower back with their left hand, so it doesn’t hit their leg while running. This leaves their right hand free to draw the sword at any time. This is the basis of the running style we now refer to as “ninja running.”

They must minimize any needless bodily movements, such as sometimes turning their heads or moving their arms because they must sprint over great distances. They also slightly lean forward to reduce wind resistance, which allows them to move faster and jump higher while using less energy.

The rise of the Naruto run in pop culture

dragon ball run

This running style is so prevalent that it frequently occurs in video games, live-action television shows and movies, and even stage performances. It doesn’t just happen in Naruto, though Naruto made it popular for Western audiences.

As ninjas and other martial artists are “supposed” to run this way, this position has just stuck around in Japan thanks to several successful ninja shows and movies in the 1960s and 1970s.


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However, the necessity to hold the scabbard back has diminished with time, and fewer characters carry a sword with them. As a result, they never assume the sword-drawn position, indicating that this running style has essentially become pointless.

The usefulness of the Naruto run

People run while swinging their arms, which builds momentum and makes them faster. Instead of swinging their arms, trained shinobi in the Naruto universe move much more quickly than anyone in the real world. 

Although they may still choose to run the normal way, shinobi frequently choose extended pursuits rather than fast sprints. Naruto ran normally in an episode when he was trying to beat Kiba’s running time.

Also, Ninjas’ primary goal is to move covertly; therefore, to lower their profile, they lean forward, keep their arms straight, and run lower to the ground. This makes it harder for the opponent to spot them as they move from cover to cover.

In essence, Naruto and other characters run with their arms out since it is now accepted that this is how martial artists run. Nonetheless, there is historical support for the idea that ninjas had a special running gait because of their use of swords and their fighting style.

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