Category Archives: Drill Teams

Information for drill teams of all kinds

The DrillMaster DrillUp! Clinic

DrillUp! Movement Clinic
DrillUp! Movement Clinic

I’ve been teaching in various official capacities since 1986 and since 2009, I’ve been teaching various elements of what I have developed into a formal clinic for cadets, mainly, and JROTC instructors. The best news is that the clinic is free! I teach it to JROTC units as I travel the country instructing first responder ceremonial units.

The text of the flyer that I created is below and you can download the flyer at my Downloads page under the heading DrillMaster University. The best thing to do is get cadets from all over your area to attend the clinic that last three to five hours, depending on how many cadets attend.

What you get in the clinic:

  • Command voice principles
  • Movement mechanics and principles
  • Effort qualities
  • An understanding of unarmed exhibition movement
  • An introduction to armed exhibition movement
  • Teamwork activities

What does it take to host a clinic?

  • A gymnasium or some place similar
  • Access to an electrical outlet is helpful

What do the cadets need to bring?

  • Water and snacks for the breaks
  • Sturdy shoes for marching
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Any kind of drill rifle

What is the price for cadets?

  • A positive attitude
  • A Desire to learn
  • A willingness to improve
  • $0

How many cadets can attend?

  • 20 minimum, up to 100

 

Wow, Did I Make a Big Mistake!

Each service used to have its own drill and ceremonies manual and then the Navy opted to use the Marine Corps Order for drill and ceremonies and the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines went along with that. Now, we have three manuals: The Army’s Training Circular 3-21.5; the Corps’ MCO P5060.2; and Air Force Manual 36-2203. You can download the latest versions at my Downloads page, here.

cover-color-team-coachs-manualUsing your service D&C manual as a training tool can be quite cumbersome and difficult, that’s why I created two books, The Color Guard Coach’s Field Manual, DMFM 22-5A, and The Platoon/Flight & Drill Team Coach’s Field Manual, DMFM 22-5B. DMFM stands for DrillMaster Field Manual. Both of these books are available in perfect-bound and spiral bound. The links above take you to the spiral bound book store pages. Both FMs are only 6 inches by 9 inches to fit in a cargo pocket and most of the pages have space for your notes. It’s like having a lesson plan in your pocket. The books are not a rehash of the service D&C manuals, I took only the parts that pertain to cadet daily and competition marching from each service to highlight certain requirements. Each cadet still needs to be familiar with their service manual.

Problem!
I ran into a big problem about three weeks ago (as of this publishing date) and immediately scrambled into action to fix the issue.

What happened?
I blew it. I had the wrong file uploaded as the master contents for the Color Guard FM. That file was more of a place holder while I completed the true master which, I just realized, was incomplete! What a huge oversight on my part!

I have a copy, now what?
If you purchased a copy of the Color Guard FM from www.paradestore.com before October 20th, you should already have been contacted by them and will be shipped a new book immediately. If you purchased a copy of the book from my Lulu bookstore,  before the same date, please contact me here,  I will reply to that email, and all you have to do is send me a picture of you holding the book and your address. I will ship a new book to you right away.

Paradestore’s stocks are updated, the old version is gone and I sincerely apologize for this terrible oversight of mine. I will make every effort to not let it happen again!

First Overseas DrillMaster Trip

During my 20-year US Air Force Career, I was stationed in three European countries and Japan as well as two states. I had not been to the Middle East or the African continent.  Those two places are now added to the list.

PART I

Matt Pereau and I working with the Jordanian staff
Matt Pereau and I working with the Jordanian staff

Six Months in Planning
Apparently, I have a fan or two overseas. One just happens to live in Qatar and is part of the Police College of Qatar (PCoQ). He contacted the translation staff at the college asking for them to initiate a discussion as to how I could accomplish a significant task for them. The next six months were all about ironing out details and ensuring we were talking about the same thing in two different languages, Arabic and English.

Exhibition Drill Around the World
All one has to do is go to YouTube and see all kinds of videos that highlight drill teams performing exhibition drill. The bulk of videos is going to be of American drill teams, mostly high school JROTC. However, if you keep searching you will see some very interesting exhibition performances from all across Asia, Europe and even a few from the Middle East.

Of the performances outside of the USA, most are made up of a single-file line with some amazing ripple movements (see the Belarus Ripple Line here). That is because the rifles used now (M-16 like) do not facilitate any other effective manipulation or armed exhibition drill that includes tossing rifles around is just not a cultural thing.

After judging all kinds of visual performances since 1986, my view as to a limiting factor for exhibition drill outside America, is the use of what I consider highly ceremonial British-styled (foot) drill. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the style and have worked with a Canadian Army Cadets team as well as spent a few hours learning how to march being taught by British Army cadets and staff. I enjoyed learning the style and exchanging good-natured slighting remarks.

You can see this limiting factor that I previously mentioned in videos that display the style. The style does not allow for a consistent horizontal or even vertical flow for an exhibition performance (read about Flow here). As I said, it is very ceremonial in nature, and that is what makes watching the style so mesmerizing at times. For exhibition drill, though, it creates severe performance restrictions. As an example, see these selected videos (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcRniWQELcW4uU89-FEIL4po_e6boF6Up)

So, what is one to do when the prevailing style is British and yet one wants to knock the socks off of everyone with an exhibition drill performance? Teach a new style that is specifically for the performance and this is exactly what the PCoQ training staff was looking for.

Below is the video of the opening ceremonies of the PCoQ. The PCoQ does not have it’s own compound, it is part of the Police Training Institute. The PCoQ’s own compound will be finished some time in 2017.

The cadets here were trained for five weeks before the ceremony by the staff of the PCoQ. Just weeks prior, the cadets were in high school having not marched before. I think they did an outstanding job!

Note: I do not have pictures and video that I can share due to the Qatar Military Secrets Act, I cannot publish anything other than official work from the PCoQ. I’ll have that soon. The pictures and video I have were used for training purposes.

New, New, New!
Now that we established the style that the cadets and staff know by heart, we can see what the three-week training session entailed.

Once established, muscle memory can be difficult to recreate and that is exactly what Matt and I had to do with the 15 staff members, recreate their muscle memory. We worked Standing Manual, teaching the staff to stand with their feet together at the heels and toes, new facing movements and then a new manual of arms with totally different rifles (thank you Joe Rivas of Glendale Paradestore!), not to mention the rifles being quite a bit heavier than what the staff members were used to! We even had classroom time for briefings on how to train, how to write drill and how to judge/develop a critical eye.

Only Three Weeks?
Three weeks is not enough to learn a completely different way of drill, let alone an exhibition routine, but the staff did an amazing job of just that and they learned almost four minutes of the routine! Here is a glimpse of the graduation ceremony performance:

What’s Next?
Much more work, much more. The ultimate performance will be for the first graduation of the PCoQ in 2019. That means a great deal of practice and still more training to come and that means more news to come!

PART II

South Africa is quite a wonderful, hard and difficult country, for me, at least. For seven years Tshepo (“Tse-poh”) Tautshwane and I have known each other through Facebook. He has been very interested in drill and has wanted to start a drill team/(marching band) color guard for his church’s marching band.

Tshepo is the drum major of his band and a student at North West University majoring in music education. He plays tuba extremely well and has a passion to teach others. Below are some pictures of my trip. Top left is my wonderful new family, Lilly, Elizabeth, Nkepile (Tshepo and Elizabeth’s mom), and Natsu. Lilly and Natsu are Tshepo’s Nieces. Christian, who had to run off to school before the picture, is his nephew.

South Africa Trip 2016
South Africa Trip 2016

The bottom right picture is of Tshepo and fellow drum major for another marching band, Motlatsi Moloi. I took six color guard rifles over to help create the new auxiliary for the band. They learned some military manual of arms and also how to spin the rifles.

There is also much more to come from South Africa and the DrillMaster!

Off to Qatar and South Africa!

Yes, it is true! The DrillMaster has been international for years now, but my travels have not taken me outside of the country until today. At 1 pm Eastern, I will fly with my good friend and exhibition drill colleague, Matthew Pereau. We are truly excited and blessed for this opportunity!

Leaving for Qatar
Matt and me this morning ready to leave for the airport!

 

 

 

Our first stop is Qatar where we will train a group for three weeks. Matt will fly back home and I will continue on for four days in Johannesburg, South Africa. I will publish the many details about the trip complete with video and pictures upon my return.

Godspeed everyone!

The Obstacles of a Parade

from pitch.com
from pitch.com

When I was in AFJROTC (’70-’83), we didn’t have scoopers right behind horse entries in a parade. They were the unsung heroes who brought up the very rear, just in front of the police car with the flashing lights signaling the end of the parade. This meant that everyone in the parade had to dodge, duck, dip, dive and… dodge certain remnants from our equine parade entries.

30 JUNE 2012 - PRESCOTT, AZ: "Pooper Scoopers" pick up horse dung during the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Parade. The pooper scoopers are among the most popular people in any parade that features lots of horses, and lots of horses march in the Prescott parade. The parade is marking its 125th year. It is one of the largest 4th of July Parades in Arizona. Prescott, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, was the first territorial capital of Arizona. PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ
30 JUNE 2012 – PRESCOTT, AZ: “Pooper Scoopers” pick up horse dung during the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo Parade. The pooper scoopers are among the most popular people in any parade that features lots of horses, and lots of horses march in the Prescott parade. The parade is marking its 125th year. It is one of the largest 4th of July Parades in Arizona. Prescott, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, was the first territorial capital of Arizona. PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ

Now, scooper are placed throughout parades and are making a crummy job fun.

there should be people, sometimes Scouts, who clean up during the parade walking behind horse entries in parades. However, there is the possibility of encountering one or more situations where you and your team may need to either March through or around an obstacle. The choice is yours. Manure won’t ruin shoes, but it’s not nice stepping in it and carrying a certain amount down the road with you especially when you are in front of the public, the whole parade is your performance. But, that’s what we do: adapt overcome and carry on. On the other hand, the team always has the option of separating and individually moving around obstacles and then coming back together. That movement should be as slight as possible – no major movements.

Shaving, a Bane of Existence

from coachrickswimming.com
from coachrickswimming.com

The first time one shaves is the beginning of a never-ending cycle when you wear a service uniform. Say hello to nicks, cuts and the occasional abrasion depending on your skin type and especially if you have acne.

There are shaving powders, creams, and soaps, but probably the best shave you will find is from oil. You can buy a relatively expensive specific blend of oils that create a better shaving experience, or, you can go into the kitchen and pour a little olive oil into a small bottle and use that. Olive and hemp oils (what I use) are great for shaving because oil protects your skin better as you run that steel blade across your skin and these oils do not block your pores which is even better. Using an oil is less expensive and healthier for you by avoiding the chemicals that can be in the soaps and creams. Here is how to implement oil in your shaving regimen.

Best in the shower: get your (face) skin nice and wet, wash your hair and then turn off the water (a cut-off valve is great). Now, put about six to ten drops of oil on your fingers and massage it over the area to shave. Put water on your razor and get your fingers wet on your non-shaving hand. Put this water on the first area to shave; you now have three layers of liquid on your face: water-oil-water. Shave the area that you just wet. Rinse the razor OFTEN. Here is an example:

Wet fingers, rub that water on your right cheek, shave right cheek with a downward motion of the razor, turn your water on so that it is forceful and rinse your razor, wet your fingers again and repeat for the next area to shave.

from telegraph.co.uk
from telegraph.co.uk

When you rinse your razor, the water must be quite forceful since the oil and stubble are a little sticky and messy. If you need to re-shave a portion of skin, add more water to that area, don’t just shave it again. The floor of your shower might become a little slippery, that is why you shave toward the beginning of your shower and then let the soap during the rest of your shower take care of the floor, to some degree.

Which direction to shave? Great question and only you can decide that. If you have very sensitive skin, shaving closely will irritate and possibly make your skin bleed with dozens of little red dot all over. Shaving against the growth of hair (“against the grain”) is the best way to get as close as possible. Shaving with the direction of hair is close, but the least irritating. Shaving sideways to hair growth produces in-between results.

Key points: no matter what you shave or how: use copious amounts of water, a little oil- add more oil if necessary, and more water. Rinse your razor constantly.

Ears, Eyebrows, and Nose
Guys, you will probably end up trimming all three of these at one time or another. It’s just part of getting older. However, trim them you must! You need to be as professional as possible and this is part of it.

Safety razor, straight razor, electric shaver, or hybrid (electrical wet shaver): It is up to personal choice. Try different methods and see what is best for your lifestyle and skin.

Speaking of oil
Get some coconut oil and oil pull for 15 to 20 minutes first thing each morning with a large teaspoon of the stuff. It will be extremely beneficial for you.

How to Create and Teach Drill Team Ripples

The “domino effect” does not accurately describe what we call a ripple in exhibition drill. Dominos fall and that’s it. Yes, it’s a ripple, but nothing else happens. Not very effective for a drill team.

This video is a great illustration of the domino effect, using books.

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However, we are talking about a ripple for a military drill team.

What is a ripple?

For military drill purposes, it is an action that begins at one point and is then repeated along a line of Drillers to another point or points.

Are there Different kinds?

Not necessarily, but variation in a ripple line is very effective. These variations are

  1. Left to Right
  2. Right-to-Left
  3. Center outward (starting at the center and moving out to both ends)
  4. Out-inward (starting at both ends going to the center)
  5. Slow-to-Fast (gradual and immediate)
  6. Fast-to-Slow (gradual and immediate)

How does one go about teaching a team to perform a ripple?

To begin, use a metronome and go slowly. Use a metronome application on your phone, set it to 2/4 (for a tick-tock, high-low, type of beat) and set a slow tempo around 90 BPM (beats per minute). If you need to set it slower, that is not a problem; make sure that everyone is comfortable with the speed, you can always increase it as everyone improves.

The slower tempo allows everyone to begin on a tick or a tock and ensures a solid timing framework from which you can then increase the tempo. Using the metronome is only for creating timing. It is almost impossible to get the metronome going fast and have everyone follow it.Once the team can build speed into the ripple, leave out the metronome and visually get your cue on when to move.

Once the team can build speed into the ripple, leave out the metronome and visually get your cue on when to move. Here is an example: the person to my right (A) is going to go to Right Shoulder and I (B) am going to repeat it and then the person to my left (C) will do the same in a ripple. When A goes to Port, that is my cue to do the same which is C’s cue to move. We all then finish executing Right Shoulder as slowly or as quickly as needed.

When you want a very fast tempo in your ripple, using the analogy above of executing Right Shoulder, instead of waiting for the person to execute Port, my cue will be A’s initial movement of the rifle.

The Combined Drill Teams of the Belarus Military

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The Ross Volunteers of Texas A&M University

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