Organizing a Massing of the Colors Event

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Color Guard, Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard, Instructional, Protocol and Flag Leave a Comment

Massed Colors

Massed colors, but not the type outlined in the Army and Marine drill and ceremonies manuals. These manuals specifically state to not have multiple color guards at a ceremony. One is enough. But, that’s for strictly military formations. Click here for information on a massed colors formation.

Massing of the Colors is an event where multiple color guards from multiple organizations, come together to honor the  flag of the United States of America. Color guards from the US military, first responders, cadet organizations and schools, and scouting programs could represent their unit with a color guard. Click here on the order or precedence for the US military and click here for the order of precedence for first responders.

The Ceremony

Each color guard enters and posts in their designated spot on their own command. These commands are only be loud enough for the team to hear, no one wants a one-man or one-color guard show at a massing of the colors.

The “Color Guard Commander” (CGC), who is not the master of ceremonies, posts at an appropriate place so that all of the color guards hear his commands.

The color guards enter with the CGC and remain at Carry/Right Shoulder. Once everyone is posted, the CGC loudly calls, Present (team commanders echo, Present), ARMS! and all teams render the salute for the Anthem.

CGC gives, Order (team commanders echo, Order), ARMS.

CGC then gives, Parade (team commanders echo either, Parade or Stand at), REST! and all go to Parade Rest or Stand at Ease (whichever the team chooses is fine- stick with your training).

For all commands, the CGC faces the color guards, turns around and salutes, or assumes Parade Rest/Ceremonial at Ease. The CGC could be unarmed, but armed with a sword/saber would be appropriate.

At a certain time during the ceremony, everyone could be called to Attention and Present or just Attention and then back to Order.

At the end of the ceremony, the CGC gives Attention, Carry/Right Shoulder, and each color guard leaves independently.

What is Vocabulary?

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Commentary, Drill Teams, Instructional 1 Comment

Explaining the vocabulary concept to solo exhibition drillers


When speaking in terms of drill and performance, vocabulary deals with the amount of different movements displayed in a routine. For the body there is vocabulary for your feet, the head, arms and hands, and the torso. When armed, vocabulary adds on the manipulation of the piece of equipment (sword/saber, rifle or guidon).

Vocabulary means each individual movement. A set of movements is called a phrase and a phrase can be long or short. When designing a routine you want a good deal of vocabulary and you want long and short phrases. It’s the same with writing: if you have a small vocabulary and use only short sentences or have no variation, the reader is not going to be entertained or informed as well as he or she could be.

Along with vocabulary and long and short phrases, a Driller must use variation. Performing the same move more than once with slight variations increases the displayed vocabulary and keeps the audience active versus the repetition that can bore the audience.

Don’t Sacrifice Excellence

Vocabulary is the “What” of a performance. Excellence is the “How”. To be as effective as possible, you must have a wide vocabulary and a high level of excellence. That being said, you must build that vocabulary and excellence and that is going to take time. There is no overnight success. Hard work, discipline, and a foundational education are key.

DrillMaster's drill team trainingExamples

Let’s look at the presidential honor guard drill teams. In particular, the Silent Drill Platoon (SDP) relies on the least of vocabulary. Their rifle manual is basic movement with slight variations that are specific to the platoon. The entertainment value in this performance is the high level of excellence and also the tricks performed during the company single file front formation where the team’s non-commissioned officer does and “inspection” of two of the team members. The crowd also loves the tradition of the SDP.

The Army and Air Force drill teams have a relatively high vocabulary and the Navy and Coast Guard drill teams have a moderately low vocabulary. Next time when you watch one of these performances see how many different movements or variations of movements you can find.

Appropriate Flag Retirement

DrillMaster Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard, Honor Guard Training Leave a Comment

There is a flag fold technique for the first triangle fold called, Cutting the First Stripe. It’s used for an interment flag that has been used for practice and has been folded and refolded so much that it is a bit stretched out, but still good for practice. This technique “cuts” the stripe in half on that first fold, pictured at left. It has nothing to do with taking a knife or scissors to the flag. For more on inappropriately cutting the American flag, click here.


A tattered or faded American Flag is ready for retirement. Retiring an American flag means to burn it. Some people feel that burning a flag, no matter the situation, is still disrespectful. In the flag retirement situation, nothing could be further from the truth.

Burning and Burning

There is a big difference! Americans, who love their country and flag, do not treat that flag with disrespect. We do not just throw it away in the garbage when it is no longer fit for everyday display. There are exceptions to this with historic tattered flags on display across the country. When the flag is no longer suitable for daily display, we take the flag, fold it into a rectangle, and burn it. Some Americans feel the need to burn our country’s flag because they are unable to form a cogent, coherent argument and need to stand on a corner in front of others and push their disrespectful agenda in the face of others by flying a burning American flag.



Side note: I support freedom of speech and some view burning our flag as just that. I will defend the right of people who want to act irresponsibly and burn our flag. I do not like the action and do not support the attempt to get ones point across in this manner, but I do not have to watch and I can treat flags in my charge with respect and care as I hope you will.

The difference? Respect (for the flag and others) has everything to do with it.

Flag Retirement the Wrong Way


If you cut the stars from the stripes, it’s no longer the American flag and you can then feel better about burning it. I guess that is the illogical reasoning behind this act of initial disrespect to the flag to avoid disrespect to the flag. It doesn’t make sense to cut up the American flag unless it is too big to burn safely. Then, cut it into four pieces. But the Scouts cutting up smaller flags, shown here, is here are wholly unnecessary.


Boy and Girl Scouts and many veteran organizations across the country are practicing this disrespect to our flag. I do not know when or where it started, but it needs to stop right now! We need to educate cadets and Scouts as well as our well-meaning veterans. Recently, I read a reply to my comment on a social media account that stated ‘since a flag company says on their website that it is OK, we are going to cut our flags. The flag company does not make the rules. Congress does and that would be the Flag Code.

Flag Retirement, the Correct Way

When to actually cut the flag: The only time to cut the flag and then burn it is when it is to large to safely burn as a whole. Safety is paramount.

At home, make a fire on your grill. Fold your flag into a rectangle (no, it does not represent a casket) and place it on the fire. A flag folded into a triangle is much more difficult to burn due to all of the folded layers.


In a public ceremony, place the representative flag, folded in a triangle on a very hot fire and follow one of the ceremony guidelines linked below. Burn the rest of the flags eligible for retirement in an incinerator or a roaring fire, preferably not in public.

The National Flag Foundation’s Flag Retirement Ceremony

Click here to read the American Legion’s Unserviceable Flag Retirement Ceremony adopted in 1937.

As you can see, no one has ever advocated cutting the canton (blue field) from the stripes. It is extremely disrespectful to do so and it does not matter what some flag-based website has to say as far as a recommendation. Not even this one. I am providing links to professional guidance set forth by groups with the intention of providing the utmost respect.

Associated article: Disrespect to the American Flag

Training and the Three Styles of Leadership

DrillMaster Color Guard/Color Team, Commentary, Drill Teams, Instructional Leave a Comment

Training Levels. Since I spent my last seven years in the Air Force as a Unit Education and Training Manager (AFSC 3S2), I will use the USAF’s levels. They are applicable to everyone, no matter what task, no matter if you are in the military or not. Our emphasis here is military drill and ceremonies. Featured image from

  • A 3-Skill Level: Apprentice. This equates to first-year cadets after they have gone through their initial training in all regulation drill (RD).
  • A 5-Skill Level: Journeyman. A cadet, (first- and possibly second-year) fully trained in RD, who still needs time and experience.
  • A 7-Skill Level: Craftsman. A cadet (third-fourth-year), fully skilled and capable of leading a color guard and a platoon/flight in RD.
  • A 9-Skill Level: Superintendent. A cadet (third-fourth-year) fully skilled in RD and tasked with maintaining standards while supervising others training new cadets.

Eisenhower on Leadership

Leadership Styles: Directive, Participative & Laissez-Faire. These are the three basic types of leadership. When I first learned about them in AFJROTC in high school (79-83), I thought you picked one and stuck with it, making other people deal with your “selected style”, the style you thought fit with your personality. I soon learned that you are not supposed to do that! You use each one of these styles on a moment-by-moment basis, depending on 1) the situation and 2) the person/people.

On paper (or on screen), it can seem straightforward and even easy, but when you begin applying what you have learned on other people, it can be difficult.

Directive. Also called, Authoritarian. You, as the leader, make all of the decisions and tell your team everything they need to do. This is a punitive leadership style and many people immediately think of that as its only aspect, but there are other reasons to adopt this style.

  1. Time-sensitive project and you do not have time to explain all of the details to your team.
  2. Team member(s) is 3- or 5-Level and still learning.
  3. Used in initial training and then you gradually transition to another style, as appropriate.

Participative. You allow your team to have a say in how tasks are accomplished. you check on their progress occasionally. Some 3-Levels and most, if not all 5-Levels and all 7-Levels. This style is used most often and can lead to Laissez-Faire with some team members needing you to revisit the Directive style.

Laissez-Faire. This means you can allow your team to do what they need to do because you are fully confident that the task can be accomplished effectively. Some 5-Levels and most, if not all 7-Levels and all 9-Levels. Some team members will need you to revisit the Participative style at times.


Reciting the Pledge with a Colors Presentation

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Color Guard/Color Team, Honor Guard, Honor Guard Training, Instructional Leave a Comment

At ceremonies across the country, many local municipalities request a color team from military installations or even first responders. Quite often, music is not available so those gathered recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Please note: the picture of the USAF Honor Guard Color Guard is just used as an example color guard.

Color Guards: In all of the research I’ve accomplished, I cannot find any specific guidance for restricting/requiring a color guard to dip it’s colors for the Pledge of Allegiance. That being said, there are guidelines for departmental colors from each service’s drill and ceremonies, flag, or protocol manuals: departmental colors only dip for the National Anthem, service secretary, and CoS/Cmndnt or higher-ranked individual.

This means Active, Guard, and Reserve military teams do not dip, but the rifles go to Present. The Pledge isn’t a military salute to the flag, per se, but an announcement of one’s faithfulness to the flag and the nation, and since it is about the flag, she deserves Present Arms from the rifle guards because when outdoors and the Pledge is recited, all military render the hand salute.

Please read All About the Color Guard.

First Responders

Does this apply to first responders (who usually carry their state flag as second) and cadets (who carry their program flag as second)? Flags should dip when the crowd recites the Pledge. You are not in the military – but for cadet organizations that represent a military service, this does raise a good question. For now, I suggest dipping.

The Flag Code

4 U.S. Code § 4 – Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform.

(Added Pub. L. 105–225, § 2(a), Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1494; amended Pub. L. 107–293, § 2(a), Nov. 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 2060; Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title V, § 586, Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 777.)

For Individuals: indoors, all military in uniform stand at Attention and face the flag (reciting the Pledge is optional when with a large civilian group*). Outdoors, render the hand salute. When out of uniform, members of the military and veterans stand at Attention or may now salute the flag. Cadets will always recite the Pledge.

*Reason being is that we in the US military took an Oath of Enlistment or Oath of a Commissioned Officer. This oath never expires. We not only pledge our allegiance, but our lives. When in a large group of civilians, it would probably be better to recite the Pledge rather than explain ten times to different people why you stood in silence at Attention.

LE Colors from nba-com

Here is how to do it:

  1. The announcer says something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the presentation [or posting*] of the colors.”
  2. Color team enters as usual and stops centered in front of the audience.
  3. The commander of the color team gives the loud command, “Present, ARMS!”
    1. If the team is military, do not dip your service color for the Pledge, it is only dipped for the National Anthem.
    2. State and other colors dip.
    3. Guards execute Present.
  4. The announcer or a designated person steps up to the microphone and says something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I pledge…”
  5. The commander of the color team gives the command, “Port, ARMS!” and the color team [posts the colors and then] departs.

*Only post the colors for more ceremonial occasions.


That is it. Color team commanders, please do not order the audience to begin, it is not your place.


The Honor and Sword/Saber Cordons

DrillMaster DrillCenter News Leave a Comment

The Cordon

  • Comprised of two squads facing each other.
  • Spacing between members of each squad is usually an arm’s distance.
  • Spacing between each squad of the cordon is a safe enough distance for the VIP to pass in between the squads*.
  • The number of members in each squad depends on the type of cordon.
  • The commander positions centered, behind one squad of the cordon or at the end where the VIP will enter.

*You must ensure that if the VIP(s) will walk through in twos, side-by-side, there is enough space to safely do so.

Members of a cordon are sometimes unarmed, armed with rifles, or armed with a sword or saber. When armed with a sword or saber, there are specific commands and techniques that are used for each service. The cordon members form what is commonly called the “Arch of Steel” for VIPs and the bride and groom to walk through.

Note: in a joint service situation, where cordon members are from different military branches, the senior service technique is followed, no exceptions. Click here to read about Joint Service Order. Here is an example of cordon precedence for military and first responders.

Arrival Honor Cordon

Dress rehearsal for an arrival ceremony honor cordon on Kadena Air Base flight line

The Honor Cordon

Performed with unarmed (in a church, for example), with rifles, but never with swords or sabers (a properly executed sword salute presents a tripping hazard for the VIPs.

This cordon recognizes VIPs for an arrival or departure ceremony. An official cordon performed by members of the US military must follow the the size requirements outlined by the DoD:

  • POTUS/Former POTUS, 21 members
  • VP, SecDef, Service Secretaries, Chair of JCoS, Chiefs of Staff and Cmndnts of MC & CG, 19 members
  • 4-Star General/Admiral, 17 members
  • 3-Star General/Admiral, 15 members
  • 2-Star General/Admiral, 13 members
  • 1-Star General/Admiral, 11 members

The odd number is in line with the gun salute for the dignitary and represents an even number of cordon members with a commander.

Similarly for first responders and others at the state, county, and city level, honor cordons could be created with a team compliment of nine. The following paragraph is a quote from the November 2016 memorandum on Revised DoD Order of Precedence:

“When dealing with the United States precedence, there are several general rules which always hold true and which may differ from what one would assume the order of precedence to be. First, no one outranks a governor in his own state except the President or Vice President of the United States. Secondly, no one outranks a mayor in his own city or town or the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in his own county except the Governor of the state or the President or Vice President of the United States.”

In the image above, you have an example of an arrival at a building. Note that there is not only a cordon, but four door openers. The door openers at the building are in line with the cordon- this may mean that they have to take a large step forward in order to grasp the handle, come to Attention in line with the armed cordon members, and render the hand salute. Note: the door opener with only his left hand free, does not salute. Click here to read about saluting and the left-hand salute.


The Navy’s Side Boys

The custom of using Side Boys, the shipboard honor cordon, to welcome a visiting dignitary or officer aboard a military vessel had a real purpose at one time. Side Boys are two, four, six, or eight Marines and/or Sailors lining both sides of the gangplank or on the quarterdeck in a ceremony now known as Tending the Side. The number of in the cordon is based on the rank of the officer visiting the vessel: two members for ensigns and LTs, up to eight members for admirals.

This system originally served a utilitarian purpose in the British Navy as early as the 17th century. Back then, men did not have the luxury of walking onto their ships: most had to transfer from a small boat to the larger ship by ladder, or by a device called a Boatswain’s Chair, which was essentially a seat attached to a yardarm by a block and tackle.

Here is where the relevance of increasing numbers in the cordon comes in: the younger and less rank you had, most likely, the lighter you were. Thus, a light midshipman or LT needed only two men on the haul rope, while an often very stout Admiral, with a forty-year career, tended to need eight men to pull them up.

Additional jobs, such as steadying the officer after getting them to the deck, and helping with the officer’s luggage, also necessitated a required number of hands.


This is an excellent opportunity to use the 5-foot ceremonial pike pole!



The Sequence of Events

Dress Center- looking for the marks to obtain visual alignment

The cordon forms up (tallest toward the VIP’s entrance) well before ceremony and performs at least one dry run, is then dismissed to change into the ceremonial uniform. At least ten minutes before the ceremony:

  1. Cordon forms up and marches at Port to its marks.
  2. Once at the site, the cordon members pick up an automatic Mark Time.
  3. The commander gives Cordon, HALT; Center FACE; Dress Center, DRESS; Ready, TWO; Ready, FRONT:* and Stand at, EASE (or Parade, REST).
  4. The commander should remain at Attention and, when the VIP arrives, give, Cordon, ATTENTION; Present, ARMS.
  5. After the VIP passes through completely, the commander gives, Order, ARMS; Ready, FACE (face toward departure direction), Port, ARMS; Forward, MARCH. The team then marches off to their transportation.

*Guidance for the dressing sequence (accomplished visually):

  1. Dress Center, DRESS– All heads drop so that all members reposition to their marks. If no literal marks, squad members will align their feet directly across from each other using the squad on the marching right (before the Center, FACE) as the guide.
  2. Ready, TWO– All member’s heads snap to the direction from which the VIPs enter the cordon or, if there is a structure that can be sued for alignment (e.g. a door frame) you can also dress to that. Here, all members ensure that their shoulders are aligned be only moving front/backward.
  3. Ready, FRONT– All heads snap back to Attention.

The Sword/Saber Cordon (Swords/Sabers)

The standard compliment for this cordon in nine members; eight with swords/sabers and one to command. Location logistics and manning may play a part in how many are actually in the cordon. The minimum would be four.

The sword/saber is an extension of the right arm and should not take another angle from the arm’s 45-degree angle from the ground. When using a saber (sabers are curved, swords are straight), the curve and sharper side of the blade face up. Swords/sabers do not necessarily have to cross each other to form an “X”. Remember, the squads should be far enough away from each other to allow the VIPs to pass through comfortably, which means the sword tips might look as though they meet when viewed from the front or rear of the formation.

Welcoming the bride. There are two different traditions for the Arch of Steel:

  1. If the cordon is in the chapel, as soon as the bride and groom turn around the first two swords are lowered and the couple kisses, and the swords are raised allowing the couple to proceed through the cordon. This is repeated for each set of swords and can take a considerable amount of time.
  2. Only the last two swords are lowered and the couple is in the middle of both swords, they kiss, the bride receives the “Welcome”, and the swords are then raised. Can save quite a bit of time

The “Welcome” comes when the couple has passed through the cordon as described above. The bride and groom stop just past the last two cordon members and the member closest to the bride taps her on her backside and says, “Welcome to the [insert service]!”, and assumes Attention.

Army/Air Force Technique

Only NCOs and officers may perform this ceremony, junior enlisted are not authorized. The sword/saber is not worn, no belts, only carried.

  1. Cordon forms up and marches to its marks.
  2. Once at the site, the cordon members pick up an automatic Mark Time.
  3. The commander gives Cordon, HALT; Center FACE; Dress Center, DRESS; Ready, TWO; Ready, FRONT:* and Stand at, EASE (or Parade, REST).
  4. The commander should remain at Attention and, when the VIPs/bride and groom arrive, give, Cordon, ATTENTION; Form, ARCH.
  5. After the VIPs/bride and groom pass through completely, the commander gives, Order, ARCH; Ready, FACE (face toward departure direction), Port, ARMS; Forward, MARCH, Halt; Dismissed.

Attention (Order, ARCH) and two views of Form, ARCH

Please note: no other position is authorized except what is pictured here, above. The sword/saber cordon does not use the standard manual of arms.

Marine Corps/Navy/Coast Guard Technique

Only NCOs and officers may perform this ceremony, junior enlisted are not authorized.

Navy/Coast Guard:

Can use the Army/AF sequence above, or the Marine sequence below.

Marines: Are required to be rigged per MCO 5060.2.

  1. Enter at Order (sword in the scabbard).
  2. March into place and align.
  3. At moment required to form the Arch, give Attention; Draw, SWORD (at this point, DO NOT return the sword to Carry at the side, leave it pointed up at a 45-degree angle with the arm fully extended).
  4. When the VIP is through the cordon or after welcoming the bride and all have cleared the cordon, the commander gives, Return, SWORD; Ready, FACE, Forward, MARCH; exit at Order (sword in the scabbard)
  5. Halt; Dismissed.

What is “Color Guard Exhibition Drill”?

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Color Guard/Color Team, Commentary, Honor Guard, Instructional Leave a Comment

So what exactly is is “Color Guard Exhibition Drill (XD)”?

In a nutshell, it is disrespect to the American Flag. There is absolutely no way that a color team should ever execute any kind of movement other than what is described in their service manual. Period. Rifle spins, fancy steps, even creating some sort of “beat” when performing Sling Arms/Tighten Slings (I saw it while I attended a competition in Germany) should never be accomplished. Again, period. I even find the half-step-stomp and yelling out cadence for color teams unprofessional.

I am all for thinking “outside the box” when it comes to XD for soloists and drill teams and I even created the World Drill Association’s Open Color Team and Open Regulation Drill where teams create their own sequences to use the drill pad and time most effectively- this brings Composition Analysis into Regulation Drill. However, these Open phases for the WDA are only for rearranging regulation drill commands and moves. In no way should it be interpreted that this means there is a free-for-all on the regulation drill pad.

Some drill teams have a difficult time switching from RD to XD when it comes to style- mainly feet and arms in most cases. But there is zero room for any kind of XD move when it comes to colors. When on a color team, the team should act with the utmost professionalism at all times.

Image courtesy

New Leader Syndrome

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Instructional 2 Comments

Yes, it’s true, there is a plague that spreads about this time every year among many schools’ JROTC programs: the new leadership for the unit is being picked and the old leadership is getting ready to graduate. Here is the question I get most often at the end of each school year:

“I’m going to be the new (Armed/Unarmed Drill Team, Color Guard, Honor Guard) commander next year and the graduating leadership was less than desirable (or, never wrote anything down, etc.). Do you have any advice for me?”

Thanks to my friend Austin Reid, I was prompted to write about this serious condition. The answer is “YES! I have some great advice!”

  1. Mandatory: Start conditioning your mind and body so you can come in fresh from the summer ready to tackle the challenges of your new position.
    • Mind: Know your service’s drill and ceremonies manual like the back of your hand. Read it again and again. Know everything there is to know about it, everything. And when someone asks you a question and you cannot remember specifically, NEVER just go off memory, double check with the manual, always.
    • Body: Cardio and strength training exercise along with good stretching. Do you have to be the next Mr. or Mrs. Universe? No, of course not. But daily exercise is very good for you and, believe me, when you get older you will appreciate keeping a good regimen.
  2. Optional: Read other materials that will help you in your new position like, say (you didn’t expect me to leave my own books out of this, did you?):

So, there you have it: Education and conditioning are two of the keys to leadership.

The other keys are temperance, a cool head, patience,care, etc.

Eight Things Every Driller Needs

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Commentary, Drill Teams, Instructional Leave a Comment

Drill Team TrainingDrill Team Training
Alice Cooper sang, “School’s Out For Summer!” back when I was growing up and it is still the same- students across America look forward to those great summer months of NO SCHOOL! Some students get jobs, vacation with family, march in a drum and bugle corps and many other activities. What will you do? Sit around on the couch playing video games eating peanut butter out of the jar? The peanut butter is good for you, but the sitting around isn’t, especially if you are a Driller.

GET UP. Go outside and after you finish your chores, practice. Every day for an hour except on weekends (or whatever similar schedule works for you- just take a break each week for a couple days). Take a break from practicing about once a month or so for about 3 additional days. Do something else and don’t drill. Don’t saturate yourself in drill every waking moment, you need to have something else to do, some other hobby or even work.

If you are a Driller, armed or unarmed, you need the following:

  1. Strength
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Experience
  4. Speed
  5. Agility
  6. Stamina
  7. Knowledge
  8. Precision


Every Driller (every person, for that matter) should develop a solid core (abs, sides, chest, upper and lower back). Your trunk is where movement begins and f it is not solid, you won’t be able to do what you want or look as sharp. Your arms and legs need to be able to support you and also execute the movements you require in your routine.


You need both types: Equipment and Body (if you are an unarmed Driller= just body). Movement should be explored to its fullest and when you perform and constantly repeat the same movements, it makes for a lifeless routine. The more movements you know and perfect, the bigger your vocabulary. On a side note: the wider your vocabulary, the better you can be at making things up on the spot, but that also takes experience.


You need to perform for people. Anyone who will watch you, then go perform! There are probably some civic and veteran organizations that meet weekly or monthly. Call and ask if you can perform for them. They will love it, trust me, and you will get some experience and start relaxing in front of an audience.


Tempo variations are a must in any kind of performance; you need to have fast (think: Sam Gozo) and slow (think: some Hawaiian drill routine moments) movement mastered.


You need to articulate you movement and you need to move efficiently. If you do not have body and equipment agility, you are not able to articulate which means you are not communicating your movement clearly/effectively.


Can you perform your routine from stat to finish and not look out of breath? No? Then start practicing your routine back-to-back. Running is also good. Don’t write your routine so that easier movement is toward the end so you can relax a little, gain stamina and push through!


Drillers need to be aware of routine construction, highs and lows, the “what” and “how” of a performance, and so much more. Go here and read, read, read. Then, apply what you read.


Exactness is paramount. If you are a soloist, you will need consistency (the same style over time). If you are part of a team, you will not only need consistency, but also uniform (at a single moment) in your movement.