One of the things I really did not like about Basic Training was my TI and/or DI yelling things like, “You look like trees in the wind!” “Stop be-bopping!” But, in Basic, there is not time for the “why” of what does not work. I’m going to explain the “why.”
“Stop be-bopping” is regarding vertical movement when marching and the “trees in the wind” comment has to do with beginning to march from the position of Attention when a flight or platoon leans into the first step because the Drillers know no other way.
I’ll address “be-bopping” in another article, but right now, let’s look at stopping the “trees in the wind.”
When I train others I start from the very beginning:
- Standing Manual
- First Step
- Marching Technique
Standing Manual: For more info on the complete honor guard (veteran, military, first responder) Standing Manual, see The Honor Guard Manual.
First Step: This is the isolated term I began using when working with Vanden High School (Fairfield, CA) Marching Band and continued to use when we moved to Germany and I was an instructor with the Spangdahlem Air Base Honor Guard.
I say “isolated” because the military drill world, as a whole, hasn’t considered this one small movement that has so much impact on a Driller, team and performance.
- Stand at Attention using either Method.
- Push down with the right heel while you- lift the left foot to bring it forward (see Force picture at right).
- Stop when you are on your right platform (ball of the foot across to the little toe) and left heel; your center of balance should be exactly between each foot with your body centered over it (see First Step picture above).
- Balance there for a moment (good balance training) to help muscle memory.
- Go back to Attention.
- Repeat as necessary and then begin this exercise: march a few steps, halt, march a few steps, halt.
Marching Technique: That’s another article!