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How to Write Exhibition Drill: The “Boxes of Three” Method

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drill team traiing: XD Cover 2AExhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team

The First DrillMaster Book for Drill Team Training: Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team

How to Write Exhibition Drill (XD): The “Boxes of Three” Method

When beginning any task it is always best to go from simple to difficult, even when writing drill. “But, my team already knows ‘difficult moves!” I hear you exclaim. No problem, you can still use these moves because they easily fit into a parade routine (long road that may not be very wide) and also an XD routine since you want to show the audience and judges that you have a wide ranging vocabulary of moves (along with foot/body work and also equipment work- yep, that’s three different vocabularies!).

What exactly is a “Box of Three? Beginning on either foot, take 3 steps forward, flank (pivot) to your right or left, depending on which foot you began, take three steps, pivot, three steps, pivot, thee steps and a final pivot. You just marched in a square and are back where you started. Add another person to either side and/or front or back, have everyone begin on the same foot and have them flank in the opposite direction either just before or after you flank, repeat the whole process of making a box as stated before, and you’ve just marched the move called Blackout which was first developed back in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Blackout uses 1s and 2s, actually, black and white, not numbers. I learned it back in 1979 as black and white, I substituted numbers due to some people only seeing negative when color is used to identify positioning. The team looks like this for Blackout:

1     2     1     2

2     1     2     1

1     2     1     2

2     1     2     1

The 1s go to the left and 2s go to the right all making boxes of three with flanks in between. I don’t count the flanks as steps,it seems easier to teach that way. If a commander position was marched, the commander would be to the left of the team, centered about three steps away- in this case the diagram above is marching “up”; the squad leaders are in the top rank. The command, Blackout, March, is called on 2 consecutive left steps.

That’s the basic idea, now you can put variation in there while still marching the same boxes of three:

  • Squads/Elements: the outer squads flank outward while the second squad marches forward, (To the) Rear March, X steps, (To the) Rear March; third squad executes (To the) Rear March immediately, X steps, (To the) Rear March.*
  • Ranks: first and third go right, second and fourth go left and when finished reverse the directions.
  • Groups: using our diagram of 16 members above, each group of 4 on each corner can march a different box of three.

*The “X” above is a certain number of steps that you can figure out. The total steps are 13.

All of these moves, including all of the steps required, are written out for you in my first book, Exhibition Drill for the Military Drill Team.

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