What is A-A and A-B Drill?

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Why do you need to know this?

The more you know about the concepts of exhibition drill, the better you will be in designing a routine. This article is about A-A and A-B drill. It can be applied to both marching, body work (unarmed exhibition drill), and rifle work.

In the following descriptions I use the term Group to mean an individual, a squad, a rank, a portion of a squad, etc. Grouping is broken down like this (not complete):

  1. Grouping by squad
  2. Grouping by rank
  3. Grouping by group
  4. Grouping by Individuals

A-A Drill

This is marching/work that is the same for each group. In the example above, even the Bs would perform the same thing either at the same time (Simultaneous A-A) or in sequence (Staggered or Ripple A-A). Simultaneous A-A is the whole team doing the same thing at the same time. An example of Staggered/Ripple A-A would be the classic marching move Jones Sequence that was created in the late 1950s. The move is executed by squads (imagine a team with four squads). On the command March, fourth squad executes: To the Rear, Left Flank, Right Flank, and To the Rear, and continues to march. On the next left step after fourth squad executes the To the Rear, 3rd squad performs the same sequence. Second and 1st follow on subsequent left steps in sequence. Jones Sequence can also be performed by ranks beginning with the last rank and progressing up to the first.

A-B Drill

This is marching/work that is different for each group and is the same number of counts. Usually, simultaneous A-B work is the most effective. However, Staggered A-B can be effective. Staggered A-B happens when one group stops while the other performs.

Here is an example of both:

Below is an example of a relatively new method for exhibition drill, called Hybrid Exhibition Drill. Hybrid Drill incorporates armed and unarmed drill simultaneously. Most likely created by Paul Naki of the King’s Guard (HI) around 2018, this strange and yet incredible style is now it’s own subcategory under exhibition drill along with Ceremonial Exhibition Drill (service drill teams), Scholastic Exhibition Drill (school-based teams), and Independent Exhibition Drill (mostly solo and tandem work created by post-high school Drillers). Any further development of Hybrid Exhibition Drill is going to be well thought out and quite complex in order to make a lasting positive impact on the activity and the audience.

In this video you can see some A-A and A-B sequences. The A-A sequences are not strictly A-A since there are two Drillers and only one rifle. However, when you see the performance you will understand how both techniques (A-A and A-B) are applied.

Other types?

Is there A-B-C or other versions? Sure. As many groups as you have, you can create a sequence of moves but this can get complicated. For example, a grouping by squad for a team with 3 or 4 squads, and having a separate sequence for each squad for simultaneous performance may just be confusing for your audience.

What next?

If you are new to writing exhibition drill, use the Boxes of Three Method I developed as a basis for your creativity. Start with that as a benchmark and develop your own moves and/or A-A or A-B work. Click here to learn more about writing exhibition drill.

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