Walking is a formal way of walking that requires a steady cadence and rhythm. In this article, you will learn to march properly and efficiently.
Part 1 of 2: Individual Gait Techniques
Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the gait rules you need to follow
The Army, Navy, Air Force, fanfare bands, and parades may have slightly different rules when it comes to marching, united order, and honors. However, there are basic rules that apply in any case.
Step 2. The gait starts in the forward position
In this position, the feet form an angle of approximately 45°, with the heels together. Maintain an upright posture and look straight ahead. The hands rest at the sides of the body, with the palms slightly bent (instead of clenching your fists, let them feel as if you were holding a bag or small purse).
Step 3. Wait for the warning and command voices before starting to march
In the most common command, "forward, march", "forward" is the warning voice, which gives the soldier a break to wait for the command voice, "marche". As soon as the voice of command is announced, start marching - that's what the other soldiers will do!
Step 4. Start with the left foot
With the proper attire, you will be able to hear the heels of other soldiers tapping the ground; you can use this sound as a reference so as not to disrespect the cadence.
Step 5. Move your arms naturally when marching
The fingers should be flexed against the palms, without interfering with the movement of the arms. Don't leave them immobile at your side, but don't make too many exaggerated movements.
- The US Army requires the hands to move 9 inches forward and 6 inches back with each step.
- In the US Navy and Air Force, the hands must travel 6 inches forward and 7 cm backward with each step.
Step 6. Maintain military posture, pose, and rigor
Every movement must be precise and energetic. Walk with your head up and with a proud expression. The gaze must always be turned to the front. Do not turn your head left or right.
Step 7. Use peripheral vision to line up with soldiers in front of you and to your right
Try to keep yourself at the same distance from them (usually arm's length) throughout the gait.
Step 8. March until order to cease
Stop the march by taking another step with your left foot after the execution voice is announced; finally, place your right foot alongside your left to assume the position of attention.
Part 2 of 2: Obeying Orders while on the march
Step 1. Know how to respond to commands before and after riding
You will hear them before and after marching or when entering and exiting formation.
- "Fit": Soldiers are in formation and stand at attention.
- "Dismissed": turn right and walk three steps.
- "Sense": Assume the position of sense - keep your posture upright, look straight ahead and don't move.
- "Rest": the soldier does not need to be in such a rigid position. He is allowed to make discreet movements and talk as long as his right foot remains flat on the floor.
Step 2. Start or stop gear when commanded
Pay attention to them - as soon as you hear the command, start (or stop) the march so you don't clash with the rest of the platoon!
- "Forward, MARCH": Start the march! Start with the left foot. Each step should be a standard size - about 75 cm in the Army and Navy or 60 cm in the Air Force - and be performed 120 times per minute.
- "Company/Platoon/Squadron/Class, ALTO" or, in the Air Forces, "Wing/Group/Squadron/Platoon, ALTO": stop the march. The "high" command can be given either during the left or right step; therefore, in order not to bump into another soldier, start preparing to stop the march as soon as you hear the warning voice.
Step 3. Understand the orders the commander can issue during the march
He may request other walking or gait variations.
- "Get the step right": the components must adjust the distances from each other so as to assume the proper formation for the type of gait.
- "Road step, MARCH": normal walk, without cadence. This type of march is used outside the barracks when you want the squad not to make the rhythmic sound of the march.
- "Expand, MARCH": Increase the distance in relation to soldiers close to you.
- "Close, MARCH": reduce the distance to the soldiers next to you.
- "Set pace": march without leaving your seat. Use the same pace as you would in regular gait, but tapping your foot in the same place instead of moving it forward.
- "Half step, MARCH": march at half step (approximately 40 cm). In some cases, it is necessary to lift the leg more than usual when walking so that the thigh is parallel to the floor.
- "Accelerated pace, MARCH": Double the pace of the ordinary cadence - somewhere between 100 and 180 steps per minute. Try to follow the rhythm of the soldiers around you.
Step 4. Go around at the same time as the other soldiers when you hear a command back
All elements of the training must change direction quickly and at the same time.
- "RIGHT, TURN": in sync with the other soldiers in the formation, turn right 90º and continue marching.
- "Step right, MARCH": when you hear the command, start taking side steps to the right. Go in the opposite direction if the command is "step left, MARCH".
- "Half turn, TURN": make a 180º turn while walking.
Step 5. When you hear a command for your spine, perform the movement only when the time is right
This type of command is useful when the column needs to dodge an obstacle, such as a tree. If you are the head (that is, first in line), you must obey the command as soon as you hear it; the people behind you must obey you when they reach where you were when the order was dispensed.
- "Column: right, [voice announced in right step] VOLVER": The head of the column makes a 90º turn to the right, and the following members do the same as they reach the position they were in when the command was dismissed.
- "Column: right eighth, [voice announced in right step] VOLVER": the head of the column makes a 45º turn to the right, followed by the other members.
- "Column: left eighth, VOLVER": the head of the column makes a 45º turn to the left, followed by the other members.
- To get better and better, practice when possible. Marching is tricky at first and keeping pace with the pack is difficult, especially if you've never played team sports.
- When practicing, it is recommended to stretch your muscles before and after walking. During the march, the soldier must maintain an upright posture and take precise steps for many hours, so stretching is a way to avoid cramping.
- Always remember the heel strike and the gait cadence. Having a sense of rhythm will help you stay in training.
- Marches and parades are activities taken very seriously by those who practice them, so be committed. Do not talk to other soldiers unless you are in a resting position. Maintain a posture and attitude appropriate to the organization you represent.
- Voices and commands vary by country or corporation. Make sure the instructions given in this article are compatible with the rules you need to abide by.
- Do not force your knees while standing at attention. This compromises your balance, and if you stay like this for too long, you may even pass out. Relax your knees, but keep your legs straight enough to respect military rigor.