Take a partner and stand first face to face and have him reach to touch you using a hand or foot or anything else and you work to not be there and then confirm with your partner that you knew where he or she were going for. Repeat this a few times and switch roles. Do this drill facing the same direction and then facing different directions and remember to move out of the contact and keep moving so you avoid becoming a drum that sounds only when hit. This is a simple drill to learn to read people and to learn not to force your perception on reality and simply move and keep moving.
Take a repetitive action you do such as sharpening a blade on a stone or simply bouncing a ball against the wall and repeat the action 100 times. The drill is not the movement but avoiding getting lost in the movement. Let your breath lead the movement and make each of the movements an action you create rather than follow. It will be tempting to create a rhythm and follow it but habits are masters in the guise of friends and your freedom will not be found in a one time rhythm but in creating each moment free from the drift of others.
This solo drill takes about half an hour and involves a zip of water. Fill your mouth to the lower lip level with water and start walking. Breath in through the nose and exhale as best as you can through the mouth. From time to time stop and squat down and look around (Do this drill outside) after you check out your environment from all directions and from different angles continue. When you finish drink or discard what was once just water and enjoy the feeling of your mouth liberated. You will notice patience and a relaxed but aware jaw will serve you better when impact comes along. Check it for yourself and find your way.
Changing environment drills:
1 Take your rifle and LBE and crawl under your Jeep or whatever vehicles you may have. If you get stuck under, learn to remove and change the gear around you and learn to make your world more than your immediate environment (look around you and note the people and other things you can hear and see and smell from down under) Progress to pushing and rolling a partner under the vehicle while minding the environment and than going under and having a partner move around the vehicle as you strive to reach him with your partner. This will force you to think more than one step ahead and teach patience. Progress to breathing passes: you are supplied with X breaths to move under the vehicle with your kit or with your kit and partner and every time you take one breath away… Another way to learn to move well and to avoid getting exited is to have a partner tell you at random to hold your breath and complete the drill. Progress to closing your eyes and doing the drill while orienting toward a specific sound or scent ( a can with burning gasoline for example, I am sure you will explain this to your commander before you perform the drill) Progress to having people cover the exits from under the vehicle and you have to exit while they use their rifles with measure to push you back under.
2. Close your eyes and turn in place while holding your breath until you cannot hold your breath anymore. Compose yourself using swift intake through the nose and sharp but longer exhale through the mouth. Now have your partner direct you by sound to the vehicle where you need to enter and exit through the other side (or other exit if no other side exists) when you do this drill you focus on making the least amount of noise to learn to pay attention to every surface and to every joint not just in you but in your contact and surroundings. Progress to moving over your vehicle with your rifle and LBE and here have a partner throw light rocks at you so you learn about silhouette and it’s manipulation. Focus here first on what you see from different vantage points and than on what others can see and in your head know how you are visible from different angles.
3. Have the vehicle drive slowly and you move from opening to opening in your gear to dry fire at whatever you recognize. Use breath counting to stay within yourself and know when you tense up. Have the driver stop from time to time and you then freeze for 60 breaths to learn how you can clean your movement and how to better use the surroundings. Progress to working with eyes closed inside the vehicle with people outside throwing light rocks at you and you move within to dry fire at them. Have a few straps tied inside so a partner can pull on them as you move to allow you to avoid becoming fixed or ritualistic. Progress to having one partner sit in the vehicle and you take him out and look for wounds on him. Do this using a dropping breath count and add closed eyes and duct tape and strings and most of all stiffening and grabbing in your partner to learn to stay relaxed even if a contact is slightly burned or dazed and does not recognize you for the saint you are. Have your partner also grab you and refuse to let go and learn to dry fire and move under this situation and also to use your rifle as a stick or lever to pry him from you once you are not in direct fire.
4. Stand a few steps from your partner and throw your checked rifle from one to the other. First do this while standing and than while sitting and than laying down. Talk during the drill because many times people are separating movement and talking to two different actions and you need to clean this out so you can direct communicate and fire at the same time. Progress to throwing and catching using just one hand at a time (using just your left hand or just your right) and than to catching the rifle with the crooks of the body alone ( for example pressing the rifle with your right forearm to your chest as you move away from the straight trajectory throw) Progress to sticking a ripe piece of meat or something else of a disgusting nature to the end of the barrel and attacking first walking and than running your partners, Use your body to clean the path and your arms and legs to continue the path and adding to it (for example if there is a stick covered with grease stuck at the barrel I move to avoid it and as I turn with my entire body my shoulder rolls to allow my forearm to come up with no tension and my hand first slides and than adds downward movement to the underside of the barrel while my other forearm adds elevation to the soft part of his throat and he loses sight of his rifle which makes separating it from him all the easier, Remember out of sight is not out of range and a loaded rifle dropped can still kill or alert others of your lack or awareness)
5 Have a partner hide over a hill or a Long hut and have him remove a piece of the environment part by part. Monitor and pay attention to what you don’t see or hear. For example if a tree is lacking birds than perhaps someone is sitting under it, If a car has no cats sleeping on the hood than perhaps it is too hot or not at all, if a branch rustles you still have to breath. Focus on your breath and use this eye drill. Connect two things that fixed your attention like a tree and a rock and divide the distance between them by three. Dry fire to the two spots in between and than progress to going deeper 7 times between the spots or lines you just drew in your mind. Repeat the drill at night and note how light and shade create lines which do not exist. Use this drill and shifting your location and turning to clean yourself of this allusion and soon you will be more comfortable with less imaginary friends at night.
6 Do a backwards drill. Enter a vehicle with your head or legs first, get out of bed with your hands and than your legs and most importantly do a tactical drill from the end to the beginning. Start with you and your partners post making sure the contact is either secure ,broke contact or decomposing and move back from there to being just injured or out of bullets and work back and forth from there, descend to adding more distance and people to the contact side, descend to not really knowing which threat or where it or they are. Descent to sitting all in the vehicle with your gear on and one of you is napping and his rifle is secured with a strap to the vehicle and not free to work with, descent to having a partner not show up in time to the cleaning pit and learn to run the drill both ways learning to clean out the only linear thinking and perception. This very annoying way will teach you to avoid counting your cards with half a deck and to see rather than look.
7. Draw two lines about half a mile apart and have all your partners stand or sit at one line and one at a time you have to crawl roll drive or in any other way pass the distance unnoticed. You can use someone else’s clothes or vehicle, you can crawl in a ditch or climb and slither atop a long hut, you can start a small fire in an abandoned storage (safety comes first ..) and simply walk in place sight and learn to be inventive and creative in cleaning the ground. Use the sun to your advantage it is the biggest flashlight you will ever see and remember that noise travels slower than gossip so if someone not involved sees you rest assured it will pass forward in the same way a stray dog can alert an entire village even if it is not dining there.
8. Use artificial light or fire at night to turn off your eyes night vision and allow them to adjust again while you work to complete different tasks as tying ropes together or any of the drills that count for you. Repeat the drill a few times and learn to depend less on just on sense and to avoid tensing and freezing when your conditions change. Do the same drill with loud noise at the range or during one or more live fire drills but keep this to a minimum as too much exposure will damage your hearing sense.
9. Close your eyes and have a partner make a constant noise using a radio or anything else. Follow the noise with your rifle aim and whenever he stops the noise you get one breath time to open your eyes and dry fire at the partner or another target he may be introducing by his movement. Repeat this drill a few times and than change it to giving you one breath time by making a sound and than use your honesty to help your partner learn to move with less noise by dry firing at him only when he makes noise as he completes different tasks as firing himself at you (when you fire you let others know where you are to some extent and you need to recognize this) or clearing a wounded partner from the drill area.
10. Have a friend work to surprise you once or more a day for a week and than you do the same for him. work to keep breathing and to learn how you were not paying attention. Remember that surprise can account to locking the shower door from outside and waiting for you to become angry or simply jumping you during a debrief from a fire drill when you think things are over and it is time to catch on some much needed sleep.
Here is a list by category for infantry soldiers:
Basics of movement:
1. Slow walking (a step means to move all of your body and not just moving your mass from one leg to another, both legs should be under you for you to move freely) giving each step 60 breaths and giving it at least 4 steps at a time. First forward than backwards than turning. Doing this drill will teach you what you are doing and force you to pay attention and clean your movement.
2. Sit down and get up (inhale or exhale start the movement and not movement initiates the breath): First bare feet and with your hands over your head then with hands folded behind your back then while aiming your rifle or handgun then with your boots then with your battle vest (however you call where you put your water and magazines) then with your helmet then with your backpack then with eyes closed then with no knees touching the ground then while holding your breath then with partner on shoulders.
This drill will allow you to stay mostly injury free if done well and everyday. Remember smooth is swift so keep moving and if you feel you made a mistake relish it because you just learned something. Avoid zeroing your movement and work from the tight spot you placed yourself into. This way you will learn more about humility and about both knowing what to do and what to do when you forget to pay attention.
3 Dry firing: about ¾ of your shooting should be dry and the slower you do it the faster you will progress with maneuverability and accuracy. Practice as in drill number one to get the first shot out in 60 breaths and you will notice how you can move better and how you tense up. Freeze once you let out the shot and wait another 60 breaths. Notice where you get tensed up and let the extra tension you created out using swift exhales and shorter inhales. Relax your mind doing a static push up while holding your breath after an exhale to your limit and again note how it felt. When you will be shot it will be harder but not as hard if you don’t do this drill. You must learn different ways to relax because your breath may become short from stabs or altitude, your body may become frozen from cold or impact your spirit will never let you down unless you give up. Crying is not bad if you consider the alternative.
4 The 4 basics in this fashion: (one repetition on the inhale, one on the exhale and one with breath holding after the exhale) basically you do one push up on an inhale than one on the exhale and than one after you exhaled with no air. Than you progress to doing two push ups during one smooth inhale and two push ups during one smooth exhale and so on. After you do push ups you do straight back sit ups than leg raises overhead than squats with you back perpendicular to the ground. (In the squats lower yourself only as much it is possible with your knees and feet aligned and your back straight, again honesty with some awareness will get you where you want to go faster than pushing yourself, effort not in place is added tension to your systems)
5. Walking the square: One step on the inhale, one step on the pause, one step on the exhale and again one on the pause. Let the breath lead the movement and only move to two steps per smooth inhale once it is two easy to do. Remember to listen to your body and to work with what you have at any given moment. This drill will feel different after eating or after a long nights sleep. It will give you a chance to clear your head if you carry it long enough and that is just as important to your survival as anything else.
6 Crawling: Getting from A to B is fun walking or running (I am not serious about the running being fun) but sometimes people are shooting at you or even worse already shot you and than you have to move from A to B. Start with just your clothes and your hands behind your back. This will teach you that your legs are there to move your body and your hands you should keep to the delicate work of shooting those nice people on the other side and trembling hands make you a bad shot and a known location shot. Next crawl with your rifle alone not touching the ground but as close to it as possible. Next crawl with your rifle and vest while trying to make as little noise and dust as possible. Next crawl on your back (for example uphill while watching the patrol rear) and aiming you rifle. Next crawl forward and around obstacles with all your gear. Next crawl with one hand pressed to any point in your face or body. Once you are hit you may want to close the open piping and lessen the contamination while getting away or trying to help someone who is more badly hurt than you. It may even seem painless when someone else is hurt more than you. Don’t feel guilty, you are there to stay alive and getting the job done is never all your responsibility. Some times things simply don’t happen the way we want them to and accepting that simple fact allows us greater leverage in changing those things. Next crawl with your eyes closed toward a destination and every 60 breaths open one eye to see how you are doing. Night time and head injuries can easily make people into baggage. Avoid that possibility by reminding yourself that god can make the sun stop in its movement and he is on your side.
7 Pray: You don’t have to share your thoughts and fears with anyone in particular but addressing the greater picture and being humble will be very helpful when simple things go wrong like a canceled vacation or a broken canteen when you are in need of it. There is nothing that can break you faster than your own vanity and your friend will appreciate this even if they laugh.
8 once in a while go without sleep for a night or two. Continue to do your daily chores and work and note the affect this has on your mood your body and your perception of events. Sleep and read your notes every time you do this drill. It will come in handy soon enough.
9 Learn to pay attention to directions and headings. Note the local map and try to know your direction and general location at least a few times a day. Doing a small navigation drill every day using a compass and map even if you are walking 200 meters south and than turning to heading 330 and advancing another 100 meters and checking if you are where you are supposed to be will do you a world of good.
10 Work to do all your drills at night as well as during the day. Comfort comes from within and you need to find yourself in the dark as well. A small flashlight is great but not when the fire is in your direction and a soldier who cannot walk and fire silently and effectively at night is in a disadvantage over most third world children. Think about it and focus on the money drills. Many drills can make you happy and feel good and burn time. You already know what works and you need to work your mind to do them most of the time.
11 Fast once a week. If the temperature is too hot drink to avoid dehydration buy do this once a week. The mental and body focus and cleaning it provides is worth the initial getting into it.
12 and this is the last for now: count your blessings every day norning and night. Say thanks for the clear sky or for the rain washing your vehicles. Focus on the positive in things and your power to stay calm and work worthy will grow.
Partner sensory drills:
1 starts in the static push up and have your feet held by your partner at his sides. You close your eyes and he walks however he wishes. You need to sense his movement and move to remain able to navigate and than you switch roles. Repeat this drill facing up as well and learn to position your body dynamically to keep moving rather than impacting as a solid. This drill both builds your health in staying relaxed and relying more on the tendons and structure than on muscle and allows you to move in different positions while still controlling and using all your limbs.
2 lie down on the ground and be totally stiff. Have your partner move you using just his fists upright and then gently down. Change roles and repeat the drill. Now one by one relax each limb and see how you fare and how your partner fares. Finish by relaxing all of your body and have your partner use any method without harming you to bring you upright and then down again. This is a great lesson on how to take care of each other when stressed and hurt and how to avoid helping the other side move you where they want you.
3 Aim your rifle or handgun and have your partner press his fist all over your body and head. Exhale the tension and note where you tensed up. Repeat the drill and note how you can both move and aim at the same time to avoid giving support and still hit the mark on the go. Repeat this drill standing squatting, sitting prone and change between them.
4 have a partner aim at you at a distance where you cannot reach him, the third distance. Move around him and up and down and have him keep his aim on you. From time to time tell him to freeze and he holds the position for 60 breaths noting how his position helps or annoys him and learning to avoid excess tension and overreaching.
5 hold your rifle on you or lay it in the holster or strap and have a partner stand at the third distance from you. Have him first walk toward you as you move and aim at him and than seek the next target and then the next (Thank you Konstantin this alone saved my life many times) Increase the pace toward you till you are running and than move to a sitting starting position then prone then starting with the partner or partners out of you line of sight. Remember to breath and to avoid hurry. Smooth is swift and a jam will not only harm you but your brothers in arms.
6 Have your partner close his eyes with his rifle on him and with a laser pointer working. Direct him using voice alone to the target and check how to best do this with each of your mates. You will find up and down means different things to different people.
7 have a partner tie a rope to your leg and walk with you as you walk and aim and dry fire. At any given time he will pull the rope and you need to first avoid injury to yourself and your mates (having another partner walk with you is great) and than keep seeking the next target. Exhale the tension from the change at first and then learn to use all your breath phases as you progress.
8 lie on the ground with your rifle and aim at a partner walking at random. Have another partner walk through you and your job is to avoid the incoming contact while seeking to aim and dry fire at the moving target. Remember to keep moving your head from your body and avoid moving your body around your head thus making you a point fixed target.
9 have two or more partners for this drill ready with their rifles. Start by all people moving at once to walk through you and you need to keep moving without stopping and at any time when your partners see you at a funny position they can tell you to freeze for 60 breaths to become aware of the recent movement and alignment. This is a great drill for them to recognize the already open doors in their close work. Proceed to your partners moving through you with their rifles aimed and you need to avoid getting bumped while at the same time you need to add to the movement of the rifle. For example if a partner is coming at your front and you step to the side with all of your body, you turn and your arm moves with you to the lower muzzle area where you can simply squat forward adding to his movement while placing the barrel between his legs. Both parties learn to position and work with a rifle either in their hands or in a contact and remember to allow the breath to lead the movement and avoid trying to force a movement. Your partner bumping into your static position with his rifle will give you positive incentive for this. Proceed to doing this drill with all people aiming their rifles while you avoid contact but remain able to aim yourself. Avoid reaching for one position and aim from wherever you are. Proceed to the same drill with you sitting down or rolling with your rifle from time to time or to escape. Remember the rifle is with you and not the other way around. Proceed to taking a few empty clips and at your partner command change while in movement or roll away. Proceed to the basic drill with one eye closed to illustrate what happens in low visibility or when hurt. Repeat for the other eye and have your partners laugh at you till they do the drill. Proceed to the basic drill using the square breathing drill and note how this simple change can force you to experience rising and falling levels of stress so when the time comes you can do the work.
10 place both hands on your partners back and push him constantly. Have him resist lightly and comply in turn so you have to learn to push without falling through the push and change sides and pushing height at will. Have your partner aim and dry fire first standing as you push him and he works to give you the least resistance while working through targets and than walking and walking in the squat.
11 and this is the last for now: have your partner lie on the ground and you on top of him. Place both hands on your head and use just your body and legs to move all over his body and as you move work to feel where he is tense. Stay on the tough spots or lines and move yourself to help him relax and breathe out the tension. Repeat this drill while facing the other way (up or down) and avoid staying in one place for too long to avoid getting comfortable with discomfort as we tend to do with posture and positions.
Infantry – The brown berets
A very simple but important drill. When we become afraid or startled we tend to bring back the neck inside like a turtle. To become aware and to clean this tension out so we can move freely as a whole lie on your back with your legs extended and together. Slowly bring all the parts of your back to the ground until you are touching it without tension using all of your back and do not advance until you can do this drill with the neck relaxed and the head free to move and the breath unchanged. Once this is done (it can take more than a few tries over a while) slowly lift your legs off the ground together and again keep the neck relaxed and the breath free. Once again this is done lift the legs overhead and back while at all times keeping the neck relaxed and free.
If you do the drill with no meaning to it than you are less than effective. Effort without intent is a dead end.
Take a backpack on your back or a suitcase in your hand and walk in a crowd while trying to minimize contact with others. Work with a partner or a few on moving with the backpack while avoiding people who are coming at you and dealing with people trying to grab and hit you. consider loosing the bagage if a logical outcome without it is not found. For example if you are in a pushing match on your suitcase and a knife is drawn it may be best to loose contact or on the other hand use the suitcase as a tool to direct the blade toward more calming venues.
Keep breathing and remember that what works once may not work again.