“Reject common sense
to make the impossible possible.”
WHAT IS RIFLE FLOW?
The spectrum of artistic expression is boundless. Where we find ourselves within it is guided by what moves us emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. This is a multi-dimensional space in which we are found by not only what we do but also how, where, when, and why. In the same way that each and every individual physically moves differently (posture, gait, mannerisms, etc.), so too can each individual express their thoughts and feelings distinctly.
Many Martial Arts exist with the intent of forming a better connection between mind, body, and soul. To sit still and meditate in order to see and understand the movement of one’s own soul is boring and tiresome. Instead, we may express the movement of our soul with our body. The most effective means of individual artistic expression can and will only be determined by each individual, even if unfocused on physical movement.
There are three main types of Art.
Visual Arts include paintings, sculptures, movies, literature, architecture, and more.
Musical Arts include all genres of music along with movie and video game scoring.
Movement Arts include Dancing, Martial Arts, Tricking, Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Aerial Silks, Flow Arts, and many many other things.
If Visual Arts are how we fill space and Musical Arts are how we fill time, Movement Arts are the most effective means of filling both.
This has been quite a preamble to arrive here. So what is Rifle Flow?
Rifle Flow is just another Movement Art. It is a means of physically expressing ourselves artistically while our prop of choice just happens to be a rifle. Regardless of your demographical background in rifle spinning, the fact remains that you, myself, and many others from all walks of life and geographical positions like spinning rifles.
So what do we do about that? Is there some place, event, competition, or venue where all of us can meet up, trade tricks, hang out, and have fun?
Well, no not exactly. Not yet anyways.
What we have currently is not meant for every demographic of rifle spinners. We don’t have any serious competitions to speak of, cross-disciplinary learning resources, low barriers to entry, or planned social gatherings.
However, what we do have is a new spectrum of possibility to tap into with time. The “what” is Rifle Flow, a movement art that is inclusive of all who spin rifles competitively or otherwise. The “why” is for personal artistic expression. The where, when, and how is up to all of us. What does your idea look like?
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
DRILL AND RIFLE FLOW?
Spinning Rifles, as we know it, is not the same as what it came from. Just as Marching Band Color Guards are derivative in nature, so too is Solo Rifle Exhibition Drill.
In its original form, it is Drill and Ceremony:
Escorts for Dignitaries, Rendering Honors, and Service Drill Teams.
To the level that many of us know rifle flow, it is in many ways different, and entirely separate from all of those things. What we do, year by year, strays further from traditional Drill and Ceremony.
In the past 5 years or so, the term “Street Drill” has been thrown around as a sort of stylistic implication. However, it is by no means what we actually… do.
That said, when we explain to people that we do “exhibition drill” or “military style rifle spinning,” people often make an extremely heavy association with the military, honor guards, college drill teams, Cadet Kelly, Major Payne, and Stripes.
None of these are truly representative of the activity that we take part in. What we call “Solo Rifle Exhibition Drill” is Extreme, Stylistic, Edgy, Artistic, Dangerous, and Truly World Class. None of these qualities are shared with the activity we are associated with in the mind of the average person.
The detail that causes this vast separation of intent over perception is the word “Solo”.
Drill Teams are what people know, in the many forms listed above. That said, “solo” is not enough of a distinction. Solo drill, exhibition drill, rifle exhibition drill, military style rifle exhibition drill. All get to the same impression.
A Drill Team can be one of FOUR different entities:
1. A Military Drill Team is a marching unit that performs routines based on military drill. Military drill teams perform either armed or unarmed.
2. A Dance Drill Team creates routines based on precision dance movements rather than military drill. These teams usually do not carry anything, but may use props in field production numbers. They may perform to recorded music, or the live music of an accompanying marching band.
3. A Drill Team that executes routines carrying either one or multiple flags or pom-poms. This team’s movements are also based in dance and may also have a heavy influence of gymnastics as well. These teams also may perform to music, either live or recorded.
4. A Drill Team that is mounted (horse, motorcycle, etc.) or advances some type of mobile object (library carts, lawn chairs, or even garbage bins). May also include teams of dogs and handlers.
The word “Drill’ has FIFTEEN different meanings:
1. A hand tool, power tool, or machine with a rotating cutting tip or reciprocating hammer or chisel, used for making holes.
2. A tool used by a dentist for cutting away part of a tooth before filling it.
3. Instruction or training in military exercises
4. Intensive instruction or training in something, typically by means of repeated exercises.
5. A rehearsal of the procedure to be followed in an emergency.
6. The correct or recognized procedure or way of doing something
7. A predatory mollusk that bores into the shells of other mollusks in order to feed on the soft tissue
8. Produce (a hole) in something by or as if by boring with a drill.
9. Sink a borehole in order to obtain a certain substance, typically oil or water.
10. (of a dentist) cut away part of (a tooth) before filling it.
11. (of a sports player) hit, throw, or kick (a ball or puck) hard and in a straight line.
12. subject (someone) to military training exercises
13. instruct (someone) in something by the means of repeated exercises or practice.
14. A machine that makes small furrows, sows seed in them, and then covers the sown seed.
15. A coarse twilled cotton or linen fabric.
Before continuing, it is worth noting the fourth definition: “intensive instruction or training in something, typically by means of repeated exercises.”
That said, what most people enjoy about spinning rifles outside of a team environment is NOT repetition, instruction, or intensive training. What the majority enjoys is the creative freedom that spinning alone grants them.
If we want to create a unique culture, valuable and interesting in it’s own right, capable of standing on it’s own as something that can be nudged towards the mainstream, I believe we need to make an important distinction.
When we explain our activity to others, we reference JROTC or something of the likes and enable people to misunderstand what we actually do, through the words and nomenclature we have used for so long. From there, we redirect their misunderstanding so that maybe they can somewhat understand the activity we are engaging in.
What we do is not “Drill”. What we do is a Flow Art. Our prop is a Rifle. We engage in several kinds of Competitions that are NOT Military Competitions. Simply put, we take part in Competitive Rifle Flow. Three words that make clear indications as to what we do.
To be clear, we still engage in Military Style Rifle Exhibition Drill Competitions. The World Drill Championships and it’s Qualifiers are still clearly within the realm of Military Style Rifle Spinning.
The Realm of Competitive Rifle Flow begins with testing the waters for non-military style events like The Summer Drill Tour, The Drill Dojo, and The New York Drill Competition that had a focus on video editing as seen below. The full scope of what Competitive Rifle Flow has to offer is still yet to be seen but is brought to clearer terms within The Rifle Flow World Records, The annual Rifle Flow Games, and the Versus Rifle Flow competition.
We are still in the early stages of setting these two activities apart from each other, but the difference is clear.
Is spinning rifles a far reaching activity?
Is wearing uniforms an important part of artistic expression?
In remarkably few cases.
Do you like practicing Reporting procedures?
Few people dwell on them.
Are the confines of a 3-5 minute routine with an emphasis on military flavor and bearing the best, most preferable competition format?
Of course not.
Are you training for a Rifle Spinning Competition or a Military Style Rifle Exhibition Drill Competition?
Probably a Rifle Spinning Competition, very very few train for the latter.
Are there a multitude of moves that are amazing but can’t be used in competition because they wouldn’t do well in a military setting for being too Avant Garde?
Yes, too many.