The worthy winners of the 2019 World Pace Sticking Championships

Following on from the previous article about pace sticking, and the World Pace Sticking Championships held this month at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, here’s a video of the championship winners – the Pakistan Army collecting their prizes.

Lifting their legs above their heads, a truly amazing feat. I asked the two RMAS Colour Sergeants, mentioned in my previous article about this, and they explained how they achieve the high leg kick, but said, they’re not sure they could do it.

Below the video is an article from Forces network on Pace Sticking: What is it really all about.

Great to meet the pace sticking Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Colour Sergeants

I’m repeating myself as I wrote, in detail HERE with a couple of videos, about the pace sticking demonstrations at the RMAS.

We both look forward to the pace sticking demonstration at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Heritage Day. We enjoy the precision in unity of marching with a pace stick, the perfection of smartness in the uniforms, and the approachability and affability of the soldiers.

I made a short video of the pace sticking demonstration, which is not that good I’m afraid as I wasn’t close enough to the action. We were pleased to talk to a couple of the Colour Sergeants in the pace sticking demo, both of whom were in the World Pace-sticking Championships in the Army video below. My inferior video follows.

The Colour Sergeants were proud to be at the Academy for their two year term, and we were delighted to talk to them – two top men.

Using a pace stick requires much practice

At the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Heritage Day we enjoy the Colour Sergeants demonstrating marching with a pace stick. This year there was no pace sticking demonstration, much to our disappointment.

According to the diggerhistory website, a pace stick is,

The Regimental Sergeant Major of a Unit carries a ‘Pace Stick”, which originated in the Artillery as a “Gunner’s Stick” and was used to measure the distance between guns.

It was soon adapted to measure the length of the pace taken by soldiers to get them all pacing the same. The Pace Stick is actually two pieces of timber, hinged at the top and able to be set to a particular distance, something like the compass set you used at school.

Our loss was assuaged by friendly Colour Sergeant P Johnson of the Lancashire Regiment. Jany stopped by a couple of Sergeants to enquire about the pace sticking demonstration, for me to return to see her practicing with a pace stick. I too tried to use one, only to find that it’s not as easy that at first it would seem. Adeptness with your wrist is essential to use one

Should you like to know more, and see a pace stick demo at RMA Sandhurst, then look at my article HERE, when all is revealed. Here are a few photos of our efforts.

Pace sticking demonstrated by Company Sergeants Major at RMAS Heritage Day

We’ve always enjoyed the Heritage Day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. For me, I look forward to the demonstration of pace sticking by Company Sergeants Major [CSM’s], for my wife it’s the horses.

I know many readers enjoy the smartness and precision exhibited by the Academy CSM’s. I’ve collected my videos and photos of pace sticking here, in one place. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Do look at this splendid video by Captain Graham White on the art of pace sticking. Graham was an RSM prior to his commission. Can’t think of a better description of pride in the role and uniform that when Graham says of the soldier,

“He marches down the strip in a bit of style, panache; he wants to be the best for the organisation, or unit he’s representing. As he marches down he has something about him.”

A pace stick is an aid to military drill. Usually consisting of two pieces of wood, hinged at the top, it opens so that the tips separate at fixed distances, corresponding to various lengths of marching pace, such as “double march” or “quick march” and so on. The history of pace sticking was usefully included in the Heritage Open Day program, which I’ve copied here,

“Roman military engineers used a pace stick almost identical the modern British army version, with the main difference being the length of rope in place of the modern brass locking bar. When the Roman pace stick was fully open the rope went taught and the stick was locked at an angle that measured two Roman marching paces.

When building roads, the Roman ‘sticker’ would turn his implement 500 times, equating to a Roman mile. At which point a mile stone would then be erected. In 1928, the then Academy Sergeant Major Arthur Brand developed a drill for the pace stick and promoted its use throughout the Army.”

I’ve included a photo of Academy Sergeant Major Glenn Haugton [now Army Sergeant Major] for a close-up view of a pace stick, and also a photo of an Academy Cadet delivering port.

RMA Sandhurst Company Sergeant Majors demonstrate marching with a pace stick

At the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst recent Heritage Day in June, four Company Sergeant Majors demonstrated marching with a pace stick.

We’ve enjoyed the smartness and precision of CSM’s at earlier Heritage Days we’ve attended, and HERE I reported in detail on pace sticking.

Here’s a short video of the CSM’s demonstrating marching with a pace stick.