Here’s an awkward situation I’m sure we’ve all had to deal with at one point or another.

Your recently-divorced out-of-the-closet father with a thing for guys in uniform has begun bringing home high ranking military officials.

You want to show these officers and gentlemen their due respect, but every time you go to salute your lack of technique makes them look at you like you’re some kind of dirty hippy.  That scornful glare cast by a Rear Admiral as he flings on a feather boa is just the worst.

Luckily, the modern incarnation of the Japanese Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) put together a free iPhone app and instructional video to teach the proper way to salute.  The iPhone app called Salute Trainer also measures your saluting ability in detail and gives you a score and military style ranking.

Using Salute Trainer is quite simple.  With the app running you simply palm you iPhone in your right hand and stand at attention (with your arms straight down).  Then salute when you hear the officer command you to. Hold the position and return your hand to your side when signaled by your virtual superior.

Afterwards you are provided with scores in reflexes, stillness, quickness, path, and form. Also, based on your overall score you can earn your stripes with a military ranking.

The app includes a tutorial in Japanese and something resembling English.  The following is how to properly salute according to the built-in manual word for word.

To get proper salute, please follow these steps: training.

Step1 Concentration

60 degrees, open toe, limp body, a sense of “nothing” to please.

Step2 Attention

Side of the body, put your arms extend straight to the body. Palm grip the air lightly. In this case, then it should not be fine.

Step3 Salute

Here are the palm at once to the head shaking. In the rest position, keeping shoulders level and elbows, palms and elbows to 45 degrees from horizontal maintains.

Step4 As You Were

Bruno instantly back to the position of two studied parameters. Prepare for the next instruction.

There’s also an instructional video uploaded to YouTube by the JMSDF on using the app and saluting in general. It’s in Japanese, but combined with the crystal clear instructions above you should get the idea.

Okay so you’ve seen the video and downloaded the app.  You’re well on your way to saluting straight, but then, your iPhone battery dies.

No problem! The JMSDF also has a handy “Salute Protractor” which you can print out and hang on your wall.

This way you can do analog training while waiting for your smartphone to charge up. The poster also has compact disc safety precautions written in English at the bottom. I don’t know why they’re there, but I guess it’s always good to refresh your knowledge of proper CD handling and storage.

I tried it out but my saluting was only worthy of a Third Mate.  Unfortunately, with an iPad it’s really hard to salute without hitting yourself in the face.

Source: Salute Trainer via K-Tai Watch (Japanese)
Salute Protractor: PDF file