“Take ‘em to the deck!”: Marines teach Okinawan students MCMAP

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Students with the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy and Marines compete in a friendly game of tug-of-war Nov. 2 during the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy Festival. Photo by Lance Cpl. Rebecca Elmy)
Students with the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy and Marines compete in a friendly game of tug-of-war Nov. 2 during the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy Festival. Photo by Lance Cpl. Rebecca Elmy)

“Take ‘em to the deck!”: Marines teach Okinawan students MCMAP

by: Lance Cpl. Rebecca Elmy、III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: November 29, 2014

KIN TOWN, OKINAWA, Japan -- As students from the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy watched intently from the mats, Marines demonstrated various scenarios where martial arts techniques can be used as self-defense. Then, it was the students’ turn to test their skills. Marines led the excited students through the different techniques from the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

Marines with 3rd Intelligence Battalion volunteered to teach self-defense methods Nov. 2 at the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy.

“We taught some of the basic techniques from the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program for situations where they would need to defend themselves against chokes, holds and strikes,” said 1st Lt. Brant Wayson a martial arts instructor and air intelligence officer with 3rd Intel Bn., III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF.

The academy is a technical school where the students study to become therapists and rehabilitation specialists.

“I believe self-defense should be a basic part of everybody’s life,” said Wayson, from Brandon, Florida. “You need to be able to take care of yourself. With this instruction it gives them the general knowledge of how to defend themselves.”

To the Marines, this event was more than just teaching Kin Town residents martial arts. It enhanced the long relationship between the two communities.

“It’s to get out and show that we are a part of the community as well as have fun,” said Lance Cpl. Sean Broughton, an intelligence specialist with 3rd Intel Bn. “We need to be able to reach out to the local population and make friends with them to be contributing members to the society, the way we would in the U.S.”

After the demonstration, the academy students began to engage in hands-on training with self-defense techniques taught by Marine volunteers.

“They loved it,” said Wayson. “After almost every technique they performed successfully, they were cheering for each other, laughing and smiling. I think they had a lot of fun with it; especially when the staff was putting them in chokes or holds, then they can send them to the deck. They enjoyed that quite a bit.”

By working closely with the local residents, the Marines were able to interact and introduce MCMAP to the students.

“The female students were very interested in learning self-defense techniques,” said Satoru Gima, chairman of the board of directors for Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy. “The school doesn’t provide any similar programs so it was a great opportunity to get instruction from Marines to help protect themselves if need be.”

The students and Marines ended the day with a friendly contest of tug of war.

Both the students and Marines left with a valuable new skill set and new friends, according to Broughton, from Waldorf, Maryland.