Marines belt-up with MACE
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- A mobile training team with the Martial Arts Center for Excellence facilitated instruction July 22-26 at Camp Foster for Okinawa-based service members engaged in the Marine Corps martial arts program.
The center formed the traveling team to facilitate MCMAP courses and ensure quality, up-to-date instruction could be provided throughout Marine Corps installations as opposed to strictly taught at the MACE’s headquarters in Quantico, Va., according to Master Sgt. Kenneth A. Roberts, a student of the MTT’s third-degree black belt course and operations chief with G-4, supply and logistics, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
“Commands can’t always afford to send their Marines to Quantico,” said Roberts. “Having the team come to the students’ location allows them to get the training and recertification they want or need before their training or certification expires.”
During the week, Marines trained from dawn until dusk toward instructor and instructor-trainer certification and recertification, according to Roberts. The Marines also earned credit for training hours and learned techniques for their next potential belt level.
The activities included bayonet techniques, one-on-one sparring and myriad discussions concerning morals and ethics.
The training also offered personal benefits such as physical conditioning and an increased understanding of martial arts techniques, according to Cpl. Angie Pazmino, a student of the MTT’s second-degree black belt course and ground-training noncommissioned officer with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
In addition, the week’s training also featured discussions on ethics and important figures in Marine Corps history.
The discussions during the week served as a catalyst for self growth, which the participants can then share with their units through mentorship and leadership, according to Pazmino.
“The training is about more than us,” said Pazmino. “It’s about gaining more knowledge and experience to give back to our Marines.”
The MACE members’ visit to Okinawa also inspired many of the participants to better themselves along with their units, according to Roberts.
“When you see the members of MACE come out here, it’s extremely motivating,” said Roberts. “All of the Marines, regardless of rank, regardless of their belt, are able to train with them and be mentored by them. Then, we can take it and (teach) what we learn here to our Marines.”
One of the principles stressed was why the program exists in the Marine Corps, according to Sgt. Tyler W. Hood, a martial arts instructor-trainer with the MACE.
“MCMAP takes many beneficial ingredients that we have taken from other (martial arts) systems out there,” said Hood. “We have combined them into one system, one format that will help us effectively take the fight to the enemy on the battlefield.”
Along with the more obvious applications to combat operations, MCMAP remains very relevant to everyday life, according to Hood.
“There are techniques that are going to help us in nonlethal or noncombative environments,” said Hood. “I’m going to have to neutralize it, but I don’t want to be as combative as I would on a battlefield. MCMAP teaches you how to identify those scenarios and take the appropriate action.”
The MACE instructors were pleased with the participants and conduct of training, according to Hood. Four students earned third-degree black belt instructor-trainer tabs, and 16 earned a mix of second-degree black belt instructor and instructor-trainer tabs.
“Okinawa has always been a solid place for the martial arts program,” said Hood. “For us to come out here is truly an honor.”