Marines refresh skills with instructor course
CAMP KINSER, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines completed a martial arts instructor course at Camp Kinser Nov. 9, certifying them as Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructors for the current and next generation of Marines.
The grueling, three-week course is designed to push Marines beyond their physical and mental limits. The syllabus includes techniques from all belt levels, free-sparring, combat conditioning and classroom instruction on a variety of topics including case studies on warfare, warfighting theory and leadership traits.
"The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was created to make ethical warriors," said Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Sandlin, a martial arts instructor-trainer and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense chief with Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. "It is not good enough to know how to fight and kill — you also need to know how to resolve a situation using non-lethal techniques."
The course graduates were awarded a secondary military occupational specialty of martial arts instructor, which allows them to teach and certify Marines up to the green-belt level of MCMAP. Graduates of the course are also eligible to train to become martial arts instructor-trainers, according to Maj. Robert B. Thomas, an instructor for the course and the operations officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.
Marines with the Martial Arts Center of Excellence, located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., flew to Okinawa and observed the course to provide lessons and feedback.
"We flew out here from Quantico to help spread the martial arts program throughout the Marine Corps," said Staff Sgt. Thomas M. Lee, a martial arts instructor-trainer with the MACE at MCB Quantico. "From the bases in the states to the bases in Okinawa, we're just making sure that everyone is on the same page and instructing their students correctly on the techniques."
The MACE Marines also reminded the course's students and instructors about MCMAP's role in the Marine Corps during their visit.
"They look at what you do, they train you and validate that what you're doing is good to go," said Staff Sgt. Danilo L. Dean, a student in the course and a basic contingency contract specialist with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. "The MACE Marines came to remind us of that our MCMAP training is more than just learning physical techniques."
MCMAP training is designed to develop Marines not just physically, but also mentally while focusing on their character, according to Lee. It is the combination of training that keeps MCMAP relevant, and the Marines at MACE are always looking for ways to improve the program and keep Marines engaged.
"We find it easier for the students to learn when we relate the training to their normal daily life," said Lee. "MCMAP is a perishable skill. If you don't constantly improve yourself and go over the physical, mental and character aspects of the program, it is something you can lose."
The MACE Marines' visit also gave the newly-qualified instructors something to work towards, ensuring they do not become complacent with their skills, according to Thomas.
"The Marines that just became instructors need to see that they can continue to advance in the program," said Thomas. "The MACE Marines coming out here showed them what they can achieve if they stay dedicated."