MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
The term “transformation” is often recanted when Marines talk about their experiences through recruit training to earn the title of U.S. Marine. The change doesn’t stop there though.
Corporal Kyle Burns sees transformation in the actions and behavior of Marines working to become Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructors during the three-week MCMAP instructor course.
As a squad adviser for MCMAP Instructors Course, School of infantry West — Detachment Hawaii, Burns assists instructor trainers in building a student’s competency in MCMAP at all belt levels and across all military occupational specialties.
They do this by focusing on the building blocks of the program.
“We start with the basics at tan belt and grey belt,” said Burns. “The higher belt Marines feel, at first, that they are taking a step back when they come here and start from the beginning, but there’s a reason for it.”
Marines may have strayed from properly training MCMAP in their respective units, according to Burns. “The instructors course provides a much more focused environment for Marines to fully understand and appreciate Marine Corps martial arts,” Burns said. “Starting fresh ensures loss of bad habits and gives every Marine a clean slate to build from.”
In order to graduate the course, students must be proficient in knowledge of target areas and weapons of the body, , teaching techniques, giving a platform presentation and evaluating Marines for receiving higher belts. Once a Marine completes the course, he or she can teach MCMAP up to his or her belt level. Graduation requirements are incorporated into an intense physical training regiment.
Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 3 and Marine Air Logistics Squadron 24, ran through the obstacle course several times and completed the assault bayonet course at Landing Zone Boondocker, Marine Corps Base Hawaii as a part of Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor Course, Sept. 6, 2013.
“This prepares the Marines for close-quarters en-gagement with a bayonet,” said Staff Sgt. Tavares Starks, an instructor trainer, MCMAP Instructors Course, SOI—Det. Hawaii. “They utilize the basic fundamentals of MCMAP and use follow on techniques during the (assault bayonet course).”
Marines were escorted through a series of trails, where they engaged tire stacks and Marine squad advisers. The squad advisers attacked furiously, forcing the students to react quickly.
The training exercises encourage Marines to think and respond swiftly under pressure and physical exhaustion, according to Starks.
After such exercises Marines often sit down to dive into warrior case studies throughout Marine Corps history. The guided discussions give Marines firm examples of warrior spirit in trying times through others’ experiences in doing the right thing.
“The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program isn’t knowing how to beat somebody up,” said Burns. “It’s about instilling a strong base of professionalism, ethics and integrity to be a more well-rounded warrior.”
Possessing the ability to properly gauge a situation and decide how much force to apply to a potential threat is a sign of combative maturity and discipline, added Burns.
“The students are often times afraid to hurt us and each other at first,” admitted Burns. “But we build them up, and through the course, they begin to control their intensity as they mature and know when to let loose.”
Upon graduating the course, Marines return to their units as a new asset able to teach their fellow Marines MCMAP.