MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The October sun pierces through the foliage, and reflects off uniforms soaked in sweat. Mud splashes and debris flies in every direction as Marines face off in two-man fights in a small creek. They test each other’s fighting spirit with every kick, punch and submission hold to earn the coveted title of martial arts instructor.
Marines with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), earned instructor certification during a Martial Arts Instructors Course (MAIC) at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 26, 2017.
The course is designed to enable Marines to teach others the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) techniques to advance in belt level and enhance overall combat capabilities.
“This is a three-week course in which we take the Marines through the tan to green belt syllabus and make them into Martial Arts Instructors,” said Sgt. Matthew Takojeff, a Martial Arts Instructor Trainer with BLT 2/6. “We train them in order to instruct Marines on MCMAP techniques, this allows them to advance in belt levels and ultimately become better warriors and leaders in the end.”
Marine Corps Martial Arts embodies multiple fighting styles from around the world from boxing to Judo to Jiu-Jitsu. MCMAP not only focuses on the physical aspect of a Marine, but it also develops character and mental strength.
“A lot of these Marines are pushed to their limits,” said 1st Lt. Michael Hussey, the MAIC chief with BLT 2/6. “We physically train with them twice a day, but these guys are developing the mental fortitude to push through some of the adversity as well as getting tested in their abilities to administer tests. They learn how to give periods of instruction to their Marines and it helps them build confidence.”
The instructors also implement character building exercises within the course through discussions about moral and ethical values.
Hussey said he takes every opportunity to educate Marines about leadership by instilling physical and mental discipline, as well as ethical and moral decision scenarios, which they can later pass on to their students.
“I’m one of you, just like any other Marine,” said Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, the battalion commander of BLT 2/6. “It doesn’t matter what’s on your collar when the mud and blood is going around. We are all here to fight. An MAI isn’t someone who stands above the other belts; it’s someone who stands with them.”