News: Philippine, U.S. Marines exchange martial arts knowledge at PHIBLEX 14
Story by Lance Cpl. David Hersey
NAVAL STATION LEOVIGILDO GANTIOQUI, SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES, Republic of the Philippines – "When in the field an understanding of hand-to-hand combat is an essential tool for survival and can mean the difference between life and death," said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Abraham P. Webb, a platoon commander with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "If you run out of ammunition or lose your weapon you still have the ability to use your surroundings and your own body to fight and survive."
U.S. and Philippine Marines shared martial arts skills at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales, Republic of the Philippines Oct. 8 during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
PHIBLEX 14 is a bilateral training exercise designed to improve Philippine-U.S. interoperability, increase readiness, and enhance the ability for a bilateral force to respond to natural disasters or other regional contingencies.
The U.S. Marines demonstrated several techniques from each of the five belt levels of the Marine Corps martial arts program and performed exercises with the Philippine Marines designed to test endurance and knowledge of the techniques they learned, according to Cpl. Anthony T. Howell, a machine gunner with 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, currently assigned to ground combat element, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
"Practice makes perfect," said Howell. "We're teaching them how we fight but also having fun and sharing tactics."
In return for the opportunity to learn skills techniques from MCMAP, the Philippine Marines shared knife and staff techniques from Pekiti-Tirisia Kali, the form of martial arts used by the Philippine Marine Corps.
"We are glad to share our techniques," said Sgt. Renato G. Salamanca, a driver with 14th Provisional Battalion, Philippines Marine Corps. "We have learned much from the U.S. Marines, and we are happy to return the favor. It helps to make us both stronger and improves our friendship.”
Training together builds a sense of brotherhood and partnership between the Marines of both countries, according to Lance Cpl. Kurtis A. Vanderstelt, a machine gunner with 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines.
"We get to learn new skills and improve the ones we already have while sharing a fun experience," said Vanderstelt. "Integrated training like this allows us to share knowledge we've gained from different training and combat experience."
The recurrence of PHIBLEX, now in its 30th year, demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. and the Republic of the Philippines to mutual security and their long-time partnership.