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    Second Times a Charm

    Second Times a Charm

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Angel Alvarado | U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. James A. Hunt poses for a photo at Naval Weapons Station,...... read more read more

    NAVAL WEAPONS STATION, Va.— In 2001 the U.S. Marine Corps established the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), a personal transformation program incorporating close-quarters combat with warrior ethos. U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. James A. Hunt, a native of Oxnard, California, is an avionics technician with the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Oceana. Hunt sought personal growth in the program and chose to endure the extensive and rigorous course to become a Martial Arts Instructor (MAI).

    To become an MAI, Marines are faced with physical and mental challenges for multiple weeks to determine whether they have the character and capabilities to train others. Hunt successfully completed the course, however he chose to repeat it once again in October of 2021. The first time Hunt experienced the course, he viewed the MAI billet as an accomplishment rather than a mentality. Throughout his career he felt he didn't represent the legacy of an MAI accurately and decided to re-earn the title with a new mindset.

    “It comes down to when people come to me and go ‘Oh! You're an MAI!’ but I couldn't take pride in it.” Hunt exclaimed, “I didn't feel I was up to par with the legacy of other MAI’s, back then I didn't fully understand.”

    The MCMAP and MAI program was focused on defensive and offensive close-quarter combat techniques, although the Marine Corps continuously developed the course to instill the “One Mind Any Weapon” mindset. This causes Marines who graduate to leave with not only the responsibility of training Marines in MCMAP but as an ethical combatant. Enduring the course for a second time allowed Hunt to see how he has matured in addition to how the program has developed over the years.

    “The character aspect was still there. We were just a bunch of rowdy Marines looking to have a good time.” Hunt continued “We didn't really know what we were getting into, but the course whipped us in shape just like the first time. However, this time really gave us those disciplines to be a good instructor”

    Hunt believed going through the course a second time gave him an advantage. He had prior knowledge and experiences having gone through an MAI course once before. Although the courses were very similar, Hunt was faced with new challenges he hadn’t expected. From different locations, instructors and new techniques, Hunt had to learn how to adapt and overcome.

    “First time I was by the beach, the weather was perfect. This time it was colder and there were trees and hills to go through,” Hunt stated. “The instructors also went a lot more in-depth to make sure we were technically proficient in the techniques.”

    Besides the stress-inducing cold, difficult terrain, and dedicated instructors, Hunt found the experience beneficial because the uncontrollable environment pushed him into a combat mindset. The instructors planned undeniably rigorous training accordingly to build Marines who display honorable character and dedication regardless of the challenge.

    “There was a time I wanted to quit. When you are carrying that log and are trying to figure out how to place yourself and get in step, you are pushing yourself mentally and physically,” Hunt continued, “I would tell myself if I quit now I won't have to deal with this for the next two weeks but at the same time that means I would leave my team behind.”

    Comradery was built through trials and tribulations. The group of once rowdy Marines became brothers by bond. This development demonstrated teamwork, a trait Hunt admires and always holds himself accountable to.

    “There was one quote we always kept saying, ‘Spider Monkey.’ It means you need to be flexible, you need to be sturdy with a head on a swivel and ready to go.” Hunt stated, “That's why I love the Marine Corps, if teamwork wasn't crucial to the Marine Corps then I wouldn't be in it right now.”

    Hunt noticed the same dedication and unity amongst his peers were also amongst the instructors. As the course continued he commended the devoted instructors for their commitment to turning Marines into better instructors for the Corps.

    “They actually stayed later. They gave up their own free time and would stay three to four hours after to go over techniques, throw after throw, punch after punch. It was fantastic,” Hunt continued, “First time I went through the instructors were just as strict and stern; however, these instructors revolved the course about the MCMAP disciplines; the physical, mental, and moral character. Which is something I intend to take with me where I go”

    While reflecting on both his experiences enduring an MAI course, Hunt noticed the development the MCMAP program has undergone. He realized it’s not only being an effective combatant, but also the value of those ethics that are drilled and instilled throughout it.

    “When I first went through things were different. You could do a lot more and say a lot more. The Marine Corps has always been professional but you were more outspoken,” Hunt stated, “Now going through it’s more about your etiquette it's not about just being physically strong but also mentally strong and aware.”

    Hunt is grateful he decided to repeat the course because the effects of his fellow Marines, instructors, and lessons he learned created an everlasting impact. It allowed him to realize his potential and gave him a new perspective he intends to use to further his Marine Corps career.

    “I’m really considering being a MAIT,” Hunt stated, “This course has proven to me that I can go further and I can't wait to go back to my unit and advance other Marines to higher belts.”



    Date Taken: 12.03.2021
    Date Posted: 12.03.2021 09:20
    Story ID: 410392
    Location: YORKTOWN, VA, US 
    Hometown: OXNARD, CA, US

    Web Views: 144
    Downloads: 0