News: MCC-Kuwait Marines polish fighting skills
Staff Sgt. Rodney Jackson
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - The sounds of leather pads popping, bodies thudding on the ground or intense yells are just a hint of what you'll find if you step into any Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training area.
Movement Control Command-Kuwait, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Marines participated in MCMAP training at Camp Arifjan Feb. 6-25.
Every Marine is modeled as a rifleman and martial artist, said Marine Cpl. Anthony X. Ponce, brown-belt instructor. The point of MCMAP is to make sure every Marine is physically and mentally disciplined and combat conditioned.
Marines perform MCMAP training four to five times a week, usually after tough physical training sessions to help sustain muscle memory, Ponce said. After the brain and body are exhausted, they retain learned functions better.
MCMAP also involves training with weapons to build the Marine mentally, physically and character-wise.
"Anything can be a weapon when you're in close combat," Ponce said. "A rock, brick, kevlar helmet " anything that you can get your hands on can be a weapon of opportunity."
MCMAP training provides the synergy to make the Marine complete, said Marine Staff Sgt. Terrance Watts, black-belt instructor. It keeps Marines efficient in the arts.
Marine Corps instructions, military occupational speciality, rifle training and the history of MCMAP are used in MCMAP to help make the Marine complete, Watts said. It gives the Marine of today a goal to work toward.
He has accomplished several goals himself, and is currently working on a few more.
Watts has an extensive background in martial arts. He has several black belts, including belts in Okinawan Issinhryu, Tae Kwon Do and Jujitsu. He also has a brown belt in Judo.
Watts is currently studying a form of Brazilian Jujitsu.
Belt certification testing is an accomplishment for Marines, he said. Given the opportunity, most Marines who set the goal of obtaining a black belt will get it.
Ponce said Marines set goals for pursuing higher belt levels for personal gratification.
After entry-level training, where Marines receive a tan belt, the testing helps Marines progress from a tan belt to gray, green, brown, and black belts.
"If you don't set goals, you won't achieve," Watts said.
"To help Marines achieve these goals MCMAP works like a big sponge," Watts said. "The Marine Corps is constantly building the program."