News: MCMAP bridges cultural gap aboard ship
Story by Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
ABOARD USS KEARSARGE, At Sea – Back in 1775, a brawl between U.S. Marines and British Royal Marines would have been a fight to the death. Today, it’s just friendly training.
Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 is a joint exercise with many participating countries sharing skills and techniques to accomplish amphibious operations, but basic fighting skills became a highlight as Marines were able to share the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program with coalition partners.
During their time on ship together, U.S. Marines of the 2nd Regimental Landing Team taught the Royal Marines of the 42 Commando and French Canadians of the 22nd Regiment a variety of MCMAP moves including chokes, wristlocks and joint manipulations. To end the class, a tournament style competition was held with all three services wrestling each other in teams of two or three.
“It’s fantastic, we don’t do enough of it in the U.K.,” said Lance Cpl. John E. Seekins, an infantryman with the 42 Commando. “We do unarmed combat, but not to the degree the Americans do. Doing it with the Americans is fun and there’s a big learning curve. It’s definitely a discipline; it teaches respect as well amongst the younger lads with the older lads.”
Lance Cpl. Nicholas P. Carranza, a fire team leader in 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, who has a background in Brazilian jujitsu, said that a person might not have a weapon all the time when they need to fight an opponent, so the ability to fight hand-to-hand is still a required military skill.
“It’s a good discipline to have to help yourself out and help out your buddy next to you,” Carranza said.
Carranza earned distinction when he defeated two Royal Marines by himself after his teammate had been eliminated from the tournament.
Both Marines took a moment to think about the history of each country and reflect on the violent rivalry that existed in the colonial days of the United States compared to the close friendship both countries now share with each other.
“We have a different relationship with each other now,” said Carranza. “It’s good to be able to work alongside somebody. Having the different countries out there who work with us helps us get to know our counterparts.”
“Everything’s changed, the politics behind it have changed,” Seekins added. “The fact is that we can do it together with no bloodshed, no broken bones and everyone had a good time. We were all shaking hands and we’ll do it again tomorrow. The world has evolved and it’s a good thing.”