News: 9th Comm. Bn. Marines become martial arts instructors
Story by Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLTON, Calif. - The 9th Communication Battalion graduated its most recent Marine Corps martial arts instructors at Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 12.
Four Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructors completed weeks of vigorous mental and physical conditioning to earn the coveted stripe to wear on their respective belt.
The MCMAP is broken down into a series of levels, represented by belts, much like other martial arts programs. The first belt a Marine earns is the tan belt, followed by the gray, green, brown and black belts. To train new Marines, the aspiring instructor must go through the martial arts instructor course.
“They get an extensive combat conditioning program,” said Staff Sgt. Randy Camacho, the 9th Comm. Bn., martial arts instructor trainer. “Once they go through the conditioning program phase we give them supplementary training, which complements the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment by stressing the mental, physical and character disciplines.”
The physical portion of the training involves intense conditioning, such as cohesion drills, sparring and warrior case studies. The case studies involve exercises or training scenarios, which simulate what Navy Cross or Medal of Honor recipients faced during their combat experience.
“Anyone can do the physical part,” said Camacho, 29, from Guam. “It’s more about the mental and character training. It’s pass or fail. You either show up or you quit. It’s not for everyone.”
Sgt. Geovanie Maldonado, a field wireman with 9th Comm. Bn., was chosen as the honor graduate. Maldonado finished the course with a 98.4 percent grade point average.
“It tests your character,” said Maldonado, 25, from Huntsville, Ala., who sported a black eye he received from cohesion drills during training. “This is a leadership program. It’s not so much about techniques as it’s making students better Marines.”
Any corporal or above who has a MCMAP gray belt or higher, a first class physical fitness test score, and up to date on annual training and education can take the MAI course. To graduate, they must successfully complete the martial arts course, which involves physical and written tests.
The new instructor receives a vertical tan stripe on their gray, green or brown belt upon graduation.