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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Corps' martial arts program lays foundation for combat

By Cpl. Liz Gleason | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | April 25, 2013

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Staff Sgt. Sergio Ramirez, Martial Arts Instructor, Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion, gives recruits a safety brief before a pugil sticks event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11.

Staff Sgt. Sergio Ramirez, Martial Arts Instructor, Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion, gives recruits a safety brief before a pugil sticks event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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Recruits of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, practice Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques during a training event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Counter techniques are taught to help recruits defend themselves in the event an enemy attempts to take their weapon.

Recruits of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, practice Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques during a training event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Counter techniques are taught to help recruits defend themselves in the event an enemy attempts to take their weapon. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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Recruits of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, listen to an award citation prior to a pugil sticks event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Award citations are often read to recruits, throughout training, to teach and illustrate past Marine's hardships and achievements.

Recruits of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, listen to an award citation prior to a pugil sticks event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Award citations are often read to recruits, throughout training, to teach and illustrate past Marine's hardships and achievements. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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Recruits with Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, face-off during a pugil sticks match aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Recruits must rely on Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques and confidence gained throughout recruit training to defeat their opponet.

Recruits with Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, face-off during a pugil sticks match aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Recruits must rely on Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques and confidence gained throughout recruit training to defeat their opponet. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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A recruit of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, wait for his turn to duel with a fellow recruit depot a pugil sticks match aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Recruits wear proper protective gear such as a mouth piece, helmet and groin protection to prevent injury.

A recruit of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, wait for his turn to duel with a fellow recruit depot a pugil sticks match aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. Recruits wear proper protective gear such as a mouth piece, helmet and groin protection to prevent injury. (Photo by Cpl. Liz Gleason)


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SAN DIEGO --     The Marine Corps is known as the nation’s 9-1-1 force which is why Marines must be always ready to adapt and overcome in any situation. During recruit training, recruits are exposed to many mental and physical challenges that will help prepare them for future experiences they may encounter in the Marine Corps. 
    Drill instructors work together with instructors from Instructional Training Company, Support Battalion, to mold recruits into combat-ready Marines. An integral part of the foundation of recruit training is the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. 
    Recruits of Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, spent the day learning MCMAP weapon techniques during a Pugil Sticks event aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego April 11. 
    “Today we did a combined event,” said Staff Sgt. Sergio Ramirez, martial arts instructor, ITC, Support Bn. “During the first part, we went over all the counters which include, counter to the overhand grab, counter to the underhand grab, and counter to the muzzle grab. These techniques help recruits get familiarized with how to get the enemy off their weapon. It’s important for them to learn because it’s their rifle. If they go to combat it’s like their wife or girlfriend; they can’t let go of it, they must protect it.” 
    Recruits are introduced to MCMAP during phase one and continue to learn and reinforce their techniques throughout training. There are five levels in MCMAP; tan, grey, green, brown, and black. Each new level brings advanced techniques and greater challenges. 
    While a big part of MCMAP is learning the proper fighting and self-defense techniques, there is more to it than that. 
    “It also helps them mentally,” said Ramirez. “It gives them the warrior mindset and it helps build their confidence, which is very important to being a Marine, especially in combat.” 
    Once they completed the first portion of the event the recruits were formed up for a safety brief for the second event—Pugil sticks.
    Pugil stick training allows recruits to practice the bayonet techniques they learn through MCMAP.
    There are three levels of pugil stick training. In level one, recruits are introduced to pugil sticks and learn the safety precautions and rules of fighting. Level two brings more of a challenge as recruits must fight on wooden bridges approximately two feet above the ground. The final level is conducted in simulated trenches and confined spaces. 
    "We're finishing off this afternoon with pugil sticks two," said Recruit Martin Belden, Platoon 1003, Co. A, 1st RTBn. "It's harder than pugil sticks one because you're on a raised platform, the footing is more treacherous and you can fall off the platform easier." 
    Pugil sticks are heavily padded poles used to teach recruits combat techniques and develop their intensity and confidence. 
    When facing their opponent, recruits must rely on quick thinking and the self-defense techniques such as proper fighting stance, blocking and striking they have learned through MCMAP. 
    After a safety brief given by the instructor, recruits helped one another suit up with gloves, head protection and groin protection. It was the second time recruits of Co. A dueled with pugil sticks. 
    Like many other recruits, Belden never fought before coming to recruit training. However, through proper training, they’ve become ready to take on any opponent. 
    "I was a little nervous when I had to go up against two people but I did well and knocked them both off," said Belden. "It's all about being confident and aggressive." 
    As recruits of Co. A completed their Pugil Stick bouts, they left with important lessons that will stick with them through their Marine Corps careers. 
    "MCMAP prepares us for future deployments and situations we may face," said Belden. "It teaches us how to display aggression when warranted and gives us the confidence in knowing we can face and overcome any fears we have about close combat; we are strong enough to face our opponents."



1 Comments


  • Belmont 293 days ago
    very good...Fight On!!!

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