TERNATE, Republic of the Philippines --
Forged deep in the Philippine jungle, the knowledge of ancient martial arts techniques still thrives in the Philippine Marine Corps. Like the generations before them, the Philippine Marines share this knowledge with their fellow Marines, even those from across the globe.
Marines and Sailors with Company B., Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, learned the basics of the PMC Martial Arts Program during exercise Balikatan 2013 here, April 10.
The PMCMAP was created from fighting styles used by the Filipinos hundreds of years ago. By combining old techniques with recent advancements, the Philippine fighting style includes both tradition and adaptation in hand-to-hand combat.
“The Philippines has a strong history of using knives in combat, and it is our duty to ensure that the traditions continue,” said Philippine Marine Sgt. Eddy Mendoza, a PMCMAP master instructor. “Showing the U.S. Marines our traditions and way of life allows us to become a closer fighting force.”
To begin the training, the Marines of both countries formed into one large class with the PMCMAP master instructor leading the exercises. Each Marine was given a piece of bamboo to simulate a knife and crouched down into the fighting position demonstrated by the master instructor.
Following Mendoza’s lead, the Marines went through different combinations of attacks using their bamboo knives. Aiming at numerous vital areas of the body, the structured attacks looked more like a dance than a coordinated assault.
“From a distance it would look as if we were swinging a bamboo stick around in circles, but we were learning deadly knife techniques that could one day helps us in combat,” said Marine Sgt. Anthony J. Minas, an infantry squad leader with Company B., BLT 1/5, 31st MEU, and a native of Vona, Colo. “These techniques are not something that these Marines just made up; these are things that they learned through years of study.”
Once Mendoza taught all the basic combinations and the Marines were comfortable with the knife, he instructed the Marines to spread out and pair up. The Marines found their Philippine counterparts and squared off with them, testing each other’s skill in the techniques learned.
“All of the techniques in the PMCMAP were practical and were great to learn,” said Marine Cpl. Chase L. Vochetich, an infantry team leader with Company B., and a native of Parkfalls, Wisc. “Nowhere else could we get this kind of training being taught by experts in their own environment.”
The 31st MEU conducted the 29th iteration of exercise Balikatan, to enhance interoperability and strengthen the long-standing relationship between the Philippine and U.S. militaries. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.