CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
For three weeks, Marines with the III Marine Expeditionary Force participated in a Martial Arts Instructor course led by the Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The course trained Marines to become Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructors, emphasizing not just the physical aspect, but their mental fortitude. The course pushed them to the limits of their endurance, making them stronger Marines.
“A lot of people think about MCMAP and only consider the fighting aspect of it, but it’s much more than that,” said Staff Sgt. Quinton King, the chief instructor of the course. “Marines learn how to mentor other Marines, helping them grow through discipline and the knowledge they pass on to them.”
Out of the entire course, the most difficult aspect was the rapid training tempo.
“It’s always a constant state,” said Cpl. Kevin Leathley, a machine gunner with BLT 2/4, 31st MEU. “You have combat conditioning through the day, classroom instruction, learning new moves, and then when you get home, you still have homework to think about.”
Marines progressed through the course, accumulating information they hope to pass on to their fellow Marines back at their units.
“You are nothing by yourself,” said Sgt. Josiah Sandel, a combat engineer with BLT 2/4, 31st MEU. “I couldn’t have done any of these things without these Marines besides me.”
The Marines faced a variety of events designed to test their endurance, while keeping their motivation up and pushing one another as a squad to success.
“We go through the course building squad cohesion, and it’s because of that cohesion, as well as having your squad members next to you - suffering alongside you - that helps push you past the pain for them, because you know they’re trying for you too,” said Leathley.