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Vargas
7/30/2003 1:02pm,
Here it is. Discuss!


European Stars and Stripes
July 29, 2003

Martial Arts Review Beats Up On Marines

By David Josar, Stars and Stripes

STUTTGART, Germany — At 8 a.m., the mercury was still in the low 70s, but for the 40 or so Marines wrestling, punching and kicking their way through a martial arts review, training wasn’t any easier.

By the end of the 90-minute drill, three Marines would be too weak or beat up to continue the first combat conditioning drill of martial arts skills that Marines Forces Europe has had in months.

“It’s tough. It’s hard. You want to simulate combat,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Reidel, one of the Marine instructors who pushed other Marines through the exercises.

In October 2000, the U.S. Marine Corps revamped its martial arts training. The program now gives every Marine a basic sense of martial arts skills, which incorporate the moves of various types of disciplines, and individuals can move up a system of belts from tan through various levels of black.

At the end of last Friday’s session, Marine Cpl. Billy Grant was wheezing, red-faced and soaked with sweat. “It was bad, but I knew it would be bad,” Grant said. “You just have to get through it. This is never easy.”

During the drill, Marines crawled on their bellies while carrying other Marines on their backs, exchanged hundreds of punches and kicks with their partners, participated in mock knife battles and flipped other Marines to the ground.

The training is hard, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Jose Garcia, who led the training and also is the operations director for Marine Forces Europe Headquarters. During his initial classes, he said, he broke his foot.

After warming up, the Marines split into two groups. One was the tan belts, the lowest level, and the other was the gray belts, the next higher skill level.

Garcia blew his whistle to signal Marines to move to the next station scattered over Panzer Casern. The Marines got little rest between stations and were urged to punch and kick intensely.

They all wore flak vests and carried protective pads.

Garcia was right when he predicted that near the end of the morning session, after which most of the Marines returned to their assigned duties, the men and women would be at or near their exhaustion point.

Several Marines were too weak to crawl and carry their partners on their backs at one station, and another Marine began to vomit from exhaustion.

Instructors constantly yelled at the Marines to motivate them.

Reidel’s favorite motivator was to ask fatigued Marines if they were hurt or injured.

If they were hurt, he told them that was only emotional and they could continue; but if they were injured, he said, they should get medical attention.

Other instructors recalled Iraq and told the Marines to imagine they were pulling someone to safety.

The message seemed to work.

“You don’t want to fail,” said Grant. “You just push yourself as far as you can go.”


"Go cry about it Vargas. Aren't you late for your shift at McDonald's?"

Justme
7/30/2003 1:10pm,
I am ex-Army, but I have to admit the Marine's train very hard. Hey, Vargas have you checked out any of Hackworths articles "supposdely" from Marines complaining about Army units not taking things seriously? I know Hackworth has to be taken with a grain of salt, but they seemed to be some good articles.

www.hackworth.com

Edited by - justme on July 30 2003 13:11:39

Goojeanleans
7/30/2003 1:11pm,
I can almost guarantee they don't stress the importance of breathing.

You've gotta remember that even though these guys are Marines, most of them are also 18 years old and fresh out of high school with little or no martial arts training. The part about vomiting only comes up when you aren't breathing correctly.

The Marine Corps is using a program that is external only, and doesn't use any of the other training tools that people who have done martial arts their whole lives have figured out, like breathing exercises, intense stretching, balance drills, etc. The Marines use a mostly "move based" system which is probably lacking in training of correct breathing during combat.

Vargas
7/30/2003 1:23pm,
Hey Justme, thanks for the input. Yeah, I actually met Hackworth once and I've read a lot of his stuff. He strikes me as a pretty nice guy, but he would have been better off if he had just stayed a first sergeant or company commander. He doesn't have the political skills that being an army colonel demands and he pretty much admits that in his books.

Some of his criticisms are on-target, but a lot of his articles could use a lot more fact-checking before they went to print. Kind of a 'ready, fire, aim' kind of writer, know what I mean?

I've heard some not-so-flattering things about the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, but I will reserve final judgement until I've actually sparred with MCMAP-trained fighter.

"Go cry about it Vargas. Aren't you late for your shift at McDonald's?"

Boffo
7/30/2003 1:28pm,
The Marine Corps is using a program that is external only, and doesn't use any of the other training tools that people who have done martial arts their whole lives have figured out, like breathing exercises, intense stretching, balance drills, etc. The Marines use a mostly "move based" system which is probably lacking in training of correct breathing during combat.

So what? So what if they don't stretch into splits or breathe in properly mediated sequences, they yell and kick your ass. I'll take a marine trained this way for 6 weeks over a college student trained in 6 years of Tai Chi any day of the week.

As for balance training, you obviously have never seen a military obstacle course, have you?

Blad3
7/30/2003 1:47pm,
lol they definitely seem to train you hard. I wonder what the hand to hand combat was like?

"wrestling, punching and kicking" Oh really WRESTLING? If they fought each other it would have looked a lot like....oh I dunno... MIXED MARTIAL ARTS?

"If you don't know how to Grapple/Wrestle you don't know how to fight, that's the prerequisite to fighting" - David Tank Abbott. (http://www.bisons.net/bisons/training/necessity_of_competition.html)

Freddy
7/30/2003 2:10pm,
What do others think about the military's L.I.N.E. traing program. Its suppose to give you quick fighting abilties similar to the Marines hand to hand combat training. Its also suppose to make be able to fight effectively in a stressful situation despite the adrenaline rush. My cousin was telling about it.




"Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law"
Anton LaVey made me say it!