April 27, 2012

Martial Arts: U.S. Marine Corps teach Luke Airmen

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Helmets sit ready for use during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program course at Luke Air Force Base. Luke Airmen participating in the course are put through combat scenarios, taught weapons techniques and given practical experience by sparing with each other.

Learning to defend against an attack is important at home or downrange. Luke Airmen learned how to do just that in a four-week course taught by the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a course designed to provide a wide range of experiences encompassing physical, mental and character disciplines. By combining the three, the goal is to get a well-rounded individual who knows how and when to use the techniques taught in the course.

“It’s important to cross train with all services,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Biel, 6th Engineer Battalion and three-year MCMAP instructor. “If fate has service members from different branches meeting one day on the battle field, they are more likely to call each other brother than to bicker about the small things that push all services apart.”

The program consists of four weeks of intense training including close combat as well as rifle and knife techniques. Students obtain tan and gray belts upon completion of the course, awarding them two of the five basic user belts.

The course took many volunteers who were up to the challenge, but there were a few dropouts.

“I signed up because I wanted to challenge myself,” said Staff Sgt. John Chambers, 56th Communications Squadron and one of 21 students to attempt the course. “I love working out and I felt this was an opportunity I did not want to pass up. It’s hard to show up the next morning and see our participant numbers drop from the first day.”

Staff Sgt. Charles Storr, 607th Air Control Squadron, spars with Staff Sgt. Jamie Ciciora, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program at Luke Air Force Base. Participants in MCMAP learn close combat fighting techniques, basic weapons movements, and character, mental and physical disciplines.

But there was more to the course than just practical combat application. Each day consisted of some sort of combat conditioning; the intent being not only to make the individual stronger, but to teach proper technique.

“The desired end result of all the training is to produce a more capable and combat-ready individual that can retain and spread the knowledge that is picked up along the way,” Biel said.

Though the training is hard on the body and mind, the students come away with combat skill and knowledge that can be used the rest of their lives.

“I believe every Airman should go through a similar course,” Chambers said. “When the opportunity comes around, do not hesitate to sign up.”

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jason Biel, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, leads combat conditioning during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program course.

Airmen charge with mock rifles while learning combat techniques during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program course at Luke Air Force Base.

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