MACS 23 NCO trains fellow Marines to be martial arts instructors
By Tech. Sgt. Scott McNabb, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 17, 2010
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Blood, dirt, pain and pride ... the Marines are at it again.
No, it wasn't a stereotypical brawl that brought the Devil Dogs out to fight with everything they had in them, but a test of their mental, character and physical disciplines.
Those are the three disciplines of the three-week Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, the same disciplines Marine Sgt. David Claypool, a Marine Air Control Squadron 23 radio operator and MCMAP brown belt instructor trainer, pounded into the heads, bodies and souls of the Marines attempting to become instructors in the service's martial arts program here recently.
The Marines who attended the MCMAP course here asked for the opportunity to become instructors. MACS 23's newest MCMAC inructor trainers were selected from that group.
"We volunteered to get our asses kicked," said Marine Sgt. Dale Steinecke, a MACS 23 motor vehicle technician who was recently awarded the title of MCMAP green belt instructor trainer.
Martial arts have a long history in the Corps dating back to the creation of the Marines who incorporated martial abilities into boarding vessels at sea or in port. Since 2001, Marines have relied on MCMAP to give them the edge in lethal and non-lethal situations.
While the course does get rough physically, it was designed to incorporate a "continuum of force" system that allows Marines to escalate to the correct level of force in situations ranging from hand-to-hand combat to crowd control.
"You only use as much force as necessary to take control of the situation and gain a tactical advantage," Sergeant Claypool explained. "If you hit the guy and he falls over, you don't jump on him and keep going."
Marines also keep growing mentally by being tested in difficult situations that demand more than brute force to garner success, said Marine Staff Sgt. Albert Martinez, a MACS 23 radar operator and technician who was recently awarded the title of MCMAP green belt instructor trainer. He said that most Marines who participate in advanced MCMAP training - especially the ones seeking their instructor tabs - are in excellent physical condition, so by challenging them mentally they are forced to grow and overcome as a team.
Sergeant Steinecke said team building played a big part in the instructor qualification course. He said the teamwork taught in MCMAC spills out into their daily duty situations as well.
"Absolutely," he said. "I mean, regardless of what it is, for the most part you're gonna feel like if you work as a team, you're gonna be more efficient."
Claypool said the Marine Corps has no problem stripping someone of their certifications if they don't honor the core disciplines or get in some sort of trouble. He said the Marines he trained all know that and because they all strive for the opportunity to be an instructor trainer, he has faith in them and their behavior in any given situation.
"We're held to a higher standard by Marines, junior and senior, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard as well," said Sergeant Steinecke.
All Marines are required to get their gray belt and infantry members must get their green belts. The instructor course here helped the unit by increasing the capacity to train its members.
Sergeant Claypool, who has instructed members of every American military service as well as international military members and police, said the course is open to any Team Buckley military members, but that the person would need signed permission from their commander before they would be allowed to participate.
"If they come in and they join in as one of the students, then they're one of the students," said Sergeant Claypool. "It doesn't matter what branch, what rank, anything. None of that stuff matters once they're a student. When other units come in, we've gotta make sure both commands are on board."
While the next class date isn't set, anyone involved in MCMAP can expect more of the same - blood, dirt, pain and pride.