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Admin clerks battle for gray belt

By Cpl. K. A. Thompson | | April 22, 2005

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“Wherever I go,
everyone is a little safer because I am there.
Wherever I am,
Anyone in need has a friend.
Whenever I return home,
Everyone is happy I am there.”
-The Warrior Creed
By Robert L. Humphrey

Four Marines from the Air Station Installation Personnel Administrative Center gathered on the Headquarters and Headquarters squadron physical training field to test their warrior skills, and earn their Marine Corps Martial Arts Program gray belts April 12.

Cpl. Jason P. Silva, greenbelt instructor, H&HS, led Pfc. Jose E. Orozzo, and Lance Cpls. Christopher J. Officer and Jose M. Vigil, administrative clerks, through a five-day, 25-hour gray belt training course. Under a cloudy afternoon sky the Marines endured their second day of Combat Conditioning Drills, tan belt remediation and body hardening. The CCD’s play a large role in MCMAP training, according to Silva.

“The CCD’s are designed to fatigue the body and force them to focus mentally,” Silva said. “It should help them be able to perform these moves in a combat environment, push them to the edge of what they can do, and motivate them to keep going.”

Combat conditioning can also be used to encourage teamwork, according to Silva. Marines are forced to rely on each other when performing tests of strength and endurance such as squad pushups and “building a house.” 

“The Marines can motivate each other to go on,” Silva said. “They can make each other realize ‘I can do this and I’m going to do this.’”

After the CCD’s and the remediation of tan belt techniques are completed, Silva takes time to teach a core values class. Then, he takes the Marines through new moves step-by step.

“The biggest difference between the tan and gray belts is that gray is more technical,” Silva said. “There are also more reversals and weapons in gray belt training.”

The IPAC Marines still have three days of hip throws, counters to chokes and CCDs before they test for their gray belt. However, if they make it through training successfully, they will be going a step beyond the Marine Corps requirement.

“Gray belt isn’t mandatory yet,” Silva said. “I keep watching though. I keep up with the latest information on the training website.”

As the Marines toiled in the heat of the afternoon, veins bulging and bodies dripping in sweat from exertion, Silva shouts words of encouragement.

“I love this,” Silva said. “All I ask is that Marines come out here with a positive frame of mind. If they stay motivated and put out, we’ll have no problems.”

Anyone interested in finding more information on MCMAP training can go to www.tbs.usmc.mil and click on the Martial Arts link.
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