All the right moves

Okinawa, Japan 2002.  The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was still a new thing and Marines in the far east were exploring various styles of armed and unarmed martial systems.

In those days no one from 3d Marines was deploying to the Middle Evil. Instead they made us fight Ken Shamrock one at a time. It’s where I picked up all my best basketball moves.

My wife said she immediately recognized me above as my bearing and body language haven’t changed much in 13 years.

Shamrock was on base signing autographs and such and spent a little time with a bunch of MCMAP instructors demonstrating some standing grappling techniques. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

People will often ask: “What was he like? Was he a bad ass?”

He was very approachable and more than willing to spend time with the Marines, which we appreciated. Ken seemed capable enough to pop the average man’s head like a cork. He also had calves the size of my thighs. Of course, I’m generally more concerned with increasing my own capability than worrying about the badassery of others.

My thoughts on martial arts and MMA in general are well documented and you will never find me entering a ring or octagon to batter my face on someone bruiser’s fist. Though I feel having familiarity with open handed fighting is wise, I assume there is a reason ancient man started fashioning spears and eventually invented gunpowder. In the words of Robert Heinlein: “Specialization if for insects.”

Here is a photo of America’s SgtMaj entering his first MMA bout.

“No need to check my gloves Ref, we’re good.” Photo by Dave Sullivan.

In the book Gates Of Fire, the Spartans travel to the island of Rhodes in an attempt rally support for the Greeks. While there, they meet some Egyptian marines, one of whom begins to mock the Spartans for their short xiphos swords:

He refused to believe these were actual weapons Lakedaemonians carried into battle. They must be toys. How could such diminutive apple-corers possibly work harm on an enemy?
    “The trick is,”- Dienekes demonstrated, pressing himself chest to chest with the Egyptian Tommie – “to get nice and cozy.”

So when it comes to your personal training, be familiar engaging evil doers at every range.  You never know how cozy it might get. 

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj 

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