Everybody was kung fu fighting…

Quantico, VA. Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor Trainer Course waaaaaaaaaaay back in Oct 2001.
The major philosophy of MCMAP is the synergy of mental, physical, and character disciplines. Ideally, honing these three aspects develops a complete warrior.
How were we developed into a complete Martial Arts Instructor Trainer package? Mostly we had the living excrement beat out of us for seven weeks. We were punched, kicked, hip tossed, and hurled to the earth repeatedly. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like being struck with a planet, trust me. We brawled with bayonet trainers, batons, knives, and even tried to drown one another in the pool. Sometimes the air was saturated with a fine mist of pepper spray. Good ol’ oleoresin capsicum. Spicy! It’s an interesting experience to be low crawling face down in the ground and suddenly realize: “Wow, they pepper sprayed the grass for us!” It was a thoughtful gesture.
Bad as all this might seem, if you showed “…a little swing and a little hang…” with a splash of character and an aptitude to instruct, you would graduate. It was by no means easy though.
I had a chance to show some character once. During a sparring session my “partner” drove his knee through my groin directly into my spleen. The blow landed just to the left of any truly vulnerable bits but my brain housing group was convinced it was a mortal wound: “Warning! Warning! We’ve been hit in the junk with a jackhammer! Initiate thumb sucking immediately!”  
Portions of my higher brain function began to shut down and commence fetal operations. Alas, an irate command penetrated the static haze of “quit” engulfing me.
“You’re not done!” I looked over in disbelief at the source of this absurd statment only to see a black belt instructor trainer pointing at my opponent as if to say: “He’s over there idiot.”
Incredulous I would stop fighting merely because someone had punted my undercarriage into the grand stand, our instructor made feral noises in his throat indicating we would continue mauling each other. Denied the blessed opportunity to hug the mat, self pity and snot bubbles were replaced with a hurricane of punches and kicks. If I couldn’t wallow in pain I would certainly cause some.
I don’t recall much about the actual outcome of the bout itself but the lesson remains. Don’t stop fighting until the fighting is through. No matter how bad it hurts there is always enough juice left for one more shot.
Next time you are pushng the limits of your physical capability remind yourself:  Has your mind quit? Because your body hasn’t.
Semper Fidelis,
America’s 1stSgt
/ / / /


  1. “Next time you are pushing the limits of your physical capability remind yourself: Has your mind quit? Because your body hasn’t.”

    Strong words. Thanks. I will use that as I rehab my cantankerous spinal chord this coming month.

  2. “Wow, they pepper sprayed the grass for us!” It was a thoughtful gesture.
    It is called manners, isn’t it?

    At least it honed your humor to my liking. XD

    Seriously, learning to grid your teeth is a good start pushing boundaries. Especially personal ones.

    But whom am I telling this?

    Thanks for sharing this, with a touch of
    “Plain d’esprite de Marine”. =)

  3. Okie, show that spinal cord who’s boss!

    Levant, if Marines didn’t hone their humor all we’d do is complain! It used to get me in trouble as a young Marine but if we couldn’t laugh at our circumstances we’d have probably gone off the deep end.

    Magoo, ah impartial arts, see how it works for the good of all?

  4. Fixed speech act patterns employed in a verbal exchange are a phenomenon found in historical and modern texts alike. Although conventions change over time and from one culture to the other, ritualised exchanges seem to be part of the basic inventory of language usage, and so it is quite common to find similarities between the way individuals from various cultures engage in a verbal duel. Thanks.

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