MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Marines here conduct physical training on a regular basis. They hit the weights, pound the pavement and churn the water in order to keep their bodies in shape.
There is a group here that takes physical training to another level by combining normal PT and martial arts training.
The Marines formed this group to harness their minds and bodies while developing both their Marine Corps martial art skills and other close combat fighting styles.
“We were just looking to work out during lunch. Then we started to get more Marines joining us and slowly word spread,” said Maj. Kelly Grissom, South Asia desk officer, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific G-5. “Eventually, I started an email list so people would know when we’re going to be working out’"
Leaders like Grissom, who has trained with the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu team in Kaneohe, and Master Sgt. Francisco Noda, Korean operations chief, MARFORPAC G-5, who is a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor, provide the Marines with well-rounded instruction and an intense workout.
“It’s a full-body workout,” said Sgt. Andrew Francisco, plans and operations noncommissioned officer, who has been training in Muay-Thai kickboxing for nearly five years. “I always have a high [physical fitness test] and this stuff kills me more than any other PT session.”
What were at first only a few guys who all shared an appreciation of hard work and discipline common to mixed martial arts has brought in newcomers from all skill levels.
“We used to use a converted room in the barracks that the old MAFORPAC company gunny set up,” said Grissom, a 12-year veteran of Judo. “It was a small room with just a couple of mats. The battalion was able to buy some more mats and the [motor transport] and supply guys had the space to set it up. Now we have space to properly train.”
The Marines “roll” three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sometimes the workouts are structured with step-by-step instruction of more advanced moves. Other times the Marines
pair up and spar for the entire workout.
“This sport requires a total athlete with total body conditioning,” said Francisco, who, when not on active duty, works as a director of marketing relations for Los Angeles Mixed Martial Arts.
The Marines currently participating in this training encourage more of their fellow warriors to come and try it out.
According to Grissom and Francisco, whether a Marine is interested in training for his next MCMAP belt or one day fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship octagon, he can learn something at the dojo.
“In addition to honing the warrior spirit through physical adversity and strenuous PT, as well as internalizing the importance of consistent training, there is the raw physical benefit of the full body and cardio workout that MMA-type PT provides for Marines,” said Grissom. “We encourage you to come out and join us.”
For more information, contact Grissom or Noda at 477-8944/8948.