AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq --
Marines with 8th Communications Detachment hit the mats daily for Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
MCMAP has played a major role in a Marine's training since 2001, and it has continued to remain a necessary training program throughout deployments.
Working twelve-hour shifts, we try to break up the monotony of the day, said Lance Cpl. Kyle Wiedenfeld, a data network specialist with the unit. We get out of work during the day for legitimate reasons, and this is one of them.
There are five different color belt levels for the Marines beginning with the tan belt and ending with the six degrees of the black belt. The entry-level tan belt is attained while enlisted Marines go through recruit training or for officers at The Basic School.
When we first got out here, almost all the Marines were tan belts, explained Sgt. Alphonso Tyler, a black belt instructor with the unit. We started training them right away, and now almost all of them are at least a gray belt.
After Marines receive their tan belts, they are encouraged to continue through the next belt levels of gray, green, brown and eventually black.
This is one of our final classes before we leave, said Tyler. Many of the Marines have already redeployed, so we are going to lose our instructors shortly.
The 8th Comm. Marines are currently running their green belt course after previously running two courses, including a brown belt course.
It's great exercise and it teaches techniques we can actually use, said Wiedenfeld.
At each belt level, Marines practice sustainment of the previous belt before learning new techniques for their next belt.
During testing, Marines are asked to demonstrate five moves from their current belt and all previous belts before testing out for the next level.
Testing is conducted by green, brown or black belt instructors within each unit. If a Marine is testing out for his or her black belt or a follow-on degree of black belt, they must be evaluated by a black belt instructor-trainer of a higher degree than what they are testing for.
I've been a black belt instructor since 2006, explained Tyler. [MCMAP] is something all Marines should be doing.
I would recommend MCMAP to all the Marines out here and in the rear, concluded Wiedenfeld. It's fun and good training.
Whether these Marines are training for their gray belt or black, they are all working as a unit, building morale while training together during their deployment.