Photo Information

Martial arts instructor students Sgt. Marquis Jones, right, and Sgt. Frederick Graham, fight in a weapons-free sparring match under the watchful eye of Sgt. James M. Ahearn, martial arts instructor trainer, during a Martial Arts Instructor Course aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, May 24.

Photo by Nathan Hanks

Marines complete Martial Arts Instructors Course

5 Jun 2017 | Nathan Hanks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Training and successfully testing for one of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program’s belts was not enough for several Marines aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.


They wanted a bigger challenge…to become a MCMAP instructor and teach their fellow Marines how to execute each technique correctly.


This was the end result for five Marines who fought, grappled and sweated their way through a three-week long Martial Arts Instructor Course sponsored by MCLB Albany, May 8-26.


Sgt. James M. Ahearn, martial arts instructor trainer, MCLB Albany, was the primary instructor for the course.


“The purpose of the course is to make Marine Corps martial arts instructors who will go back to their units and be a tool for the commanders to use in advancing Marines in Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and training their unit in combat conditioning,” Ahearn said. “The program not only physically challenged the Marines but tested their character, mental and physical disciplines through two written exams, tie-ins, warrior studies, MCMAP belt tests as well as ‘teach back’ performance evaluation tests.”


He explained a tie-in is any life-lesson, from facing fear to why family is important, that an instructor can use to inspire or encourage his or her students to apply to their Marine Corps career or life.


Throughout the course, Ahearn taught several warrior studies, which are stories of service members who were recognized for selfless or heroic acts in combat.


“The instructors are taught to use these stories to help Marines apply MCMAP disciplines, Marine Corps values and leadership characteristics in everything they do,” he remarked.


In addition, students not only had to show their understanding of the techniques but they also had to demonstrate to Ahearn they had the knowledge to teach the techniques back using the explain, demonstrate, imitate and practice method.


“Students learned how to safely conduct and referee events including pugil sticks, grappling, body sparring and weapons-free sparring, which is the integration of weapons in to fighting,” he stated.


Another important class was the components of wellness class which taught instructors how to properly sustain healthy weight management, according to Ahearn.  


“They learned about proper nutrition and how to prevent injuries to themselves as well as how to identify potential injuries for their students before they occur,” he pointed out.


Ahearn noted the students learned in the anatomy and physiology class about pressure points, the skeletal structure and arteries in the body and how to use the aggressor’s body against themselves.


Upon completion of the course, the Marines will have earned a secondary military occupational specialty 0916, martial arts instructor, he declared.


“This secondary MOS will separate them from their peers showing they have the capacity to take a leadership position and train fellow Marines in MCMAP,” he added.


Sgt. Frederick Graham, martial arts instructor course student, said he volunteered to take the course to give back to the Marine Corps.


“There are a lot of (Marines) who are searching for (instructors) to get them to the next belt,” Graham said. “This has been an awesome course it has been physically and mentally challenging.


“The most challenging part of the course is the mental (portion) because there were times you wanted to stop. (Sergeant Ahearn) was trying to get us past our fatigue and push through it.”

Graham’s advice to the other students was to “keep going through it because your true potential is on the other side.”


“I recommend this course to all Marines,” he said. “When you come here it’s more than just using techniques, it’s about what you know in the classroom and the knowledge behind MCMAP and martial arts.


“I will have to say this (course) will push you to your limit and then you will be able to identify what to work on in your life,” he added. “It’s been an awesome course. It’s just like any course in the Marine Corps it’s going to push you and challenge you.”


Graham said he accomplished his goal and now can help Marines get to the next level in MCMAP.


“I can now tell the Marines to do it because I’ve done it myself,” he concluded. “You can’t tell a Marine to do something if you have not done it yourself. That’s why my biggest leadership goal is to set the example.”


To view more photos from the local event, visit MCLB Albany’s Facebook page at:



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