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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
MCLB's first female brown belt instructor certified

By Cpl. Denyelle D. Spillane | | June 19, 2003

A class of Marines, including only one female Marine, recently graduated from training as marital arts instructors. While the other Marines in the instructor course endeavored to attain their green belt instructor certification, this female focused on attaining the next level, the brown belt instructor certification.

Cpl. Theresa Barnes, travel noncommissioned officer here, completed the brown belt instructor course June 6.

While Barnes' sweet disposition may fool some, she carried her weight and occasionally someone else's with determination, strength and intensity.

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program combines the best combat-tested martial arts skills and time-honored close combat training techniques with proven Marine Corps core values and leadership training. 

It has been developed by drawing upon the lessons learned in combat by countless generations of Marines who gained this knowledge with their sweat and blood and then taught it to the next generation. 

The instructor course is designed to teach corporals and above to teach other Marines how to earn their tan, gray and green belts.

The brown belt instructor course specifically focuses on intermediate fundamentals and introduction to advance fundamentals of each discipline used in the previous belt levels, tan, gray and green.

In addition to displaying proficiency in the mental, physical, and character disciplines, promotion to each belt level has rank, time in grade, professional military education requirements, as well as the Marine's senior leader's recommendation. Rank prerequisites are tied to the belt ranking system to ensure Marines possess the maturity, judgment and moral character required for advancement.

A brown belt status can only be attained by a corporal or higher and a Marine must have all the other training requirements.

Barnes completed the course but not without having struggles of her own.

"It is a tough course," Barnes said. "There are many more demanding techniques that require more than 40 additional hours of training that are incorporated into the brown belt instructor qualification."

Previously a green belt instructor, Barnes had to keep up with her sustainment training for each belt level and retest for each of them before progressing to the next level.

In addition to the martial arts training, the Marines ran the obstacle course, performed body hardening techniques, took written tests, and spent time in the classroom reviewing procedures. 

The mission of the Marine instructor is to have the knowledge to give instruction on various martial arts techniques, demonstrate them, and evaluate the students.

Barnes also had to display proficiency in the other three belts before being able to wear her brown belt.

Set martial arts drills, field exercises and physical training schedules that varies with each level as well.

Though Barnes is much smaller than some of her Marine counterparts, she proved to be strong enough to drag and carry some of the heavier Marines in the course. She said that her favorite thing about the whole course was throwing some of the Marines around while practicing throw techniques.

Barnes completed rigorous techniques and training to accomplish her goal of being an instructor. After the pain and sweat, she is now capable of training other Marines for their tan, gray and green belts, in addition to her day job, of course.

"When a Marine needs to be trained, I usually go at the end of the workday and train them for a couple of hours," Barnes said. "Not only do they get their training, but I also stay proficient in my techniques."
For more information about the Martial Arts Program or how to become an instructor, visit www.tbs.usmc.mil or call Staff Sgt. Michael Zangare or Master Sgt. Brett Villarrubia at 639-5059.