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Marines and local dojo put on show

Date Posted: 2004-03-19

CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa, Japan — Students from the Ryu Kon Kai Dojo in Gushikawa City were invited to participate in a martial arts demonstration on with Marines in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) Instructor/Trainer Course aboard Camp Courtney Feb. 11.

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and Ryu Kon Kai are two different styles of martial arts. Marine Corps Martial Arts incorporates many other styles, teaching unarmed combat and fighting with weapons of opportunity.

Ryu Kon Kai teaches Kobudo, a style focusing on the use of weapons. Both however, are very effective and use similar techniques to generate power, according to Staff Sgt. Larnell Mills, martial arts instructor/trainer, 3rd Marine Division.

The demonstration illustrated the skills taught to Marines in the MCMAP Instructor/Trainer Course such as unarmed combat, ground fighting, weapons of opportunity, knife handling, and bayonet techniques.

Mills said the Okinawans were afforded a rare opportunity by coming out and participating in the martial arts demonstrations.

“The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a skill created for Marines, so not many outsiders get the chance to see it,” explained Mills.

After the Marines finished their exhibition, they had a chance to sit back and observe some of the graceful movements of Ryu Kon Kai.

The Okinawans performed some of the Katas, which are fluid dance-like motions used to move through many fighting positions, and are fundamental to Kabudo.

The Kabudo demonstration consisted of Katas using weapons such as sais, nunchakus, boken, tomkins, and tonfas. They also showed how the techniques were used in combat situations by sparring with each other.

“It’s a very good opportunity to do a demonstration in front of everyone so they can see Okinawan culture and style,” said Mitsutada Iha, world bo champion from the Ryu Kon Kai Dojo. “The Marines here can see a real, traditional Okinawan style of martial arts.”

According to Mills, Okinawa is one of the oldest places for traditional martial arts and this inspires a lot of Marines to continue studying in other styles.

Demonstrations like this are held about once every two months in conjunction with MCMAP’s Instructor/Trainer Course.

The MCMAP instructors also train in other traditional forms of martial arts helping to maintain an excellent working relationship with the local dojos.

“The Okinawans take their art very seriously. It’s an honor to have them perform it for us,” said Sgt. Ronald E. Smith, ammunition chief, Battery M, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. “To be able to incorporate something like this into MCMAP is a very good thing.”

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