Marine Martial Arts, Desert-Style
Over several years of covering the U.S. military, I have sometimes encountered a particular breed of exercise enthusiast I have come to call “the scorchers.” These individuals can be spotted performing strenuous workouts at the most sweltering times of day at military bases in garden spots from Baghdad and Kandahar to Djibouti. Some jog swiftly around remote perimeters of the base, others do calisthenics in the dust and sand.
This week at Camp Leatherneck, a stretch of barbed wire, tents, concrete walls and sand-filled barriers carved out of the Desert of Death in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province, I came across a new variant.
Standing in a small, sandy plot under the blistering sun, Marine 1st Lt. Matthew Frick, 25, of St. Charles, Mo., was teaching a group of Navy Seabees martial arts. “Let’s try the next move,” Frick called out cheerily. First rapidly and then in slow motion, he demonstrated with a partner how to grab, knee and toss someone who attempts to throw a punch. “Any questions?”
It was 110 degrees, and elsewhere in Helmand, Marines in combat were suffering heat casualties, but the “scorchers” were unfazed.
In T-shirts, boots and fatigues, the Seabees, working on their brown belts under the Marine Corps martial arts program, practiced enthusiastically, occasionally flipping their partner just for fun.
“These Seabees do convoy security, so they have to be able to defend themselves if something terrible happens,” Frick explained. “Fighting and sparring brings out a lot of confidence,” said Frick, who has a black belt in Marine martial arts — a mixture of judo, boxing, jujitsu, and knife fighting.
Asked about the weather, Frick only grinned. “It’s a scorching, 100-plus degree day. Beautiful, though ... ” He wasn’t even sweating.
Posted by: mjwies11 | July 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Fei_Hu | July 16, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: beowulf3 | July 16, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 12thgenamerican | July 16, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bklyndan22 | July 16, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RWalter2 | July 16, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JarHeadForever | July 16, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bush--notrelated | July 16, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bigforkj1 | July 16, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eringarcia1 | July 16, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kcfrick | July 16, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.