The Military and Martial Arts
I was a young lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa, Japan, when I finally decided to get serious about Martial Arts training. This procrastination nearly cost me my life.
I was on a date with a young woman Marine at a soba restaurant. It was my last night on the island, and she was taking over my platoon. It was a casual and fun night all up until the moment we left. Outside the door of the restaurant, we saw a young woman crying and sprawled on the ground. Her dress was ripped, and she was trying to gather the spilled contents of her purse. We, of course, helped her to her feet with her apologizing in Japanese the whole time. At the same time, I was gathering her things from the ground. I heard angry yelling. As I came to my feet, a seething man began shoving and screaming at me in Japanese. I understood none of what he was saying. My extent of the local language was limited to ordering food and responding to what I had only known till this point as a friendly and beautiful culture. This was neither. My mistake came as I was trying to decide this man’s intent. My mind was rolling as I tried to figure out if he thought I had assaulted this woman or if he was an angry spouse who thought I was interfering in his business.
In my distraction, and as I maneuvered the women behind me. I looked away from him. When I turned back to the man, I barely blocked his arms as he swung a cinder block at my head. The concrete block shattered on the ground, and through my shock, I realized that this man had just tried to kill me. He yelled and pointed at me and ran up some stairs. I knew in my heart that he was going for a weapon. This thought galvanized when I saw the young woman running off barefoot down the street. I quickly grabbed my date, and we hurried to our car.
During the next 48 hours, while traveling home, my mind replayed this incident many times over. Things were not computing in my head. This incident was nothing like the many fights I had as a kid. I was also a Marine. Supposedly a trained war fighter. I was an athlete. I competed regularly in triathlons and worked out daily.I was considered the best athlete in my Company. The question was, why was I so ill-equipped to handle this experience? And my resolve was that I would never let myself respond so poorly ever again. The study of Taekwondo and Krav Maga was my answer.
This conflict became the prod that set me on course for the next 35 years of my life and was the catalyst to a lifestyle that has been both satisfying and rewarding.
Military Service and Martial Arts have always gone hand in hand. Since ancient days learning to fight was the job of the warrior. Whether it was the Samurai of Japan or the more recent birth of Taekwondo led by General Choi of Korea, war fighters and veterans have been integral in the development and use of martial skills. The U.S. Army has adopted a combative program which relies heavily onJiu-Jitsu. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system involving hand-to-hand combat, team building, and morale. Krav Maga from Israel is used worldwide in military and law enforcement units. These systems underscore the reality that sometimes you have to fight with a weapon, fight to your weapon or fight to keep your weapon. Perfectly suited to the military environment.
– written by Michael Brown
Michael Brown is an eighth-degree black belt in Taekwondo. He has been serving his community in self defense training for over 35 years. Michael enjoys working with the Military, law enforcement, and civilians. He is a certified instructor of Krav Maga. Michael is a two-time world champion in sparring and a former United States Marine Corps Captain. He is a firearm safetyexpert/instructor who trains individuals in both concealed and carry techniques and in handgun safety. He also enjoys the occasional contracting with military units at Fort Bragg, NC.