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CLOSE COMBAT United States Marines learn Israeli fighting techniques

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Salvador Moreno, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

A total of 15 Marines aboard the station were afforded the opportunity to take part in a two-week -long Israeli Krav Maga course at the IronWorks Gym here March 22 to April 2.

Krav Maga translated means “contact combat” or “close combat” and is a hand-to-hand combat system which involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques. It was developed in Israel during the late 1940s.

This is the second time Israeli Krav Maga has been offered to Marines aboard the station. In October 2009 David Kahn, Israeli Krav Maga Association U.S. chief instructor and IKMA board member, was invited by Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron’s commanding officer Lt. Col. Tray J. Ardese.
He instructed a weeklong Israeli Krav Maga course here and was very impressed with the results and improvements the Marines made.

“Your analysis and feedback is invaluable to us,” said Kahn. “It’s mutually beneficial.” This visit is similar to his last. First off he is not here to teach just any Marines; he is here to teach with a certain criteria.

The criteria are to be a noncommissioned officer, staff noncommissioned officer or officer with a green belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

The idea behind the criteria this time is that these specific Marines have the skill set in place to easily learn the Israeli Krav Maga moves and retain them to teach other Marines in the future. Having a green belt or higher in MCMAP, Marines should have a better grasp of the knowledge of close-combat tactics.

Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Marines, Marine Aircraft Group 12, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, and Combat Logistics Company 36 all participated in the course.

“We have more time this time,” said Kahn. “With more time, you can add more techniques. Our philosophy is to do a few things very very well.”

Just like his previous visit, Kahn is teaching Marines techniques to combat knives, batons and firearm techniques as well as ground work and other situations that may arise in the field of battle.

“It’s defiantly an amazing training opportunity,” said 1st Lt. Michael Merlini, MAG-12 S-2 assistant intelligence officer. “It brings a level of training to help complement our MCMAP training.”

The Marines in the course were picking up the new moves fast due to the similarities in MCMAP.

The focus of the course is on actual combat situations much like MCMAP and was developed for the military for hand-to-hand and close quarters combat.

“We do street type training,” said George Foster, assistant instructor.

Foster was a former Marine in the Vietnam War and his defense techniques carried into his civilian career as a police officer.“This type of training (Israeli Krav Maga) is very important to have, especially with the type of combat we have today,” said Foster.

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