HIT, Iraq -- Lance Cpl. Jonathan D. Cobb is kicking his way to the top of the Marine Corps martial arts world.
Cobb, 20, a scout sniper from Colorado Springs, Colo., has been taking time during his second combat deployment with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 to hone his skills in Tae Kwon Do.
“I went to the U.S. Open for Tae Kwon Do in New Orleans in February,” Cobb said. “I lost in the quarter finals, but I learned that I was at the world class level.”
Cobb became proficient in Tae Kwon Do, a martial art that focuses on using kicks to defeat your opponent, with the help of his uncle. His uncle, a ninth degree black belt, helped open Cobb’s eyes to the sport.
“There are only fifteen ninth degree black belts in the nation. It’s Chuck Norris, my uncle and thirteen other guys,” Cobb said. “I trained with him and Master Chae. I’ve been training with Master Chae for nine years. He’s like a second father.”
Cobb has worked hard to get to this point in his career of Tae Kwon Do. He took his first class in martial arts at the tender age of 4 and began training seriously when he was 11 years old.
“I trained thirty-hours a week with Master Chae for the first five years,” Cobb said. “I hit black belt when I was 16 years old. Now, I’m a third degree black belt.”
Through it all, Cobb has stayed humble. His fellow Marines have noticed his modesty.
“He doesn’t use his talent to intimidate people or to try to get his way,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew T. Conde, 24, a scout sniper with 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, from Prescott, Ariz. “He talks about Tae Kwon Do, but he doesn’t gloat or boast.”
Some of the Marines serving with Cobb have taken advantage of his knowledge by training with him. Marines were impressed with his guidance.
“I’ve practiced with him,” Conde said. “He’s taught me a lot of things. He has a natural ability to teach.”
Marines who haven’t had an opportunity to learn from Cobb, have been awed by him in other ways. His stretching exercises and round house kicks left his Marines amazed.
“I saw him kick an eight- to ten-foot ceiling one time,” said Lance Cpl. Bryson M. Uribe, 20, a scout sniper with 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, from Kellyville, Okla. “I wasn’t going to mess with him that’s for sure.”
Cobb’s focus is on improving on what he already knows and preparing for his bigger plans in the future.
“I’ll be a master, which is a fourth degree black belt,” Cobb said. “Hopefully I can make the U.S. National team and open up a Tae Kwon Do school someday.”
Cobb’s aspirations may be large, but with the dedication he has shown, his goals will fall before him just like his opponents.