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Staff Sgt. William M. Loushin, assistant operations chief and watch officer, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, gives directions to two grappling Marines at Combat Outpost Haditha, May 4. Loushin recently began teaching Marine Corps Martial Art Program gray belt classes and has also been instructing Marines in techniques used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muy Thai.

Photo by Cpl. Erik Villagran

Marines learn MCMAP, a little extra

4 May 2008 | Cpl. Erik Villagran

Marines in Iraq often take the opportunity to practice the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 are taking it a step further and are learning some other forms of mixed martial arts.

The Marine leading the training is Staff Sgt. William Loushin, assistant operations chief and watch officer 3rd Bn., 4th Marines. Despite spending the majority of his time planning and supervising the battalion’s operations, he has also carved out time to teach Marine Corps Martial Art Program gray belt classes at Combat Outpost Haditha.

“It gives the Marines the opportunity to do something,” said Loushin, 26, from Basalt, Colo. “After we finish, I’m hoping the Marines will be more excited about MCMAP and mixed martial arts in general.”

Loushin has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a MCMAP second-degree black belt instructor trainer. He also has experience in Muy Thai and combat submission wrestling. 

His plan to get Marines more involved in mixed martial arts seems to be working early into 3rd Bn., 4th Marines’ deployment. Marines who attend the MCMAP classes often stay late in order to receive pointers in the other martial arts. The Marines are learning how to strike, submit or choke an opponent until their foe gives up.

“The extra training keeps me very interested,” said Lance Cpl. Kevin Mederos, 20, an administrative clerk from Miami. “It helps me stay motivated to learn all the extra techniques after the gray belt class. It’s like a reward for working hard for my gray belt.”

After they learn new techniques, some Marines go head to head to see who can get their opponent to submit. They grapple all over the makeshift ring that is made of floor mats on the dirt. At the end of the match ups, Marines get up sweaty and covered in the Haditha sand.

“Grappling gets your heart rate going; you’re sweating bullets and your muscles burn,” Mederos said. “It leaves me tired at the end.”

Loushin plans to step up the training every month. He hopes to give a green belt course after the gray belt classes, and depending on the number of noncommissioned officers involved, he might run a brown belt class. As for the mixed martial arts training, Loushin will introduce new techniques throughout the deployment.

“I’m having a blast learning new things,” Mederos said. “I think he’s one of the best instructors I’ve ever had. I’m grateful just to get trained by him. ”

Besides training his fellow Marines, Loushin also continues to train himself in order to keep his skills razor sharp for an upcoming scheduled fight when he returns to the states.