CLEVELAND -- Community members are able to get a unique look into the heart of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program during Marine Week Cleveland, June 11-17.
Techniques ranging from basic punches to complex disarming maneuvers wowed audience members in Public Square during a presentation, June 12.
“It’s nice to see the actual combat they can do with or without weaponry,” said Hillary Duchnowski, a Lakewood native at the demonstration. “It’s wonderful for the community and the city to see what these men and women do every day for their country. It’s very impressive.”
Duchnowski said she believes the sacrifice given by service members to protect American citizens’ freedoms and rights deserves to be recognized.
“It gives us a real picture, a reality check, to see those who put everything on hold and put their lives on the line to protect people they don’t even know,” said Duchnowski, who traveled from Parma to attend the demonstration.
Staff Sgt. Tommy M. Lee, a martial arts instructor trainer at the Martial Arts Center of Excellence in Quantico, Va., fourth degree black belt, and a Hernan, Va., native described the event as a way to show support for the Cleveland community.
“Cleveland’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, was hit pretty hard during combat operations (in Operation Iraqi Freedom),” said Lee. “It’s more of an honor to be out here to show Cleveland the Marine Corps supports them.”
Lee described Marine Week as an opportunity to meet the families and community that provide support for service members, as well as a way to give a sense of safety and comfort to the public.
“When you look at the military, everybody talks about big trucks, big guns and big planes,” said Lee. “A lot of people don’t know about hand-to-hand combat. MCMAP trains not only the physical aspect, but the mental aspect as well.”
Following the demonstration of martial arts techniques, Lee and his fellow trainers opened the floor for a question and answer session for community members.
“The best part so far has been interacting with the public,” said Lee. “Thank you Cleveland.”
The Marine Corps-style martial arts demonstrations are scheduled to continue Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.