Hereâ€™s a design we did recently for the local recruiters here in Virginia. It was inspired, like this blog, by the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. It reminded me of a conversation I had when I was hired for a job in Virginia. One of my co-workers commented that he couldnâ€™t picture me as a Marine, because, as he put it, â€œI was too nice.â€
I assured him that Marines, in general, are very nice people. Theyâ€™ll gladly hold a door open for most anyone, and will courteously address strangers politely as "sir" or "maâ€™am." Plus, when youâ€™re in a jam, having a Marine at your side is very reassuring. â€œButâ€, I told my coworker, â€œyou just donâ€™t want to pick a fight with one.â€
This has never been truer than today. Recently I was delivering shirts to the Martial Arts Center of Excellence. As I was pulling up in my truck with the boxes in the back, I noticed there was a Martial Arts Instructor Trainer course going on. Marines were lined up in an orderly fashion in boots and utilities with fighting stations set up throughout the sparsely wooded area. The notion was that they had to go through a series of these stations, doing punching and kicking drills until they completed the course.
Oh, and they had to get sprayed directly in the eyes with pepper spray before starting the course.
It was a sight to behold. From the neck up, they looked about like the rest of us would - grimacing in agony with all the appropriate grunts that the occasion required. From the neck down, however, they were in perfect discipline, each one punching and kicking their way through the course as if on autopilot. I couldnâ€™t help but marvel at the spectacle. I was well aware that if anyone had shot me in the eyes with pepper spray, my reaction would have been more akin to curling up in a fetal position and muttering something about wanting to go home. Not these Marines, though. Itâ€™s hard to imagine that theyâ€™ve ever made them tougher.
As I started to unload the heavy boxes, several of the Marines going through the training came over to help me. Even though their physical requirements for the day were far beyond mine - it was only a few boxes - their sense of propriety would have been offended had I carried all the boxes myself. They couldnâ€™t let a civilian carry their load. That would have been rude.