by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Blackanthem.com, MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., August 31, 2005
The relationship between the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” became more formal as the Martial Arts Center of Excellence welcomed back the newest MCMAP subject-matter expert.
Ken Shamrock, the first titleholder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and former mixed martial arts world champion, returned to Quantico to teach his first clinic with Marines since the Corps designated him a MCMAP subject-matter expert for integration and combat conditioning training this summer.
The honor was bestowed upon Shamrock in recognition of his selfless and ongoing support of the Marines’ unique mixed martial arts discipline. Since 2001, Shamrock has volunteered his considerable skill and expertise to Marines on Okinawa, Japan, and here at no cost.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Shane Franklin said Shamrock’s continuing support has a tremendous impact on his Marine students.
“He motivates the young Marines,” said Franklin, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Martial Arts Center of Excellence. “They’ve all seen him fight on TV and pay-per-view, so they see a degree of credibility when you’ve got a guy who is a four-time world champion in mixed martial arts saying, ‘You’ve got a good program. Let me see if I can give you anything that may help.’ It’s something special. How many people get to train with a mixed martial arts heavyweight champion? It’s a unique experience.”
Franklin said Shamrock’s volunteer service is a remarkable act of generosity, as world-class fighters of his caliber typically charge from $2,500 per day to $5,000 for a two-hour session. As policy, the MACE does not pay fees to visiting experts or celebrities.
“He does it for free out of a sense of civic responsibility,” said Franklin. “Guys like Ken who know the difference between sport fighting and what we need to be able to do as combatants are great. The principles he teaches all relate to what we do. He understands that we are fighting with a flak, helmet, deuce gear, and preferably with a rifle and bayonet.”
Shamrock has expressed an interest in increasing his appearances to three clinics annually at various Marine Corps installations, and is currently considering participating in a United Service Organization-sponsored trip to visit Marines and other troops in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
“I feel very strongly about wanting to do that,” said Shamrock. “When you’re sitting here at home, you wonder, ‘What is it that I can do?’ Obviously I can’t join the Marine Corps and get in there and go fight, but I’ve got something God has given me, which is talent in fighting and strength. I’ve got all these things and I want to give something back.”
Shamrock said he admires the Marines’ fighting spirit and is humbled by the admiration many Marines have for him.
“When they say to me, ‘Man you’re awesome,’ and ‘You’re one tough dude,’ and ‘You’ve got to be strong. You can’t have any fear,’ I look at these guys over there fighting,” said Shamrock. “They’re doing it for honor. They’re doing it for their country. I just wish I could be there doing something for them, because they’re doing so much for us.”
Since his first clinic with the Marines on Okinawa in 2001, Shamrock has tailored his teaching to suit the modern war fighter, stressing quick and lethal moves best suited for combat.
“In the sport I’m in, we don’t have bullets flying over our heads and bombs going off beside us. We have a nice, clean mat to roll around on,” said Shamrock. “What the Marines face out there is a much different situation. When they’re getting engaged in hand-to-hand combat, they don’t have time to roll around in the dirt. They need to finish the person quickly and get out, so I teach them some of the things that hopefully they will be able to adapt into their (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program). This is the stuff that works.”
Among the moves Shamrock taught the Marines during his most recent clinic were throws from the standing position, an arm bar take-down to disarm and neutralize an assailant, and a neck-snapping ground fighting technique designed to quickly dispose of an opponent – permanently.
“From the time you engage to the time you finish him has got to be three to five seconds. You just don’t have that much time,” said Shamrock. “You either throw the opponent down or take them down with a body throw, and once they hit the ground, immediately snap the neck or knock them out. It is going to be clench, take down, and finish quickly.”
Corporal Mark Rumsey, Quantico Staff Judge Advocates Office legal clerk and MCMAP instructor, said he was impressed by Shamrock’s generosity to the Corps.
“He’s taking his time to do something good for us,” said Rumsey. “This helps to put the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program on the map and it’s good for recruiting.”
Like many of his peers, Rumsey said meeting a personal hero was an experience he will never forget.
“Everyone I talked to thought it was awesome,” said Rumsey. “Everyone I know wanted to go out and meet the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Man.’”
By Cpl. Jonathan Agg / MCB Quantico