USMC Sergeant’s Passion Helps to Certify MCMAP Instructors

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, instructs Sgt. Bryan Mack (right) and Cpl. Steven Myint (middle) during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor’s course final field exercise June 26, 2016, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Instructs During Martial Arts Program Final Field Exercise

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, instructs Sgt. Bryan Mack (right) and Cpl. Steven Myint (middle) during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor’s course final field exercise June 26, 2016, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Ruiz graduated seven students from the course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, provides feedback to the Marine Corp Martial Arts instructor’s course students during their final field exercise June 26, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. provides Feedback to the Marine Corp Martial Arts Instructor’s Course Students

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, provides feedback to the Marine Corp Martial Arts instructor’s course students during their final field exercise June 26, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Ruiz graduated seven students from the course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

A U.S. Marine provides security during the Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor’s course June 26, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. U.S. Marine provides Security during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor’s Course

A U.S. Marine provides security during the Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor’s course June 26, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The MCMAP instructor’s course was three weeks long, six-days-a-week, 120 hours of instruction and covered lessons on mental, physical and character discipline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, briefs students of the Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor’s course during the final field training exercise June 26, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Briefs Students of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor’s Course during the Final Field Training Exercise

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, briefs students of the Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor’s course during the final field training exercise June 26, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The MCMAP instructor’s course was three weeks long, six-days-a-week, 120 hours of instruction and covered lessons on mental, physical and character discipline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, oversees students of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor’s course warm-up exercises June 24, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Oversees Students of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor’s Course Warm-Up Exercises

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, oversees students of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor’s course warm-up exercises June 24, 2014, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. “One mind, any weapon,” is the motto for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and means a Marine is a weapon, even without carrying one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka)

The late-night street lights shine down on the turf field tent as Marines of all ranks gather inside, night after night to learn crucial skills that could save their lives someday. These Marines are not only learning important martial arts tactics, but they are also learning how to be a martial arts instructor.

“One mind, any weapon,” is the motto for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, meaning a Marine is a weapon, even without carrying one.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Lawanda Ruiz, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Personnel office administration chief, MCMAP instructor trainer and native to Aniston, Alabama, has dedicated over 400 hours to helping Marines train to become MCMAP instructors at her deployed location of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, as well as her home station of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

MCMAP is a combination of mental, physical and character discipline. Marines must have a balance of honor, courage, commitment, professional military education, determination, and physical and mental strength.

Ruiz held an instructor’s course at Camp Lemonnier in June 2014 and graduated seven new MCMAP instructors. The course was three weeks long, six-days-a-week, 120 hours of instruction and covered lessons on tactics, the history of the Marine Corps and nutrition.

“The thing that we wanted to do during the Martial Arts Instructors Course was let everyone get away from the mixed martial arts mindset and put it into a combat mindset; full fighting gear,” said Ruiz. “Utilizing this course, I was able to show the Marines that regardless of their job they might be called upon to take charge and ensure the safety of military, diplomatic and civilian personnel [in East Africa].”

Ruiz completed the seven-week Marine Corp Center of Excellence Instructor Trainer’s course in March 2014; this is the first class she has taught by herself.

She couldn’t have done so well without the support of CJTF-HOA, Camp Lemonnier and her husband, USMC Sgt. Carlos Ruiz, Marine Corps Security Force Regiment, Chesapeake, Va., who is also a 2nd degree black belt MCMAP instructor trainer.

“My husband got me into the program; he gave me motivation and encouraged me to go to the instructor course,” Ruiz said about her husband. “I looked to him and he helped me so much with this first course. I was calling him every day saying ‘How do I do this? What would be the best way?’.”

Ruiz will finish her deployment at CJTF-HOA, return to the states and will then transfer to the Martial Arts Center of Excellence headquarters in Quantico, Va. where she will be training individuals full time to become instructor trainers.

“I want to show people the positives of MCMAP; I want them to tie MCMAP in with their careers, their lives, and use it to help make them be a better man or woman,” Ruiz said. “I just want to be able to say that I gave every student my all.”

Tags

U.S. Marine Corps Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

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