El Paso native earns Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor status

Cpl. Javier Carpintero, left, demonstrates a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program technique on a student on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Dec. 6. The purpose of MCMAP is to teach Marines fighting skills they can use in a real-life combat scenario. Photo by Lance Cpl. Savannah Mesimer, 3rd Marine Division.

Cpl. Javier Carpintero, left, demonstrates a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program technique on a student on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Dec. 6. The purpose of MCMAP is to teach Marines fighting skills they can use in a real-life combat scenario. Photo by Lance Cpl. Savannah Mesimer, 3rd Marine Division.

By Lance Cpl. Savannah Mesimer, 3rd Marine Division:

(El Paso, Texas, Dec. 14, 2017)

OKINAWA, Japan – Cpl. Javier Carpintero, a native of El Paso, is one of the motivated Marines who has earned instructor status in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Carpintero, a motor transport operator assigned to Headquarters Company, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, didn’t start off as the Marine you see today.

“When I first got into the Marine Corps, I had no interest in MCMAP. I didn’t really have a background in the fighting techniques so I didn’t even want to look into it,” Carpintero said.

Then-Pfc. Carpintero first became interested in MCMAP through one of his noncommissioned officers, Cpl. Maira Ramirez.

“She led a grey belt course which I had to attend, and I ended up failing it the first time. Failing made me want to study the grey belt techniques that much more, and I also wanted to make Ramirez proud because she didn’t give up on me,” Carpintero said. Eventually, Ramirez was able to belt Carpintero up to a brown belt.

Carpintero was then promoted to lance corporal, and went onto earn his black belt in February.

“I remember the exact moment I earned my black belt. We had been doing MCMAP for over two hours. I kept pushing, and just when I thought I wouldn’t make it, my instructor put my black belt on my chest and told me congratulations; I had earned it. Since that moment, I knew I found something I loved doing – MCMAP,” Carpintero said.

MCMAP courses are rigorous and demand 100 percent focus from each individual.

“I remember going through all of the courses, seeing and hearing all of the other students around me. They were so happy to be there, even when we had been training for hours. They never gave up on their instructors and that’s what motivated me to become an instructor. I wanted to be around the constant spirit of dedication and motivation. I wanted Marines to look up to me,” Carpintero said.

Carpintero was promoted to the rank of corporal Oct. 1.

“I had been waiting on that since I was a lance corporal. Not just because it’s the next rank, not just because I would be an NCO, but because I could be a MCMAP instructor,” Carpintero said. “The very next day I asked my leadership when the next course was, and requested to be put on it.”

Carpintero was quickly placed on the next instructor course in October.

The MCMAP instructor course is a 15-day course, which includes all MCMAP skills from tan belt to black belt, and then a little extra. On top of the belt techniques, the Marines perform physical training that puts them under the stress of a combat environment, such as carrying a casualty.

“The instructor course was challenging, but it really helped me become a better Marine and leader. I felt fully prepared to be responsible for passing on the Marines’ knowledge of MCMAP techniques,” Carpintero said.

The course ensures each Marine not only knows every MCMAP technique of every belt, but it also instills the confidence to teach Marines. You spend the entire 15 days training and focusing on every small detail of every technique to ensure the instructor will properly teach their Marines.

After earning the instructor position, Carpintero now spends 25 hours a week teaching Marines MCMAP skills.

“It’s tough, balancing work, personal life, and being an instructor. I sacrifice a lot of my time for the Marines in my courses, but I love it. Seeing their faces reminds me of when I was going through the courses, and I really hope that I inspire some of them to become instructors and carry out the MCMAP tradition,” Carpintero said.