Photo Information

U.S. Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, run during a martial arts instructor course physical training session at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 8, 2022. MAI courses certify Marines to instruct and monitor Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training and advance Marines in the program, distinguishing their levels of experience with different colored belts.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Gadiel Zaragoza

1st Intel Battalion MAI Course Pushes Marines to their Limits

29 Dec 2022 | Lance Cpl. Gadiel Zaragoza I MEF Information Group

 Every U.S. Marine is taught the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, but less than 10 percent of those Marines are qualified to teach it. Eight Marines successfully completed Martial Arts Instructor Course 22-23 hosted by 1st Intelligence Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, pushing the Marines past their limits.

MAI courses include MCMAP techniques, combat conditioning, and in-class instruction on different topics from warfighting to the history of the Marine Corps. These courses certify Marines to instruct and monitor MCMAP training and advance Marines in the program, distinguishing them with different colored belts.

“I joined for the mental and physical challenge,” said Cpl. Cameron Gottschalk, a radio operator with 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and the honor graduate for MAI course 22-23. “I’m really hoping I can live up to the standard that our MAITs in the black shirts set for us.”

“In order to be successful out there on the battlefield, we need to put those Marines in the highest stress environment,” Sgt. Avery Luengo, a martial arts instructor trainer with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.


MCMAP is a combination of mental, character, and physical disciplines. Training in these three disciplines while implementing Marine Corps leadership traits and principles, enhances a Marine’s capability on and off the battlefield.

“The character should already be in the individual, but we’re also going to emphasize the mental and physical aspects,” said Staff Sgt. Inain Torres, a martial arts instructor trainer with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division. “We are going to teach them how and why you lead your Marines in any kind of war.”

The 1st Intelligence Battalion MAI course prepared future instructors through extreme physical and mental training. Marines must prepare for any fight they may encounter. It is necessary to prepare Marines for times of close-quarter combat.

High Ground Photo by Lance Cpl. Gadiel Zaragoza
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Avery Luengo, left, a martial arts instructor trainer with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, and U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Alexis Flippo, an imagery analysis specialist with 1st Intelligence Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, conduct weapon-free sparring during a martial arts instructor course physical training session at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 8, 2022. MAI courses certify Marines to instruct and monitor Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training and advance Marines in the program, distinguishing their levels of experience with different colored belts.


“In order to be successful out there on the battlefield, we need to put those Marines in the highest stress environment,” said Sgt. Avery Luengo, a martial arts instructor trainer with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. “It is crucial to maintain those leadership traits and principles in combat, even while facing fatigue. That is how we will come out victorious.”

Many Marines attend the course to better themselves and the Marines around them. It is essential to train future instructors properly. MAI’s are entrusted to pass on their knowledge and experiences to the next generation while maintaining the discipline and lethality of the Marine Corps.