For former Marine, it's all about style
Stars and Stripes June 16, 2003
EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Sgt. Anthony Brown is a bad man.
In his civilian job, Brown supervises death row inmates and is a member of the Jackson County, Mo., correction emergency reaction team and the hostage retrieval team.
And he’s a martial arts instructor.
As a member of the Kansas National Guard, Brown is assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 35th Infantry Division, which currently is doing peacekeeping duties in Bosnia.
When he’s not working with the signal battalion, Brown spends his evenings teaching martial arts skills to other soldiers.
Brown volunteered to lead the class because he believes troops need good self-defense skills. He disagrees with the old saying that one is not a solider without a rifle.
“To me that’s wrong. Arms, legs, mind — sometimes that’s all you have to use as a weapon,” he said.
During one recent class, he watched as Sgt. Austin Carlton fended off three attackers. Carlton and his classmates were practicing in case they ever find themselves in a similar — real — situation.
Brown starts his classes in a line up, teaching different moves. His students then pair up to see what it feels like with an opponent, although they avoid full contact. For a feel of a real punch, they turn to the punching bags.
The class of 24 has a mix of beginners and advanced students.
Twice a week, the former Marine passes along some of his martial arts skills, which he started developing when he was deployed to the Philippines in 1979.
He then boxed and kick-boxed for the Navy. In 1981, he finished second in a Korea-wide kickboxing tournament.
Brown has studied several types of martial arts, starting with tae kwon do.
“In order to get a grasp of what type of arts suits your person, you have to try at least three,” he said.
His favorite is kung fu.
“It’s a dirtier, more efficient means of fighting,” he said. “It’s a lot more ruthless.
“You don’t want a soft style. You want the toughest, the hardest style taught to the soldiers,” he said. “It is what’s gonna keep the soldier alive if it comes to hand-to-hand combat, style that’s efficient.”
Carlton, a novice, said he can already notice a difference. He says his balance has gotten better, and he now knows how to throw more controlled punches.
“It gives me a chance to discover muscles I didn’t know of before,” Carlton said.
He finds himself practicing even around the office, going over the moves from the last time.
“I can tell I can get more power although I’m just a small guy,” he said. “It helps you build confidence.”