Staff Sgt. Daniel Vance, the operations staff noncommissioned officer in charge with IPAC Quality Control, Headquarters and Support Battalion, is just one of many Marines who has taken on the role as a martial arts instructor (MAI) who develops the professional warrior through the three disciplines of physical, mental and character.

Vance is a native of Sparta, Kentucky, a twon with the population of less than 300 people. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008, and in 2012, then Lance Cpl. Vance earned his black belt during a rigorous six week daily training schedule directly after the Martial Arts Center of Excellence (MACE) published the order removing rank requirements for belts.

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the U.S. Marine Corps to teach Marines the fundamentals of hand-to-hand, weapons-based and close-quarters combat techniques. However, combat skills aren't the only lessons learned through the program, MCMAP gives intangibles that enhance self-confidence and leadership abilities as well.

“Getting my black belt as a lance corporal was a big deal for me,” said Vance. “It motivated me to stay with the program.”

In 2016, Vance became an MAI and currently holds courses every other month.

The program is designed to enhance Marines’ self-confidence and esprit de corps, and foster the warrior ethos of the Corps.

“MCMAP is like building blocks, when you get to a new level, you just don’t stop,” said Vance. “You find more martial arts and focus on how to get into that warrior mindset. Focusing on the loose ends helps you become a better person and individual in the Marine Corps. It helps with better understanding.”

According to Vance, being around Marines is what he enjoys the most about teaching. Vance explains training Marines and seeing them motivate one another while enduring a little pain is rewarding.

One of Vance’s students, Cpl. Bryce Dillard, a training NCO with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, finds his teaching to be inspiring and motivating.

“He gives you what you give him, that’s the reason why I am motivated,” said Dillard. “He is very professional and straight forward. He is someone I aspire to be.”