close combat

In this article from the Black Belt archives, retired Marine Leon Wright teaches military personnel -- and you -- the physical and mental techniques needed for survival in close combat!

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the January 2012 issue of Black Belt. As such, its time references have been left intact.They say there's no such thing as an ex-Marine, so it's not surprising that while the service record of a certain gunnery sergeant named Leon Wright says he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003, "private citizen" Wright has yet to complete the transition and ease himself into a relaxing life of golf and gardening. On the contrary, for the past nine years, he's worked as a civilian-defense-industry contractor, clocking as much time with the Marines in the combat zones of the Middle East as he did on active duty. In the spirit of the Corps' semper fidelis motto, Wright has dedicated his post-military life to serving his country and its men and women in uniform. So while his retirement job as a civilian "area site manager" has him overseeing the daily operations of numerous coalition forward operating bases in the no man's land of Afghanistan, Wright is engaged in a more hands-on activity to support his fellow Marines. It's an activity that combines his enduring sense of duty to the Corps with his lifelong passion for the martial arts: He volunteers his free time to teach a growing cadre of students his personal martial art, souseiki ryu sekkinsen shigaisen.

Martial Arts Credibility

Truth be told, Wright is not merely a guy who's generous with his time and happens to love the ways of mano a mano. To understand why so many students accept his pro bono offer, a quick scan of his résumé is required. With 41 years of experience in a range of Asian fighting styles, Wright is a 10th-degree black belt and the founder of souseiki ryu, an art that's formally recognized in Okinawa and Japan, as well as the United States. The recognition of Wright's art in the Far East endorses more than just the man. "The masters there are not as interested in the individual who founded the art as they are in seeing the students of that art," Wright says. "To them, the quality and character of the students determine the legitimacy of the system."

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