Photo Information

Sgt. Shurron D. Thompson, a Marine with Martial Arts Center of Excellence, demonstrates an exercise during an exercise event called 'Chicago Moves' at The Daley Plaza as part of Marine Week in Chicago May 13, 2009. Marines were invited to the event to showcase their workouts and martial arts program in order to further their involvement with the city. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Seth Maggard/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Seth Maggard

Chicago Moves Despite Afternoon Showers

15 May 2009 | Cpl. Seth Maggard

Despite Friday’s constant rain showers and cold winds, numerous citizens braved the weather and came out to Daley Plaza here for an exercise demonstration dubbed “Chicago Moves,” which called upon Marines from the Quantico, Va.-based Martial Arts Center of Excellence, also known as MACE, to showcase their own version of fitness and self defense techniques.

 The day’s events focused mainly on exercise and personal fitness from group leaders from the Marines, Chicago Fire and Police Departments, an Army drill sergeant, and a few civilian fitness representatives from the Chicago Park District. The overall goal for the event was to inspire Chicagoans to “get moving” and follow a healthy exercise plan.

The Marines giving the demonstration wore their desert camouflage trousers, boots, and martial arts shirts and lead the workout, demonstrating cardio and strength-building exercises to seemingly enthusiastic participants. Face down on soaked granite, a handful of guests completed pushups among other rigorous exercise events led by Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructors below the main stage.

The Marines dragged out their safety mats and striking cushions and set them up near the main stage, inviting on-lookers to take part in a demonstration of self defense techniques. People joined the Marines for a short lesson, taking to opportunity to carry out various moves — punches, elbow strikes and kicks — on their instructors holding a strike cushion. A few Marines joined groups of attendees in an aerobics program presented by the Chicago Park District representatives while others shared stories, information, and signed autographs for several kids. The plaza echoed with chants erupting from formations of firefighter and police recruits completing their workout routines in unison.

 “One of our main focuses is to show the public we’re not in a dojo, wearing a gi, and to show them this isn’t a sport.  We also want to show them all of the aspects of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program — physical, mental, and character training,” said Sgt. Steven N. Richardson, an instructor at MACE.

 The mats began to shine with growing rain puddles as the two-hour event rolled on into the afternoon, hosting continued guests from kids to adults not willing to let rain deter them from a chance to learn from the Marines.

 “We strive to instill character in Marines that makes them good citizens, so we don’t only give them the tools to go out and harm someone, but to know when to use this and how to effectively use it, a responsible use of force,” Richardson said after teaching a short lesson.

 Apart from a good workout and wet clothes, the handful of attendees seemed to leave the event with a greater knowledge of the Marine Corps, their martial arts program, and what makes them who they are.

Friday’s demonstration was a part of a Marine Corps-sponsored event dubbed “Marine Week Chicago, which is currently underway with events scheduled through Sunday.

More information about Marine Week Chicago can be found on

Marine Corps News

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps