Combat conditioning is about preparing a marine or recruit for the rigours of a combat environment.

Sgt Chris Steer

Successful PTs are also expected to show fellow marines the art of close unarmed combat so commandos can use the appropriate force for self defence or for restraint and arrest when necessary.

And the corporals learn about anatomy and nutrition – they need a good working knowledge of the human body. They also learn about the history of running, the nature of fatigue and the respiratory system.

“The ability to analyse movement is very important.

“You have to be able to look at a recruit very early on to see if there are any problems with their running gait so they can be corrected because they do a lot of running,”

says Sgt Steer.

During the course the corporals gain qualifications as a swimming teacher, pool lifeguard, boxing coach, rugby league coach.

They’re also expected to organise sporting events which, in the case of the latest candidates, included the RM mountain biking and ultra-fit championships.

As for the club swinging – which gives PTIs their ‘clubz’ nicknames and branch badge.

“Club swinging is a skill that dates back centuries and was developed as a way of doing physical exercise within the limited confines aboard ship,”

explains Sgt Steer.

“We retain it now as a link with the PTI branch of the past.

“It’s a definitely a professional course.  We don’t need to push them, they push themselves. The members of this course have worked incredibly well as a cohesive team.”