Royal Marines' new swingers in town as PTIs pass out

Not only are they the Navy’s ultimate warriors, but they can twirl clubs in sync with their comrades.

Putting on a show to celebrate their passing out at the home of the Corps are eight Royal Marines corporals who completed the arduous 17-week Physical Training Instructor Class 2 course.

Friends and family at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in Lympstone also saw the eight green berets demonstrate sit ups, beam work, skip jumps, vaulting, and trampolining skills.

That was the end. Back to the beginning and the corporals had to undergo a rigorous five-day physical training selection, testing not just physical ability, but their academic skills, lecture technique and character while instructing a class.

Pass that and they’re enrolled on the course at Lympstone where they are taught not just physical instruction, but also diet, healthy living and even preparing for battle – known as ‘combat conditioning’.

“Combat conditioning is about preparing a marine or recruit for the rigours of a combat environment – where you might not have a lot of equipment to train with such weights or a gym,”

says Sgt Chris Steer, 33, who runs the PT2 course.

Students are expected to lead by physical example, demonstrating their own prowess.

Over the four months of the course they’ll climb more than 5,000 feet of rope – that’s higher than Ben Nevis.

The corporals are also taught have to deliver Initial Military Fitness which recruits do in their first ten weeks of training.

It’s based on a Swedish physical training programme involving synchronised fitness and resembles a mixture of parade-type drill and circuit training.

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.”