The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

MIxed Martial Arts for a Real Warrior

An instructor at Quantico demonstrating a disarming technique

Mixed martial arts can go beyond the realm of fighting in the ring. The marine corps has developed their own system of mixed martial arts, marine core martial arts program (MCMAP), to combat enemy forces in close quarter combat. This particular martial art covers many aspects of engagement because a marine has to be prepared for every type of situation possible.

One aspect of this fighting technique that sets it apart form others used in traditional MMA is the use of weapons and lethal force. This is because on the battlefield or in a real situation there are no rules and everything must be acounted for. However this fighting style teaches many non-lethal techniques in addition to the last resort lethal ones.


The MCMAP was implemented in the year 2000 by General James L. Jones the commandant of the marine corps. Being a Vietnam veteran he was inspired by the way South Korean marines were all black belts in tae kwon do. Therefor now all marines are required to earn a tan belt in the MCMAP.

Also in today’s modern warfare setting some marines are not engaged in direct combat. However the marines pride themselves on the fact that every member is a trained killer. The MCMAP is one way the marines keep every member in prime condition for combat, physically as well as mentally.

Training and Belt System

The training regiment for a marine in the MCMAP is, not surprisingly, extremely intense. The marines train with a monk like zeal; performing drills and tasks that would seam impossible to the average person, and then starting their training on technique. This type of training is for the soldiers benefit though because in real warfare one needs to be able to perform these fighting techniques in any condition.

This martial art also has its own system of belts. Every marine has to earn the most basic tan belt. However they are able and encouraged to keep training to earn gray, green, brown, and then black belts as well. There has been an entire MCMAP handbook written describing all fo the techniques of the art.

Non-Lethal Training

Of course the MCMAP focuses on real life situations for a warrior, but every engagement does not mean a lethal outcome. This martial art includes many types of chokes and locks that can be used to restrain  an adversary as well as basic and advanced striking techniques. These tactics are taught, and encouraged to be used in today’s military engagements especially, because who the enemy is is no longer an obvious decision to make.

Another aspect of the MCMAP that is stressed is the mental discipline. This includes teamwork drills and drills designed to break the warriors down. In addition to this though there is required reading to teach the marine about the past warrior cultures and spirit in the hope they will understand and embody this spirit themselves.

Lethal Martial Art

The MCMAP does also focus on many techniques that can be used in real war scenarios. The MCMAP teaches techniques for quickly and effectively incapacitating an enemy. These techniques include everything from knife fighting to bayonet training to eye gouging and pressure point attacks, because all if fair in love and war.

A Marine trained in the MCMAP is ready for any situation. The advanced techniques taught include disarming an enemy of a gun or knife. Once disarmed an enemy can be dealt with by using precise striking techniques or, more realistically, by knife or bayonet strikes. Of course this is their last resort, a rifle being their main way of delivering punishment. However it is a necessary part of the training of the elite fighting force known as the United States Marine Corps.

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