Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Updated: Marines go to the mat

Updated: Have you read this? It's pretty good. Check it out.

Marines go to the mat�-�Special Report�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

From the 12/18 Washington Times, read about how the Marine Corps is using a hybrid martial art which combines Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Judo, TKD, and police defensive tactics.

If Col. Shusko has his way, every Marine -- and everyone near them -- will benefit from the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). Unlike men and women in the other branches of the armed forces, every Marine is taught how to fight hand-to-hand, up close and personal. "Every Marine is a rifleman. Every Marine is a martial artist," Col. Shusko says. For the first time in the U.S. military, an effort has been made to combine the most effective techniques of martial-arts disciplines from around the world into a single course of study -- MCMAP. Among the fighting styles appropriated for MCMAP, Col. Shusko demonstrates the grappling techniques of Brazilian jujitsu, which mostly consists of ground-fighting submission holds and joint locks that he likes to call "wristy twisties." These techniques are designed to control the enemy, to break bones and, if necessary, to kill. Col. Shusko also teaches throwing techniques according to the Japanese art of judo and kicking skills from the Korean style of self-defense known as tae kwon do. In addition, Thai boxing -- with its emphasis on elbow and knee strikes to inflict damage -- figures into the MCMAP curriculum. "We did not invent anything," Col. Shusko says, "Just took the best and put it into our program."

"Ever since Vietnam, the Pentagon has sought to enhance the image of its enlisted personnel, as perceived inside and outside the military. Although they lead the world's best-equipped fighting force, senior U.S. commanders have wanted to ensure that underneath the Kevlar and microchips beats the heart of a fighter who can prevail with little more than bare hands. "I want the Marines who take this course and then return to duty feeling, 'Now people are safer because I'm here,' "Col. Shusko says. The motto "One Mind, Any Weapon" is emblazoned on the T-shirt of every instructor at MCMAP, which teaches 184 fighting techniques and more than 60 character-building lessons. Like traditional martial-arts disciplines, MCMAP uses a belt-ranking system: tan, gray, green, brown and black. Every Marine is required to become a tan belt, and the highest rank is the sixth-degree black belt. The Corps currently has more than 217,000 active and reserve Marines serving today, and there are 10,000 green-belt instructors, who are qualified to teach and test tan- and gray-belt students. About 1,300 black-belt instructors are capable of testing students up to black belt. Col. Shusko, MCMAP's director since 2003, believes his is the largest martial-arts school in the world, with more than 150,000 students across the range of tan through black belts. He personally has seen about 11,000 Marines go though MCMAP training."
It's pretty interesting. Take a read...

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