Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Marines go to the mat -- The Washington Times

Marines go to the mat -- The Washington Times: " 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. "

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