Tuesday, January 02, 2007

FAQ on the MCMAP

The Marine Corp's Martial Arts Program has been posted on before, here at TDA Training, but we've never covered what it is, or why it is. That will change. I will post, over the next few weeks, articles, links, and featured techniques of this young martial art. To start, here is the Frequently Asked Questions on the MCMAP. Here is a link to a new version of this.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

1. Why is this program needed?
The Marine Corps Martial Arts program is an evolutionary program building upon our rich traditions and proven ethos. Our Commandant recognized that with the changing nature of modern warfare as well as changes in today’s society there was a need for a program that would tie together all that is good in the Marine Corps. Our battlefield prowess is legendary, our history of developing leaders is unparalleled, and Americans have always identified a Marine as a person of the highest character. This program takes the best of our past with the innovation of the future and blends them into a seamless training system. With the successful implementation of this program we will enhance the personal development of each Marine in a team framework. Designed to enhance unit cohesion, esprit de corps, and combat effectiveness, it will help mitigate the human dimension and environmental factors of combat. Further it will be a program that will excite young Marines about their profession while increasing readiness and instilling a warrior ethos.

2. What does this program hope to accomplish?
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program builds upon the success of the transformation and “Crucible” at recruit training and will produce a successful and ethical Marine warrior who has developed “integrity” of self, and who is the successful union of mind, body, and spirit (character). Marine Corps Martial Arts Program will produce a society of ethical warriors whose integration of self extends beyond themselves to the unit, the Marine Corps, and the nation as a whole.

3. How much money is this going to cost to implement?
Initial expenditures for the program in FY 00 were $173,000. The proposal for FY 01 is $1.3m with an annual sustainment thereafter of $225,000 annually. The inherent value of this program contrasts starkly with the monetary cost. We take the best of what already exists in the Marine Corps, namely our resident leadership expertise, our tradition of innovation, our battle proven training techniques and our drive for self-improvement, and combine them with a modest amount of gear. This results in an extremely high return on the investment.

Additionally, there will be one a time cost to modify existing training facilities and build several new types of training facilities at all entry level schools.

4. Won’t this just make Marines more aggressive and violent?
The Marine Corps makes Marines who are capable of winning the nation’s battles. To do this we have always taught Marines how to fight. A fighter without principles and discretion is merely a bully. A Marine warrior is an individual whose strength of character and mental discipline rivals his strength of arms. The difference that this program brings to the Marine Corps is it develops Marines as principled warriors who are aggressive in combat but who are imbued with the ability to deal with the moral dimensions of war and ethical decisions of life.

5. What martial art is this new style primarily based upon?
While borrowing specific techniques from various established martial arts, our program has many techniques that are unique. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is rooted in our credo that every Marine is a rifleman capable of engaging the enemy anywhere from 500 meters to 500 millimeters. The doctrine of this program has been refined in the crucible of combat through the experiences of combat veterans, and is guided by the input of several Subject Matter Experts. It is a weapons based system unique unto itself because it is based upon weapon systems, combat equipment, physical challenges and tactics not found outside the combat environment.

6. What emphasis will be placed on an individual’s character development?
It has been said, “there are two powers in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run, the sword is always defeated by the spirit.” The spirit of the Marine warrior will always guide and control the “power of his sword.” Thus in addition to the physical disciplines associated with other martial arts, our program places an equal emphasis on training in the mental and character disciplines. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program fuses the physical disciplines of combat with the leadership and core values training that are the hallmark of our Corps. This synergy of training will create a warrior who will embody all that is best in our Country and Corps, a United States Marine.

Highlights of the character development include “Warrior Case Studies” which examine the actions of individual Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipients in order to explore the ideals and values the make an ethical warrior. “Martial Culture Studies” examine warrior societies of the past to draw on their experiences thereby enhancing our understanding of the importance of character to a warrior and a martial society. In addition, a Marine’s sense of duty as a citizen is deepened by service to the community through any of a number of pre-existing programs.

7. When does the program begin?
Implementation has already begun. A cadre of instructors is trained and beginning Phase I implementation training throughout the Marine Corps in October 2000.

8. Were the previous programs failures? Why is this different?
The Marine Corps Martial Art Program is part of an evolutionary process. It builds on the success of and continues the evolution of the LINE and Close Combat programs, yet is unique in its integration of the mental, physical, and character disciplines. This program will be inculcated into the Marine culture through introduction at entry level schools, with a strong sustainment program at the unit level, by the use of a belt system, competitions, and linking martial arts to other required training. A complete package in response to the needs of the Marine Corps and society, this program will become central to the ethos of the Corps.

9. How will Marines accomplish these goals and still have time to work?
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is all encompassing and will become part of a Marine’s work and central to their “duties.” By incorporating all facets of current Marine Corps training, the amount of additional hours required will have minimal impact upon the existing operational tempo. The physical skills will become a component of daily Marine Corps physical fitness and mental and character discipline training is already a part of a Marine’s daily routine. This program is simply a philosophical shift in how we conduct this training. In addition, this program will be the first time we see required Marine Corps training offered in an after-hours environment through the Semper Fit program.

10. What are the warrior case studies and where are they drawn from?
To properly instill the warrior spirit, leaders must ensure that Marines understand their responsibility as warriors. This includes the fact that each Marine is accountable for maintaining and contributing to the legacy of valor established by the sacrifices of those Marines who proceeded us. This is the purpose of the Warrior Case Studies. Through the use of individual case studies we show examples of Marines who were endowed with and displayed the warrior spirit. The Warrior Case Studies are taught to Marines at the Tan and Gray Belt level, and are part of the initial step of developing the Marine Warrior. Warrior case studies involve guided discussions based upon the citations and personal histories of Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipients. In addition to the incredible valor and warrior spirit exemplified by all Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipients, the particular cases discussed were chosen for their close combat experiences.

11. Why study martial cultures of varied backgrounds?
The Martial Culture Studies examine warrior societies of the past to draw on their experiences thereby enhancing our understanding of the importance of character to a warrior and a martial society. Our nation is relatively young, and the people that make up the Marine Corps have varied ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. By studying various martial societies, we can illustrate to the Marines that this legacy belongs to all of us. Also, the Martial Case Studies will reinforce to Marines that there has never been a successful martial culture that was not also based on principle.

12. How will this help recruiting and retention?
For reasons they may not fully understand themselves, America’s sons and daughters join the Marine Corps in response to the age-old call to the brotherhood of arms. They come seeking the challenge of being a Marine. They come to hone their sense of belonging. They come to test their courage. They seek to strengthen their physical, mental, and emotional selves. They come to be warriors. Beginning at entry level training we develop these traits in order to give the new Marine what they need to be successful, namely, the moral courage to do what is right, and the strength to see it through. In the past, our successful recruiting campaign has focused on the intangibles of being a Marine. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program capitalizes upon and develops these intangibles and provides the potential Marine with an even more powerful example that a Marine embodies the way of life that they seek. In short, they will see in the program that which they joined the Corps to become. As for retention, this program will rekindle the passion of Marines currently on active duty by fulfilling the need that brought them into the Marine Corps in the first place. For new Marines the program is designed to be progressive and sustain them from “cradle to grave.”

13. How many other programs were tested?
Two specific programs were tested. One was an enhanced version of the Marine Corps Close Combat system. It focused primarily on the physical discipline in order to validate its ability to fold into our proven leadership and core value training programs. SportsMind presented the second program, Marine Warrior. This program used mind-body-team techniques to create a new, more comprehensive form of human performance technology. Both programs were evaluated, and while neither was adopted in its final form, they both contributed in part to the hybrid program we now know as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. The fact that this evaluation process occurred is consistent with our long Marine tradition of experimentation. The end result may not be exactly what we wanted but the process of experimentation offers many lessons for the future.

14. How many Marines are trained so far?
Outside of the initial instructor cadre, no Marines have been qualified under the new system. Implementation will begin initially at entry level training and be phased in Corps-wide over the next year

15. Will Navy personnel assigned with the Marines be trained in this too?
Yes. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was developed by Marines to become an integral part of training and enhance readiness. As part of the Navy and Marine Corps Team, Navy Corpsmen and other naval personnel assigned to the Marine Corps will participate in the Martial Arts program. Our Navy Brethren have fought and died beside Marines for 225 years and will continue to do so in the future. Nothing better exemplifies this idea than the fact that one of the six figures raising the flag on Iwo Jima was a Navy Corpsman. Besides Navy personnel assigned with the Marine Corps this program has the potential to expand beyond the Marine Corps into the joint arena.

16. What makes this new martial art more applicable to the battlefield than other, older martial arts?
Unlike other, more traditional martial arts, this program begins with the Marine’s basic weapon, the rifle and bayonet, transitioning from assault fire and flowing through the integrated continuum of the rifle/bayonet, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and ending potentially in unarmed combat. It is battlefield oriented, combat equipment based and develops in the Marine the ability to overcome physical hardship and physical obstacles (water survival, assault climber, cold weather training) under any climatic condition. It will develop a physical toughness in every Marine that will translate into mental toughness. It will produce a Marine who possesses combat fitness and the ability to handle any situation.

17. How does the belt system work?
The belt system is comparable to other martial arts in that it is a graded progression from basic to advanced skills in fighting techniques. What makes this system unique is the requirement for the Marine to display equal mastery of the mental and character disciplines.

The type of belt and colors selected differ from traditional martial arts, to be unique to the Marine Corps and become a part of our distinctive utility uniform.

The progression is as follows:

Tan - basic fundamentals of the mental, physical and character disciplines.
Grey - basic fundamentals and introduction to intermediate fundamentals of each discipline.
Green - intermediate fundamentals of each discipline. (Qualified to attend Instructor Course.)
Brown - intermediate fundamentals and introduction to advance fundamentals of each discipline.
Black - advance fundamentals. (Qualified to attend the Instructor Trainer Course.)
Advanced Black - advance skills and Instructor-Trainer qualified.

In addition to displaying proficiency in the mental, physical, and character disciplines, promotion to each belt level has rank, time in grade, age, Professional Military Education requirements, as well as the Marine’s senior leader’s recommendation.

18. How long does it take for someone to earn a tan belt?
To earn a tan belt requires 27.5 hours of supervised training. This normally occurs at entry-level training for both enlisted Marines and officers. During initial implementation of the program the 27.5 hours of training will be done throughout the Marine Corps for those Marines currently on active duty.

19. Black Belt?
To earn a Black Belt requires a Marine to be a sergeant or above, as well as complete 247.50 hours of supervised training. This equates to the cumulative training and experiences a Marine will accumulate in 3 to 4 years of service. This will be a Marine who has completed several leadership development schools, who has been recommended and promoted on four occasions within the Marine Corps rank system, who has been tested and mastered the techniques of four previous belt rankings, has demonstrated maturity, sound judgment, impeccable character, and has proven himself as a leader.

20. Why are there rank prerequisites for earning the higher belts?
Tan – entry level training.
Grey – no rank requirement.
Green – Corporal and above.
Brown – Corporal and above.
Black – Sergeant and above.

Rank prerequisites are tied to the belt ranking system to ensure Marines possess the maturity, judgment and moral character required for advancement. This will ensure that as a Marine develops the physical skills to make them lethal warriors, they also develop a commensurate level of maturity and self-discipline. In addition, once a Marine attains Green belt or higher, the Marine is eligible to attend the Instructor Course, and later as a Black belt, the Instructor-Trainer Course. These two special qualifications within the belt ranking system require that the individual not only have mastered the belt requirements, but have the ability to teach as well. Teaching the principles of the mental, physical and character disciplines requires an understanding that cannot be grown overnight, but is a product of time and experience. The same years of training and guidance necessary to develop the Marine martial artist parallels the training and guidance required to develop future Marine Corps leaders. Thus the Marine Corps rank system and the martial arts belt system are inextricably linked.

21. Is this going to be a requirement for all Marines? Any age limits?
Like the current Marine Corps physical fitness program, there are no age limits. This program will be available to all Marines. As part of the phased approach to implementation the Commandant of the Marine Corps has set goals which will eventually result in all Marines participating in this program.

22. How many instructors are needed for this program to work?
There is no specific number. The heart of this program resides at the NCO and SNCO ranks. This sets the tone for the long-term responsibilities for the program. This is consistent with the way the vast majority of skills are taught in the Corps. Over the long-term, NCOs and SNCOs involved in this program will benefit not just in their ability to teach important warfighting skills, they will benefit in the improvement of their perceived “expert power” in the eyes of the forty-nine percent of the Marine Corps who are lance corporals and below, our youngest, most impressionable Marines. Sustainment and day-to-day administration relies primarily on the unit’s organic NCOs and SNCOs, and unit’s organic instructors. By putting this program into the very capable hands of the NCO and SNCO ranks of the Marine Corps we will see a rapid and more widespread adoption of this program.

23. What precludes Marines from abusing the techniques they’ve learned?
The Marine Corps Martial Arts program fosters the development of a Marine as a whole person in order to develop the Marine as a responsible warrior. Above and beyond the physical skills being taught, the mental and character disciplines give the Marine the skills to understand how and when to use those physical skills. Areas taught include the following subjects.

Personal and Family Affairs
Safety, Risk Management, and Combat Readiness
Responsible Use of Force
Warrior as a Gentleman

The components of the character discipline will be linked to those of the other two disciplines (mental and physical) as well as to the advancement process within the belt ranking system. Commanders by their recommendation will certify that the Marine has met annual training requirements, the prerequisites of each specific belt level and that the Marine possess the maturity, judgment and moral character required for advancement. This will ensure as a Marine develops the physical skills to be a lethal warrior, the Marine also develops a commensurate level of maturity and self-discipline. In the end, we want a Marine who thoroughly understands the professional lethality of war but for whom its abuse or misuse is abhorrent.

24. Do you expect injuries to arise? How will you combat that?
Safety is an integral component of all three disciplines of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. As warriors our profession is inherently dangerous. Like other parts of Marine Corps training, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program has identifiable risks and the potential for injuries.

The study of safety and risk management is an integral component of the mental discipline. Each Marine will be educated from the beginning of his Marine Corps career and martial arts training with the fundamental principle that safety is a key consideration in all that we do on or off duty. This begins with teaching entry level training individual safety responsibilities and continues with the education of leaders on how to conduct safe training.

A cornerstone of the physical discipline is to train safely. The program is safe because we practice safety measures during all training. This is accomplished through fault checking, close supervision by instructors, and training Marines in individual safety measures as well as the art of operational risk management and assessment. For example, in all phases of Rifle/Bayonet training, solo drills are worked and checked by an instructor during each class period. Thrusting drills are conducted at slow and medium speeds from one, two, and three assault steps from the target and thoroughly critiqued by an instructor. Marines are individually trained; there is no “cookie cutter” approach.

Finally, the combination of the mental discipline and physical aspects of safety will combine to insinuate themselves as part of a Marine’s very character, culminating in the Marine as a responsible warrior.

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