The Marine Corps Martial Arts
Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the United States Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand
and close quarters combat (CQC) techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction in what the Marine Corps
calls the "Warrior Ethos". The program, which began in 2001, trains
Marines (and U.S. Navy personnel attached to Marine Units) in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle
and bayonet techniques. It also stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership,
and teamwork. The MCMAP has several nicknames, including semper fu (a play on the Marine Corps motto semper fi
and kung fu), MCSlap, MCNinja and new bushido.
The program uses an advancement system of colored belts similar to that of
most martial arts. The different levels of belts are:
- Tan belt, the lowest color belt and conducted during entry level training,
signifies the basic understanding of the mental, physical, and character disciplines. It is the minimum requirement of all
Marines with a training time of 27.5 hours and has no prerequisites. Recruits receive these belts after completion of a practical
application test on all of the basic techniques of the Tan Belt.
- Gray belt is the second belt attained after 39 hours of
training. It signifies an intermediate understanding of the basic disciplines. The prerequisites for this belt are as follows:
The Marine must complete Leading Marines MCI, and most instructors will require a report be completed on The Marine Raiders.
belt is the third belt, requiring 44 hours of training. This belt signifies understanding of the intermediate
fundamentals of the different disciplines. This is the first belt level in which one can become an instructor, which allows
him or her to teach tan and grey belt techniques with the power to award the appropriate belt. The prerequisites for this
belt include a recommendation from reporting senior, and to be an instructor requires the Marine to be a Lance Corporal or
- Brown Belt is the fourth belt level requiring 56.5 hours of training. It
introduces Marines to the advanced fundamentals of each discipline. In addition, as with green belts, they may be certified
as MAIs and teach tan through green techniques. Prerequisites for this belt include recommendation of reporting senior, rank
of Corporal or higher (able to waiver to LCpl), and appropriate PMEs completed for rank (Such as Corporal's Course).
- Black belt
1st degree is the highest belt color and requires 62.5 hours of supervised training. It signifies knowledge of the advanced
fundamentals of the different disciplines. A 1st degree black belt instructor may teach fundamentals from tan to brown belt
and award the appropriate belt. In addition, a black belt can become an instructor-trainer, which authorizes them to teach
and award all belts, as well as teach and certify instructors. Prerequisites include recommendation of reporting senior, rank
of Sergeant or above, and appropriate level of PME completed (such as Sergeant's Course.)
There are an additional 5 degrees of black belt, with several of the same common
prerequisites, including recommendation of reporting senior, appropriate level of PME completed, must be a current MAIT. Black
belt 2nd degree to 6th degree signify that the holder is an authority in the Marine Corps Martial arts Program. In addition
to the above prerequisite, each belt also has its own rank requirements.
- Black belt 2nd degree requires the rank of Sgt or above.
- Black belt 3rd degree requires the rank of SSgt or above.
- Black belt 4th degree requires the rank of GySgt for enlisted and Major or
higher for officers.
belt 5th degree requires the rank of MSgt/1stSgt for enlisted and Major or higher for officers.
- Black belt 6th degree requires the rank of MGySgt/SgtMaj for enlisted and LtCol
or higher for officers.