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Marine Corps Boot Camp Basics

Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

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Tan Belt: The tan belt syllabus focuses on the development of the basics of armed and unarmed combat. Students start with the Basic Warrior Stance and break-falls are taught for safety, then move to:
  • basic punches, uppercuts, and hooks
  • basic upper-body strikes, including the eye gouge, hammer fists, and elbow strikes
  • basic lower-body strikes, including kicks, knee strikes, and stomps
  • bayonet techniques
  • basic chokes and throws
  • counters to strikes, chokes, and holds
  • basic unarmed restraints and armed manipulations
  • basic knife techniques
  • basic weapons of opportunity
Students must prove proficiency with 80% of 50 techniques to pass and earn their belt. The tan belt syllabus is part of The Basic School and recruit training curriculum.

Gray Belt: The gray belt syllabus expands on the basic techniques with:
  • intermediate bayonet techniques
  • intermediate upper-body strikes including knife-hands (karate chops) and elbow strikes
  • intermediate lower-body strikes including kicks, knee strikes, and stomps
  • intermediate chokes and throws
  • counters to strikes, chokes, and holds
  • intermediate unarmed restraints and armed manipulations
  • intermediate knife techniques
  • basic ground fighting
  • basic nonlethal baton techniques
  • intermediate weapons on opportunity

Green Belt:
The Green belt technique shifts focus from defensive to offensive techniques with:
  • intermediate bayonet techniques
  • muscle gouging
  • intermediate chokes and throws
  • counters to strikes
  • intermediate unarmed manipulation
  • intermediate ground fighting
  • intermediate nonlethal baton techniques
  • advanced weapons of opportunity
  • Brown Belt:
  • advanced bayonet techniques
  • advanced ground fighting and chokes
  • advanced throws
  • unarmed vs. hand held weapons
  • firearm retention
  • firearm disarmament
  • advanced knife techniques
  • advanced nonlethal baton techniques

Black Belt 1st Degree:
  • advanced bayonet techniques
  • advanced chokes, holds, and throws
  • advanced ground fighting
  • basic counter firearm techniques
  • advanced upper-body strikes, including strikes and smashes
  • advanced knife techniques
  • pressure points
  • improvised weapons

Black Belt 2nd Degree:
  • rifle vs. rifle
  • short weapon vs. rifle
  • unarmed vs. rifle
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 for officers or above.
  • Black belt 5th degree requires the rank of MSgt/1stSgt for enlisted and Major for officer and above.
  • Black belt 6th degree requires the rank of MGySgt/SgtMaj for enlisted and LtCol or higher.

    The environmental factors of terrain and weather are complex and unforgiving of errors. Fear robs an individual of their strength, while the other stresses of combat cloud the ability to think and act. The battlefield is the ultimate fighting championships.

    An event more physically demanding, that requires more strength or endurance and will test the human character past limits that no Olympic or professional athlete will ever endure. A contest where there can be no second place finishers.

    That is the harsh reality of combat.

    A key element of the Martial Arts program is combative conditioning. Combat conditioning that goes a level beyond our current physical fitness program. It combines the physical fitness dividends of combative arts training with those of traditional physical fitness, water survival training, and rough terrain skills training.

    It is designed to mitigate the human factors experienced during combat that have a physically debilitating effect on the human body, allow a Marine to fight in any terrain and under any climatic condition, and face the rigors of the dispersed battlefield encountered in modern combat.

    Unlike physical fitness, combat fitness develops and strengthens the whole Marine. While many of the exercises and drills appear to simply make a Marine stronger and faster, they are designed in a way that also test the individuals ability to think and fight while fatigued.

    By this process we develop mental toughness and the ability of each Marine to think while under stress thus mitigating the human factors associated with combat.

    Additionally, it places the individual in a situation that test their character and resolve. When tired and required to accomplishing a difficult task, one that may be challenging or hazardous, the individual will be faced with the moral decision to quit or go on thus testing his core values.
Tags: mcmap


  1. Rocky C's Avatar
  2. HM3 Doc Wilder's Avatar
    It's about time for Marines to Learn a Martial Arts System.Bravo.....
  3. Rocky C's Avatar
    You got that right Doc.