Marine Corps Martial Arts: One Mind, Any Weapon by Ian Luna

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“One mind, Any weapon”. That’s the creed of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program or MCMAP.  MCMAP is a hand-crafted fighting style developed specifically for Marines to not only develop combat skills but develop the combat mindset needed for the rigors of battle.

MCMAP’s goals are not only to teach all Marines how to fight; it also teaches the appropriate force that a situation might dictate.  From disarming, disabling or dismantling the enemy, Marines are trained to react to any situation with various amounts of force deemed appropriate for the situation. MCMAP is divided into three disciplines: physical, mental, and character. By combining physical strength, mental strength and strength of character a Marine is able to properly react to battlefield situations while maintaining the code of conduct that is the corner stone ofAmerica’s fighting force.

The Physical discipline is by far the most recognizable. This is where Marines learn to fight effectively. Taking moves from a variety of styles, including Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and Tae Kwon Do, Marines learn how to effectively engage targets ranging from unarmed opponents to multiple opponents with knives. Marines learn to identify the weak points and strike with deadly force.

Along with the physical conditioning, Marines must also train to make themselves mentally tough for combat. Marines learn anatomy, physiology, proper nutrition and exercise habits to give them the mental tools to be successful. You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” and the Marine Corps has excelled at this with military precision.

Character discipline is one of the most unique features of the Marine Martial Arts. The goal is to not only to make Marines strong physically and mentally but also to build the character necessary to make marines the ethic warrior of the 21st century. Character discipline is the ability to judge a situation effectively and efficiently. Throughout the course, marines study previous warriors to understand the principles that should guide all warriors on the battlefield.

The course is rigorous. Training begins in boot camp where Marines advance through the basic levels to the most advanced levels of disciple. Advancement does not come easy. It’s not uncommon to wake up at 0430 to run 3 miles in boots, followed by a discussion about the warrior strength of the Cherokee tribe, and finish off the morning with some good old fashioned grappling.  That’s the pace of MCMAP; it is both physically and mentally taxing. Day in and day out you toughen your mind and body, always training for combat. While nothing can truly prepare anyone for combat, MCMAP is helping to better prepare the 21st century warrior for the stresses of combat.