Marines earn their tan belt during basic training

Learning the fundamentals of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a requirement that every recruit aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego must complete before they earn their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

Recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, executed every technique to earn their tan belts Oct. 24.

MCMAP is a program developed by the Marine Corps that combines hand-to-hand and close quarter combat techniques. It also includes instruction in mental and physical discipline to prepare them for a combat situation.

Recruits are taught these techniques as self-defense and also to instill a combat mindset through discipline.

“Recruit training is all about building up recruits into Marines,” said Sgt. Chris Thompson, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1047. “Ever since Phase One, the recruits learned each technique of tan belt, which is the fundamentals of fighting. This just brings them one step closer to becoming a Marine.”

Co. C has been put through mental and physical exhaustion for long, strenuous hours in the hot sun to perfect every technique. Recruits lined up and preformed tan belt techniques while Martial Arts Instructors graded how well they were executed. Each recruit is graded on how confident and precise the technique is performed.

“I think it’s important that we learn MCMAP in training because not only do we learn the basics so we can move on to higher belts, but it also teaches us about responsibility and mental and physical discipline,” said Recruit Devin Zorich, guide, Plt. 1047.

Although they’re introduced to the physical aspect of fighting, recruits are also taught certain disciplines of the warrior ethos. Warrior ethos stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.

Through these disciplines, the recruits learn about responsibility and how they can be in control of themselves if they were ever in a combat situation and in their everyday life.

“Just because you’re a Marine doesn’t mean you can go around picking fights,” explained Zorich, an 18-year-old Kansas City, Mo., native. “You learn how to walk away from certain situations and be the bigger person.”

Zorich feels that MCMAP is important to learn in recruit training and follow-up on in the fleet because of the disciplines it instills.

“Recruit training teaches us responsibility and discipline, but I feel MCMAP will help keep you disciplined,” explained Zorich. “It keeps you mentally and physically strong and keeps you working hard for the things you want, such as higher belts.”

With Co. C earning the first level of belt in MCMAP and the disciplines it instilled, they will continue their journey through recruit training and prepare for the Crucible, a 54-hour field training exercise that requires recruits to complete missions with very little food and sleep.


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