MCMAP and Pugil Sticks

Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

From its inception in 1775, the Marine Corps has distinguished itself as a Martial Culture. The legacy of our Corps is built upon the close combat of ships of sail, the storming of the bois de Belleau, and the holding of "Bloody Ridge" on Guadalcanal. Drawing upon our rich tradition of promoting values and our warrior ethos, the Marine Corps developed the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program or MCMAP. It is a martial art that was designed to be, and is the "synergy of mental, character, and physical disciplines."

MCMAP is based on five, colored-belt levels with six different degrees of Black. Each belt level is broken down into three disciplines, each of which a Marine must become proficient in before attaining the next belt level. The mental, character, and physical disciplines of the warrior are the foundation of the Martial Arts Program.

The mental discipline consists of warrior studies, martial culture studies, combative behavior studies, and other professional military education. The character discipline is built around the Marine Corps' core values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. The character discipline stresses the role of the warrior on and off the battlefield. The physical discipline consists of the techniques taught at each belt level.

Through the successful synergy of these disciplines at each belt level, a Marine will enhance their own warrior spirit. Recruits are introduced to the fundamentals of MCMAP on training day one and progress towards the final test to earn their Tan Belt. The Tan Belt syllabus teaches recruits basic MCMAP techniques, is an introduction to the martial culture, and form the basis for all further MCMAP instruction.

Pugil Sticks

A pugil stick is a heavily padded training weapon used by military personnel for bayonet training since the 1930s or 1940s. Similar to a quarterstaff, the pugil stick may be marked at one end to indicate which portion represents the bayonet proper and which the butt of the rifle.

Pugil bouts are usually conducted with hard contact while wearing protective gear such as football helmets, flak jackets, groin protectors, and gloves. Many recruits have never experienced the realities of inter-personal violence found in close combat, and pugil sticks provide effective, but safe, "full contact" combative training at the entry level. It is also an effective tool for enhancing the endurance and improvisation that are building blocks to developing the physical skills and mental toughness vital to success on the battlefield.

Martial Arts Training

Recruits of Papa Company practice sweeping their opponent to the ground July 1, 2015, on Parris Island, S.C. The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is designed to increase the warfighting capabilities of Marines and enhance self-confidence and esprit de corps.
—USMC photo by Private First Class Vanessa Austin.

MCMAP and Pugil Sticks

Recruit Theodore-Ethan K. Buettner strikes Recruit Landon A. Rudisill, Platoon 2008 during a pugil stick match December 9, 2014, on Parris Island, S.C.
—USMC photo by Lance Corporal Vaniah Temple.

Above information found on the Parris Island web site, August, 2009.

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