The Marine Corps Martial Arts program was implemented in 2001. I was fortunate enough to take part in the initial implantation of the program, and I can confidently say that I’ve never had my ass kicked so badly. A transition from the traditional learn-by-numbers approach, the new program involves Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, boxing, Savate, Jujutsu, Judo, Sambo, Krav Maga, Isshin-Ryu, Karate, Aikido, Muay Thai, Eskrima, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, and kickboxing. In addition, methods are incorporated from the past Marine Raiders, Spartans, and Apache.

Marines can earn five levels of belts. Once a black belt, an individual can complete up to six degrees and may attend the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Trainer Course. This seven-week course is designed to elevate instructors to the next level so that they can teach the necessary training and mindset to fellow Marines. Honor, courage, and commitment are emphasized to create an ethical warrior. This is a program I hope the Marine Corps retains, because we need more of these virtues in today’s society.

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 This article previously published on SOFREP 05.14.2016