The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a combat system developed specifically for use by United States Marines and combines elements of various fighting platforms into a single discipline in which all Marines must undergo training. MCMAP uses a belt system similar to that of traditional martial arts disciplines, with tan standing in for white on the belt spectrum, followed by gray, green, brown, and black. Once a Marine attains a black belt, there are additional levels of qualifications he or she can pursue, referred to as leveled degrees.

Among Marines, there are two different camps regarding “Semper Foo:” Some believe it serves as an excellent introduction into hand-to-hand combat techniques, while others tend to laugh it off, calling the low-level belt techniques useless and even accusing the training of giving young Marines a false sense of security, believing their training to have made them a better unarmed combatant than they actually are.

Full disclosure: I actively pursued MCMAP training throughout my entire time in the Marine Corps, earning my black belt as a corporal and transferring much of the training I received into competition when participating in civilian mixed martial arts tournaments.