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Marine Corps Recruiting Command

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

3280 Russell Road, 2nd Floor Quantico, Va. 22134
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Drill instructors teach advanced methods of self-defense, martial arts

By Lance Cpl. James Green | | August 18, 2006

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO -- Since August 2005, almost every drill instructor who has graduated from Drill Instructor School here has attended the Instructors’ Course at the depot’s Marine Corps Martial Arts Program facility.

The course is designed to give drill instructors more knowledge and experience with the materials taught in MCMAP before they teach it to the recruits.

“Instructors’ courses are recommended for all drill instructors to make them more proficient in MCMAP to help the recruits out,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff J. Vandentop, course instructor on the depot.

A minimum of a gray belt, the second of five belts that can be earned in MCMAP, is required to attend the class. If a Marine does not yet have his gray belt prioir to the class, he will first go through a week-long gray belt course before starting the instructors’ class, said Vandentop.

The course is comprised of numerous fast-paced, but thorough, lessons. Instructors must ensure each Marine who leaves the class is proficient in the material he learns. Marines are tested on their knowledge of MCMAP before receiving their instructors’ tab, which allows them to teach other Marines martial arts so they can upgrade their belts as they excel through the belt system from tan through black.

However, an instructor is not able to advance a belt user past his own belt. For example, a green belt instructor cannot certify a belt user higher than a green belt.

Because of the amount of time spent with each Marine, the material is understood and enjoyed by the students who attend the course.

“It’s a good course,” said Staff Sgt. Jose M. Mariscal, Company C drill instructor, Platoon 1021. “It took away the comfort zone by pushing us beyond the limits that we mentally set.”

Although MCMAP is a martial arts-based program, a lot more is put into the making of a warrior than just physical training.

Aside from the physical discipline necessary in the Instructors’ Course, Marines who attend the class are taught two other MCMAP disciplines.

“We teach mental and character discipline as well,” said Vandentop. “The synergy of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is based on these three disciplines. They are the backbone of the program.”

Developed over years, MCMAP spawns from a variety of different martial arts styles and disciplines and remains available to Marines in the fleet who desire to upgrade their belts and become more knowledgeable and proficient in the unique fighting style.

“It’s our history,” said Mariscal. “MCMAP has helped Marines before me and will continue to serve them after me.”

The Instructors’ Course is offered to all noncommissioned officers and above.

For more information on the next course, call the Martial Arts Facility at (619) 524-5114.


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