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More formerly known as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), these self-defense techniques provide users skills in hand-to-hand combat and bayonet techniques, along with mental-character development. Semper Fu is another name for the eclectic system for combat created for the US Marine Corps. It embodies several teachings to help practitioners in unarmed combat, providing them the ability to neutralize enemies swiftly and smoothly. 

How Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) Came to Be

MCMAP Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
By The original uploader was Looper5920 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Influenced from as far back as World War I, where soldiers were provided basic hand-to-hand combat skills meant to be used for trench warfare, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was a system that had been developed through implementation of various fighting styles. Originally, MCMAP stemmed from close combat and bayonet techniques, which were were later integrated with Chinese Kung-Fu around the time the world wars entrenched the Earth.

By the time the 50’s hit, Gunnery Sergeant Bill Miller was placed in charge of coming up with a combat curriculum that allowed Marines of varying sizes to take down enemies swiftly. After extensive research, Miller would go onto create a program that took from a plethora of other fighting styles such as boxing, Taekwondo, Judo, etc.

By the 1980’s, Miller’s program eventually underwent change once more, adapting to the need for a more standardized close combat system. This led to the creation of the famous LINE (Linear Infighting Neural Override Engagement) System. Effectively taught in the Marine Corps, the program would go through repeated review and refinement yet again. In time, by 1999, the resulting Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was finally established.

Disciplines of a Warrior in Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP)

MCMAP Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
By Cpl. Patrick P. Evenson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“MCMAP aims to develop self-discipline and self-control to restrain oneself in the heat of the moment and to use force responsibly. Developing the USMC warrior ethos includes mentoring values and shaping a long-term, individual commitment to the USMC and the values it represents. These activities are designed to instill an ethical dimension that places individual achievement in the context of continuing an old, honorable, warrior tradition”

As a Marine goes up the ranks in MCMAP system, he/she is guided through the central disciplines that largely define a true warrior. These three components are physical, mental, and character. Each area is systematically taught according to the level of the trainee and before a Marine can go up a belt level, he/she must be rightfully approved by their Commander that they meet the given requirements of the disciplines. In other words, just because you are proficient in the physical components does not make you eligible to be promoted up the ranks.

Marine Corps Martial Arts Program holds its students responsible by requiring students to possess the right mind set, level of maturity, and character when advancing up the system. By doing so, it, “ensures that as a Marine develops increased levels of lethality with additional physical skills, he also develops a commensurate level of maturity and self-discipline.”

MCMAP Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
By Corporal Kamran Sadaghiani (USMC news) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Each discipline contains two main components. The Mental Discipline ensures Marines understand the art of the war, and the history behind the Marine Corps, as well as general warfare. It aims to shape the Marine into a technically and tactically proficient solider that has a grasp of all the intricacies involved in modern warfare.

Secondly, the Character Discipline aims to instill Marines with the core values of the Marine Corps and provide them knowledge on leadership/mentoring. It helps to ensure students understand the importance of camaraderie, self-discipline, confidence, and decision making. This aspect focuses on ensuring the Marines shape into ethically adept individuals that possess a strong warrior spirit.

The Physical Discipline teaches students fighting techniques and conditions them accordingly for combat. Various armed and unarmed techniques are taught so that they can be prepared for a wide spectrum of combat situations. Additionally, Marines toughen their physical selves, which in turn strengthen their mental toughness.

MCMAP Hopes to Help Troubled Youths

MCMAP Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
By Staff Sergeant Leo A. Salinas (USMC News) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

While MCMAP is applied, and taught for the Marine Corps, it does hope to give troubled youths caught up in the gang-life or potentially destructive behavior a means to channel their energies into something positive. Through its practice, the prospects of earned respect provide individuals a means to better their physical, mental, and character selves. This in turn helps shape them into becoming greater and more refined citizens than what they once may have been.

“The code of a warrior not only defines how he should interact with his own warrior comrades, but also how he should treat other members of his society, his enemies, and the people he conquers. The code restrains the warrior. It sets boundaries on his behavior. It distinguishes honorable acts from shameful acts [and protects the warrior] from serious psychological damage.”

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