Martial arts program officials brief Cherry Point Marines on new changes

28 Jan 2010 | Lance Cpl. Rashaun X. James

A new order changing several factors of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was introduced to Cherry Point martial arts instructors and martial arts instructor trainers at the training and education building, Jan. 14.

Gunnery Sgt. Justin Kinner and Staff Sgt. William J. Callen, two martial arts instructor trainers from the Martial Arts Center of Excellence located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., visited Cherry Point to talk about how the new order will streamline MCMAP.

“We’re trying to make rising in belt levels more accessible, not easier,” said Callen, a nine-year veteran of MCMAP. “Some of the changes with the new order are more of a focus on fighting rather than running. We want to concentrate more on belt technique progression and aggression.”

Overall the major changes to the program include the times, distances and equipment that will be authorized for training in each belt level. The earning of belts will no longer be restricted to certain ranks. The maximum student-to-teacher ratio cannot exceed 12-to-1, and a martial arts instructor can now certify students to any belt level below, including their own. Also certain practices used during training in the past will be done away with, such as “building a house,” and battle courses that exceed four hours or five miles will no longer be authorized.

Changes will also be made to the way martial arts instructor trainer schools are run, Kinner said. The schools will become more formal, no longer allowing martial arts instructors to teach, test or supervise during the martial arts instructor course. The combat fitness test will also be added to the training schedule in both the instructor and instructor trainer courses.

 “Instructors need to be mentors,” Callen said.

Callen stressed that teaching young Marines the techniques of MCMAP is vital to their growth and success in the Corps.

“Young Marines join to do things like MCMAP,” Callen said. “MCMAP is as much a leadership program as it is a combatives program. If you spend all of your time yelling at a Marine and not teaching him, what has he learned? Nothing.”

Kinner touched on the importance of MCMAP for the Marine Corps’ warrior ethos.

“MCMAP teaches the three disciplines of mental discipline, character discipline and physical discipline,” Kinner said. “The program makes an ethical warrior.”

Although the order has yet to receive the signature of a general officer, Callen and Kinner were confident the new changes would work for the benefit of MCMAP and the Marine Corps.

“Any Marine in uniform can be face to face with the enemy at some point and needs to fight hand to hand,” Kinner said. “Marines have to be able to engage the enemy from 500 miles to 500 millimeters. These changes are very important for the program.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point