MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga -- It happens in a flash. One moment two warriors are facing off, sizing each other up for an impending battle. And then in an instant, one of them is on the ground in a choke hold. However, unlike two enemies fighting to the death on a far away battlefield these are Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Devildogs training for the real thing. Like everything else these Marines train for, practice must mirror the reality of the possible real-life situation.
Gunnery Sgt. Mark Rankin, 1st degree black belt Martial Arts Instructor Trainer, here, is working overtime to get Marines up to speed for the looming gray belt deadline. Per MARADMIN 537/01 all Marines must be at least gray belt certified by the end of the Fiscal Year 2004.
"We're going to start putting out a schedule to get Marines back into training," Rankin said. "We want everybody to participate, and we're willing to schedule Marines on their own time."
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program combines 10 martial arts into a four fighting discipline designed to sharpen the mind and body: unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity and rifle and bayonet techniques.
Gen. James L. Jones, former commandant of the Marine Corps, initiated the program in 1999 because he believed the previous program did not meet the need of anticipated 21st century conflicts. He wanted more non-lethal techniques available for humanitarian and peacekeeping missions when deadly force was not authorized.
"MCMAP is more than conditioning the body, it's a synergy of disciplines," Rankin explained. The MCMAP program focuses on mental, physical and character discipline.
The mental aspect of training is intended to create a smarter Marine capable of decision-making under any condition from combat to liberty. This training includes professional military instruction, the commandant's reading list, and the study of past and present warfare techniques.
The physical training is composed of both lethal and non-lethal tactics including weapons and unarmed styles, which builds combat toughness and physical endurance.
The character aspect of training revolves around the core values and leadership, and is aimed at focusing the mental toughness Marines gain during recruit training.
The mental aspect aims to build esprit de corps and the warrior spirit needed for success in combat.
"We don't just teach martial arts," added Staff Sgt. Guy Dixon, black belt Martial Arts Instructor. "We reinforce the physical disciplines with character discipline. Even Marines with a martial arts background can gain from the training."