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Ft. Pickett, VA. (Jan 24, 2022): With all our “modern” high tech weapons, it is easy to lose sight of the most time-honored and essential military skill, close quarter hand-to-hand combat.

It is a sad fact that most Americans cannot defend themselves against a physical attack. This is not a criticism, training in the martial arts takes incredible commitment, physical endurance, persistence, and a strong determination to win.

America’s military recognizes this and has incorporated a mix of marital arts philosophies into its Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) taught at Ft. Pickens, Virginia’s National Guard Maneuver Training Center to members of all service branches. .  The course motto, “One Mind, Any Weapon” exemplifies the mental, moral, and physical toughness required of today’s warriors.  The MCMAP teaches a mix of Asian martial arts techniques and philosophies including Okinawan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Judo along with bayonet and knife-fighting skills.

Students endure physical hardships that instill discipline, attention to detail and the persistence needed to survive the rigors of combat.  The MCMAPs School boosts a warrior’s confidence and leadership skills by forcing students to overcome obstacles they never dreamed possible.

Learning to fight “up close and personal” involves earning a series of belts, with roughly 25  hours of grueling training between them, in a series beginning with Tan,  then Grey, Green, Brown, and Black belts.  The military knows that martial arts training saves lives and ensures these skills are absorbed by every servicemember.

In this photo by Marine Corps Lance Corporal David Intriago, Army Specialist Hannah Benally performs a high-block technique during a sparring match as part of their military marital arts training at MCMAP, Ft. Pickett, Virginia.

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