The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the United States Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and close quarters combat techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction in the Warrior Ethos.
The program, which began in 2001, trains Marines (and U.S. Navy personnel attached to Marine units) in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. It also stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.
The MCMAP was officially created by Marine Corps Order 1500.54, published in 2002, as a “revolutionary step in the development of martial arts skills for Marines and replaces all other close-combat related systems preceding its introduction.” MCMAP comes from an evolution dating back to the creation of the Marine Corps, beginning with the martial abilities of Marine boarding parties, who often had to rely on bayonet and cutlass techniques.
During World War I these bayonet techniques were supplemented with unarmed combat techniques, which often proved useful in trench warfare. Between the world wars, Colonel Anthony J. Biddle began the creation of standardized bayonet and close combat techniques based on boxing, wrestling, savate and fencing. Also during this period, Captains Wallace M. Greene and Samuel B.
Griffith learned Kung Fu techniques from Chinese American Marines and brought this knowledge to other Marines throughout the Marine Corps.
In 1956, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Hayward (captain of the Judo team at MCRD) made Gunnery Sergeant Bill Miller the new Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Hand-To-Hand Combat. Miller was ordered to develop a new curriculum that a 110- or a 210-pound Marine could use to quickly kill the enemy. Miller created the program from various martial arts styles such as Okinawan karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Boxing, and Jujutsu. Every Marine recruit that went through MCRD was instructed in Miller’s Combat Curriculum. This also included Special Operations Forces from all branches of the military and civilian entities. Later in 2001, retired Gunnery Sergeant Bill Miller was awarded the Black Belt Emeritus “for pioneering Martial Arts in the United States Marine Corps.”
Eventually these different techniques evolved into the LINE System in the early 1980s. Later, the system was found to be lacking in flexibility and techniques for use in situations that did not require lethal force, such as peacekeeping operations. The Marine Corps began searching for a more effective system.
The result was the Marine Corps Close Combat training Program implemented in 1997–1999. MCMAP was implemented as part of a Commandant of the Marine Corps initiative in summer 2000. Commandant James L. Jones assigned Lieutenant Colonel George Bristol and Master Gunnery Sergeant Cardo Urso, with almost 70 years of martial arts experience between them, to establish the new MCMAP curriculum.
In July 2011, MCMAP performers from San Diego demonstrated for the Koyamada Foundation’s United States Martial Arts Festival at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach, California.
Source and credits: Public Domain TV