The evolution of combat
By Lance Cpl. Jared Plotts
| | November 27, 2007
U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES PACIFIC, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
The seasoned warrant officer lays on the ground for a moment waiting for the pain to leave her back. She stares at the hot sun before sitting up and brushing the dead grass off her shirt. The instructor barks out, “Alright ma’m your turn. Execute the basic leg sweep.”
Since the inception of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program in October of 2000, Marines have had to re-learn their close combat skills.
The evolution of hand-to-hand combat in the Marine Corp is never static. It is constantly changing and improving just as we are constantly adapting.
Unlike its combatant forefathers, MCMAP uses the belt system and places emphasis on synergy and internal growth at one’s own pace.
“Because of how it’s being taught, Marines are taking it very seriously and are motivated to go beyond just a tan belt certification,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lecia Negaard, battalion adjutant, Headquarters and Service Battalion here.
“I think it’s being well received,” Negaard continued.
Sgt. Jeffery L. Kaus, non-commissioned officer in charge of the graphics department for combat camera here is a licensed MCMAP instructor. He is one of the few black belts at Camp Smith. He arrived here from Quantico, Va., where he taught MCMAP to dozens of Marines.
“At boot camp we learned techniques from tan, gray and green belt. It was so much that nobody really absorbed the knowledge for later. It was so quick and so heavy that you learned it, you were tested and you forgot it the next day,” said Kaus, (pronounced “cause”). “Other than retouching on their readiness skills for a deployment or movement, Marines wouldn’t use their training that much.”
Back in the day some Marines in boot camp didn’t receive close combat training at all.
The petite Negaard just received her tan belt last autumn. It is the first hand-to-hand training in her 24 years in the Corps.
“We were not afforded the opportunity to learn combat training when I was in boot camp. In fact, we were one of the first female platoons to fire the M-16,” said Negaard.
At about 5 feet 2 inches tall and around 100 pounds, Negaard has embraced the technical side of her training.
“If you can learn the moves properly and apply good technique, you can defend yourself regardless of your opponents size or strength,” she said with a confident glare and smile, which could easily propel anyone into a world of discomfort.
“It truly gives you a sense of what you’re capable of learning and applying, despite your rank or job,” she said.
Marines who have been in the Corps long enough to experience the changes in combat techniques have, for the most part, been receptive to the infantile program, said Kaus.
“I definitely see it staying around for a while,” said Kaus. “For those who doubt its permanence they should watch the higher degree black belts put on a demonstration. When you watch them perform with both skill and strength you can truly see how effective and lethal this program is.”