Marine Corps Prerequisites for Belt Levels


The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) seeks to train United States Marine Corps personnel in mixed-martial arts including unarmed combat, edged weapons, and rifle and bayonet techniques. A minimum number of training hours for each belt are required along with a certain number of sustainment hours, or hours used in the "repetition of physical techniques from previously owned belts" as defined by Marine Corps Order 1550.04. A practical application test is given once all requirements have been fulfilled. A Marine must pass this test to advance to the next belt.

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A tan belt demonstrates the basic fundamentals of the mental and physical disciplines of martial arts as demonstrated by basic Marine training. There is no prerequisite to acquiring a tan belt, although it requires 27.5 training hours and seven sustainment hours.

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The gray belt receipt requires the recommendation of an individual’s reporting senior as well as completion of tan belt sustainment and integration training. It requires a total of 29 training hours and 14 sustainment hours and culminates in a mid-level knowledge of the basic martial arts disciplines. An individual must complete Leading Marines MCI, the results of which are recorded on The Marine Raiders.

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According to MCO 1500.54, a green belt is the “minimum training goal of all non-infantry ground combat arms Marines.” It requires 30 training hours and 21 sustainment hours as well as completion of gray belt sustainment and integration training. An individual must have the recommendation of his reporting senior. If the individual Marine has the rank of lance corporal or above, he may become a Green Belt, Instructor Qualified, which allows him to train, test and award tan and gray belts.

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Brown belts are the fourth belt available in the MCMAP and provides advanced fundamentals in each discipline while serving as the “minimum training goal of all infantrymen.” It requires the recommendation of the reporting senior, completion of green belt sustainment and integration training, and appropriate level PME. It requires 30 training and 28 sustainment hours. All applicants to this rank should possess the rank of corporal or higher. If she does not possess the rank, a Marine may apply for a waiver based on superior leadership skills, maturity and possession of a black belt in a civilian martial art.

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The highest level, the acquisition of a black belt requires 34.5 hours of training and 35 sustainment hours, the recommendation of the reporting senior, complete brown belt sustainment and integration training, appropriate PME level, and the rank of sergeant or higher. Second through sixth degrees have similar prerequisites, although the required ranks become progressively higher.

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