The Corps now wants Marines to be an NCO before getting brown or black martial arts belts

popular

VIDEO: Jack Mandaville fights MMA fighter Tim Johnson

The Marine Corps has decided that its personnel just can't handle the power that comes with being a brown or black belt warrior unless they are at least a non-commissioned officer.

The Corps updated its order for its Martial Arts Program last month, which added in a rank requirement for both belts starting on Oct. 1. Per the new order, Marines will need to be a corporal in order to attain a brown belt, or a sergeant to attain the black belt. In the past, Marines could attain any belt, regardless of rank, as long as they went through the training and passed all the requirements.


Commenters on the 1st Marine Division's Instagram account were, well, not enthused. Some speculated this was just a ploy to keep Marines in uniform, while others thought this was all about staff non-commissioned officers being jealous of their ninja-like lance corporals.

The Corps, however, says it's all about bringing the martial arts program back to its roots of not just physical ability, but also mental and character development. In essence, according to a spokesman, the Corps wants Marines with higher belts to be able to not only execute an arm bar takedown of an opponent, but also to be able to lead other Marines and have the responsibility that comes with knowing how to effectively eye gouge Joe Smith at the local bar.

"Belt advancement in some cases had everything to do with proper execution of the physical discipline, but required no mastery or demonstrated ability in the mental and character disciplines," Lt. Samuel Stephenson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told Task & Purpose in a statement, noting that feedback from the fleet was that most units were solely focused on the physical traits.

"The easiest example to look at are the required tie-ins at the brown belt syllabus which covers counseling techniques or the black belt syllabus, which contains training focused on different mentoring and leadership techniques," he said. These leadership and counseling parts of the curriculum are, Stephenson added, tailored more to the NCO ranks.

Still, there are plenty of junior Marines who already have those higher belts. Fortunately, they will all be grandfathered in and will keep the belt they have. All others, according to the order, can be trained on the brown and black belt curriculum, but won't be able to test out for the belt unless they are the "appropriate rank," Stephenson said.

And despite a perception that martial arts belts are a factor in whether junior Marines get promoted, a Manpower spokeswoman confirmed that is not the case. As one Corps website notes, a lance corporal's composite score mostly hinges on their physical fitness test, combat fitness test, and rifle range scores to decide whether they are ready for the next rank.

None of this is to say that you can't take your own martial arts training on the side, of course:


Two Air Force pararescue Airmen were awarded the Silver Star Medal on Friday for saving dozens of lives during separate Afghan battles in 2018 and 2019.

Tech Sgt. Gavin Fisher and Staff Sgt. Daniel Swensen both received the third highest military award for their bravery. Fisher also received the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.

Read More Show Less
Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews the honor guards of the Chinese People's Liberation (PLA) Navy before boarding the destroyer Xining for the naval parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in Qingdao, Shandong province, China April 23, 2019. Xinhua via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government covertly moved to expel two officials from the Chinese embassy earlier this year, after they drove onto a military base, the New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The newspaper reported on Sunday that one of the two Chinese officials is believed to be an intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover.

The Chinese officials breached security at a base in Virginia this fall, and only stopped driving after fire trucks were used to block their path, the Times said.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

President Donald Trump is set to announce the withdrawal of roughly 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan as early as next week, NBC News reported on Saturday based on conversations with three current and former officials.

This would come as the US is engaged in ongoing, troubled peace talks with the Taliban. The talks resumed in early December after Trump abruptly scrapped negotiations with the Taliban in September, only to be paused again this week after an attack near Bagram Airfield on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
Photo: National Archives

Thomas Hoke can still recall the weather in December 1944, and the long days that followed.

The battle started on Dec. 16, but his company arrived Dec. 27 and would stay there until the battle's end, nearly a month later. By the time he arrived, snow had blanketed Germany in what was one of the biggest storms the country had seen in years.

"It was 20 below and a heavy fog encompassed the whole area," Hoke, 96, recalled from his Emmitsburg home.

The fog was to Germany's advantage because Allied aircraft were grounded, including recognizance flights, allowing the Nazis to slip in.

Read More Show Less

West Point is investigating a hand gesture made by several cadets and midshipmen during an ESPN pre-game broadcast at the Army-Navy game Saturday after clips of the signals went viral because of their association with white power.

"West Point is looking into the matter," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "At this time we do not know the intent of the cadets."

Read More Show Less