The U.S. military is renowned for its rigorous training, and martial arts play a major role in that preparation. But what martial art does the army use?
Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – all are part of the US Army’s arsenal when it comes to combat situations and close-quarters fighting systems employed by Green Berets or Army Rangers alike.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the various forms of martial arts used by the Army specifically.
But we’ll also explore the fighting styles used by all our armed forces as well as their techniques and how they’ve evolved over time with new innovations in military training programs across different branches of service within the United States Military.
Does the US Army have a martial arts program?
Yes, the US Army does have a martial arts program.
The Army’s program is called the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) and it was created and put in place in 1995. The program is designed to teach soldiers unarmed self-defense techniques that can be used on the battlefield or in other combat situations.
The program has a heavy focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the curriculum (linked above), talks extensively about the use of:
- Rear Naked Choke
- Guillotine Choke
- Straight Arm Bar or Bent Arm Bar
- how to control the person of interest
- Side Control
- Knee On Belly
- Rear Mount
The goal of the program is to “instill the Warrior Ethos and prepare Soldiers to close with and defeat the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.”
Additionally, the program looks to instill or enhance:
- situational responsiveness
In the shadow of Mt. Fuji, @PacificMarines train in hand-to-hand and close-quarters combat through the #MarineCorps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) pic.twitter.com/Y90eMzR1Y7
— U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (@INDOPACOM) May 11, 2018
What fighting style do Army Rangers use?
The U.S. Army Rangers primarily use a combination of martial arts techniques from various disciplines, including:
- Muay Thai
The primary focus is on striking and grappling skills that can be used in close-quarters combat situations.
Additionally, they are trained in the use of weapons such as knives and firearms for self-defense purposes. They also learn to identify potential threats quickly so they can react appropriately with their training or by calling for backup if necessary.
Does the US Army use Krav Maga?
Yes, the US Army does use Krav Maga.
It is a self-defense system developed in Israel that combines techniques from boxing, wrestling, judo, and karate. The system focuses on real-world situations and emphasizes instinctive movements, practical techniques, and realistic training scenarios.
Krav Maga has been adopted by many branches of the US military including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines as part of their combatives programs.
The US Army also uses it to train its special forces units such as Rangers and Special Forces Operators.
What martial art do the Marines use?
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the US Marine Corps to help make Marines some of the best fighters in any branch of the US military. MCMAP is a unique system created by the Marines and takes the best of the best techniques from the following different martial arts:
- Muay Thai
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
It’s similar to MMA, but with more focus on discipline and control.
Overview of MCMAP:
The program was first developed and put into place in 2001. Since that time, variations of the system have since been adopted by other branches of the military too.
The system combines extensive hand-to-hand combat skills and close-quarters combat techniques in conjunction with morale and team-building aspects so that it’s not focused on one soldier, but on the entire team.
Techniques Used in MCMAP:
The techniques used in MCMAP are all-encompassing and are designed to be extremely effective and efficient against both armed and unarmed attackers.
These techniques include:
- joint locks
- ground fighting techniques
- weapons training
Additionally, Marines learn about proper posture and body mechanics that can help them move more efficiently during a fight or confrontation. This not only helps with balance and flexibility but allows them to not waste energy unnecessarily.
The overall benefits of the system include:
- increased cardiovascular endurance and strength
- improved coordination and balance
- enhanced flexibility
- quicker reflexes
- heightened self-confidence in dangerous situations
- greater discipline from rigorous training drills
- an overall sense of well-being (through the knowledge of how to properly defend oneself if necessary)
In addition to being taught at all levels within the US military forces (including Army Special Forces), several countries have adopted some form of MCMAP as part of their own military programs, including Canada’s Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2).
This program is highly regarded among soldiers who have completed the training due to its effectiveness in preparing them for real-world scenarios where they may need to rely on their hand-to-hand combat skills for survival or victory over enemies or adversaries.
What fighting style do Navy SEALs use?
Navy SEALs practice a fighting style that is a combination of martial arts, boxing, and wrestling. This style is known as Close Quarters Combat (CQC).
CQC is designed to be effective in close-range engagements.
SEAL training emphasizes the use of weapons such as knives, handguns, and rifles. But it also includes techniques for hand-to-hand combat such as joint locks, throws, and strikes. Navy SEALs are trained to use CQC in both offensive and defensive situations.
In addition to CQC, Navy SEALs also train in other martial arts such as:
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
- Muay Thai
- Krav Maga (admittedly more a self-defense system than a true martial art)
BJJ focuses on ground fighting techniques and submissions whereas Muay Thai emphasizes punches, kicks, and elbow strikes in lightning-quick succession. Judo teaches throws and takedowns while Krav Maga focuses on simple, easily-mastered self-defense tactics.
Finally, Navy SEALs receive extensive physical conditioning training that helps them stay fit and ready for any mission they may face. In fact, many regard SEAL training as the ULTIMATE physical fitness training.
SEAL training includes:
- running long distances with heavy loads on their backs
- swimming long distances underwater with full gear on their bodies
- performing calisthenics exercises such as pushups and pullups for extended periods of time
#SEALs CQC Training
PhotoCredit: E. Harrison/U.S. Navy © pic.twitter.com/bYgRM8zc4K
— Center Mass Group (@CenterMassGroup) September 7, 2014
What martial art is taught to special forces?
Special forces are highly trained military personnel who are tasked with completing difficult and dangerous missions. And each branch of the military has one or more types of special forces.
- Army Green Berets
- Army Night Stalkers
- Army Rangers
- Navy SEALs
- Navy SEALs Missions
- Navy SWCCs
- Marine MARSOC
- Marine RECON
- Marine RECON Missions
- Air Force Special Tactics
So naturally, the type of training will vary from branch to branch. But I have addressed some of the above specifically elsewhere in my article.
But many of the branches of special forces practice Krav Maga, but may also receive training in other martial arts such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Aikido.
What martial arts does Delta Force use?
Delta Force is the United States Army’s elite special operations unit. The primary martial art used by Delta Force is Krav Maga, which is an Israeli self-defense system.
Krav Maga focuses on using the body’s natural reflexes and movements to defend against an attacker. It also teaches techniques for disarming opponents and using their weapons against them. But it’s also about using found objects and weapons of opportunity.
Krav Maga is not a true martial art, but more of a self-defense system as it lacks any spiritual component.
Krav Maga is also mostly simple, easily-learned self-defense techniques designed to render maximum harm to an opponent as quickly as possible with as little risk as possible to the practitioner.
So it is popular as unlike most martial arts, it doesn’t take years to master.
In addition to Krav Maga, Delta Force members are also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is a grappling-based martial art derived both from Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ emphasizes ground fighting and submission holds.
Finally, Delta Force members are also trained in Muay Thai, which is a form of kickboxing from Thailand. This style of martial arts focuses on using powerful strikes with the hands, feet, elbows, and knees to incapacitate an opponent quickly.
No big surprise that it’s used extensively in the UFC.
Not Working, Not Working
Lance Cpl. Jorge Henriquez, a rifleman with @mrfDarwin, grapples during a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program competition as part of exercise Tafakula at Taliai Military Camp, Tonga. pic.twitter.com/wQfOHbbODZ
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) August 31, 2019
Does the US military train Taekwondo?
Yes, the US military does train Taekwondo, a Korean martial art.
All branches of the US military have adopted Taekwondo as part of their physical training program. The Marine Corps has been using Taekwondo since the early 2000s, and it is now a mandatory part of their physical fitness program.
The Army also uses Taekwondo as part of its physical training program.
Soldiers are taught basic self-defense techniques and how to use their bodies to defend themselves in combat situations. The Army also uses Taekwondo to help build strength, agility, and coordination.
The Air Force has also adopted Taekwondo as part of its physical training program.
Airmen are taught basic self-defense techniques and how to use their bodies to defend themselves in combat situations. They are also taught how to use their bodies to increase speed, agility, and coordination.
The Navy has also adopted Taekwondo as part of its physical training program.
Sailors are taught basic self-defense techniques and how to use their bodies to defend themselves in combat situations. They are also taught how to use their bodies to increase speed, agility, and coordination.
Does the US military train Jiu-Jitsu?
The US military does indeed train Jiu-Jitsu.
Specifically, the US Marine Corps has adopted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as part of its martial arts training program.
The Marine Corps has been teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since the early 2000s, and it has become an integral part of their martial arts training program.
The Marines use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to teach their soldiers how to defend themselves in close-quarters combat, as well as how to control or subdue an attacker without necessarily causing serious injury.
Granted BJJ techniques can easily break an arm or knock someone unconscious.
In addition to the Marine Corps, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard all use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as part of their martial arts training curriculum.
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is not used by any branch of the US military for martial arts training purposes.
In comparison to BJJ, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu has a wider variety of techniques including strikes, throws, and joint locks; more like Aikido. While BJJ does use takedowns to get an opponent on the ground, strikes and throws aren’t typically part of the curriculum.
What martial arts do CIA agents learn?
The most common martial arts taught to CIA agents include:
- Krav Maga
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Muay Thai
Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system and not really a martial art. It focuses on using the body’s natural movements to quickly and effectively neutralize an attacker. But it’s down-and-dirty and designed to inflict maximum damage as quickly as possible.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling art that emphasizes ground fighting and submission holds. It was derived from both Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. But in the US, there are really 2 distinct kinds of BJJ; sport/competition and self-defense.
Muay Thai is a form of Thai kickboxing that utilizes punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to create powerful strikes. Lastly, Judo is a Japanese martial art that focuses on throws and joint locks to subdue an opponent.
In addition to these martial arts, CIA agents also learn defensive tactics such as weapon disarmament and close-quarters combat techniques.
What kind of martial arts does the FBI use?
The FBI has adopted a fighting system of martial arts known as the Defensive Tactics Program (DTP). This program is designed to teach agents how to defend themselves in dangerous situations.
The DTP includes techniques from various martial arts, such as:
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Krav Maga
These martial arts are chosen for their effectiveness in close-quarters combat and their ability to be adapted to different scenarios. Agents are taught how to use these techniques in order to protect themselves and others from harm.
In addition to the DTP, the FBI also utilizes other forms of self-defense training.
This includes firearms training, defensive driving courses, and tactical operations courses. All of these courses are designed to help agents stay safe while on duty and prepare them for any situation they may encounter while on the job.
The FBI also utilizes specialized training for its agents who work in high-risk environments or who may be called upon to respond to active shooter situations. This training includes tactics such as room clearing, hostage rescue operations, and active shooter response.
Can you earn a black belt in martial arts in the US military?
It is possible to earn a black belt in martial arts in the US military.
The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) offers black belt certification for those who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the program.
To earn a black belt, Marines must demonstrate mastery of all five belts within the program:
- tan belt (basic)
- gray belt (intermediate)
- green belt (advanced)
- brown belt (expert)
- black belt (master)
The entry-level tan belt requires 27.5 hours of training time. The gray belt requires 25 additional hours. Then the green belt requires 25 hours more. Brown belt requires 33 additional hours, and finally black needs 40 hours more.
Ultimately, that’s a total of 150.5 hours of training needed.
If you were going to a 1-hour class twice a week, that would have you earning a black belt in just under a year and a half. So compared to most martial arts, that is incredibly fast!
In addition to earning a black belt through the MCMAP program, some branches of the military also offer specialized martial arts training programs that can lead to black belt certification.
For example, the Army’s Combatives Program offers instruction in various martial arts disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing. Those who complete this program can earn a black belt from one of these disciplines.
In conclusion, the US Army and other branches of the military use a variety of martial arts programs for its military personnel to be prepared for combat situations.
Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are all forms of martial art that the army utilizes in order to give their soldiers the best possible training.
These different styles allow them to develop a combination of techniques that can help them survive in close quarters or other dangerous scenarios. The use of these various martial arts is an important part of making sure our armed forces have the skills they need to succeed on any mission they may face.
Army Combatives Level 1 Course by Presidio of Monterey is licensed under Public Domain and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added