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Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Far East PT

February 21, 2003 11:05 AM

The United States Marine Corps has had a well-developed physical fitness program for many years. Many of the ideas we utilize are not new, but have fallen out of vogue for the new improved ideas of the so-called experts. The USMC program revolves around 5 basic principles: overload, balance, variety, regularity, and progression to achieve the 4 components of combat conditioning; strength, endurance, agility, and coordination. While we may not be competing for the Mr. Olympia title, I am quite sure many of those Adonises could not keep pace with the smallest Marine with a full combat load over the hills of Afghanistan or the jungles of the Philippines. While the level of combat conditioning is quite high in most Marine Corps units, many are falling victim to the media hype of today's fitness magazines, split gym routines and $200.00 in supplements a month. The Marine Corps Martial Art Program (MCMAP) stresses the need for combat conditioning. With the requirements of basic combat training, Mission Occupation Specialty (MOS) training and other required training, it is important to maximize the most effective physical training possible. This is where Pavel's old school principles
Power to the People!) and kettlebell training come into play. At the MCMAP Far East School, in Okinawa Japan, one of the twists we incorporate is kettlebell training with sandbags. This training encompasses all the components of combat conditioning and adds great variety to the training.

While the kettlebell is vastly superior to sandbags, kettlebells are prohibitive in weight and transporting to the various trouble spots of the world in quantities. Sandbags are cheap, easily transportable (empty) and are found in great quantities where ever we go, as well as adjustable in weight. Initial preparation includes placing a plastic liner inside the sandbag. This is for comfort and utility. The liner keeps the sand grains from sprinkling out, as well as keeping water in. One of the ways to increase the weight of the bag is to add water to the sand. Once the proper amount of weight is in the bag, close it up and execute a few swings to check the weight. Once the weight is set, finish closing off the bag and tape the end off to act as a stopper handle.

The MCMAP FE training program has 3 sandbag PT sessions. Each session increases the number of repetitions, difficulty and variation of the exercises, to include 2 bag lifts.

Physical Conditioning Set #1 "The Dirty Dozen", is as follows:

Name Qty
1. Deck Squats 10
2. 1 arm swings 10 each arm
3. Snatches 10 each arm
4. Clean / Press 10 each arm
5. Front Raises 10 2 handed
6. Get Ups 5 each side
7. Chinese Sit-ups 10
8. Assisted Leg Raises 10 C/L/R/C
9. Lateral Passes 10 L/R
10. Buddy Squats 5X2
11. Sandbag Sit-ups 10
12. Ladder Pull ups 1 set through 5 reps

Front Raises: Grasp the sandbag with both hands and hold at waist level. Lift the bag from waist level to 45 degrees above your head and back to your waist utilizing a slow count, for 1 repetition.

Chinese sit-ups: 2 person exercise, the person executing (1) starts in the knees up sit-up position. His partner (2) sits on his feet (1) and grasps his partners (1) calves. 1 repetition consists of coming from the lying position to the standing position and back to the deck. Partner (2) can assist by pulling straight back on partner (1) calves as he comes to the standing position.

chinese situps

Lateral passes: The old medicine ball exercise.

Buddy Squats: 2 person exercise. Carry your buddy in a fireman's carry, and execute 5 squats.

buddy squats

Sandbag sit-ups: 2 person exercise. Person executing lies on his back in classic sit up position. Partner (2) stands on partner's (1) feet holding a sandbag. Partner 1 comes to the up position while partner 1 throws the sandbag down to his chest. Partner (1) catches the bag on his chest rolls back to the down position. In the same fluid motion, partner (1) extends the bag over his head with both hands, touching the ground with the bag, behind his head. He then pulls the bag back to his chest and comes to the up position and throws the bag utilizing a press push back up to his partner (2) for 1 repetition.

sandbag situps

In the words of my Tovarich, ENJOY!

# # #

Msgt. Franklin has 20 years of service in the Marine Corps. He has served in all three of the USMC active duty Reconnaissance Battalions, the elite 2nd Force Recon Co, as a Drill instructor and Senior Drill Instructor at the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island. His service has taken him from the jungles of the Philippines to Desert Shield / Desert Storm and the frozen Artic. His current assignment is the Director of the Marine Corps Martial Art Program Far East, in Okinawa, Japan. His duties include the training and certification of MCMAP instructors and also provide him the opportunity to train with Olympic, national and military martial art teams and close-combat schools throughout the Far East. He is certified as a 4th degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate and he teaches on Okinawa for Grand Master Fusie Kise and the All Okinawa Shorin Ryu Karate and Kobudo Federation (AOSKKF)