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Recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, practice the figure-four variation choke hold during a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program session aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Jan. 14. The figure-four variation is a blood choke that causes the enemy to pass out faster. It is also a safer way to subdue an enemy with out causing too much harm.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Bridget M. Keane

Co. C recruits learn responsible use of force

31 Jan 2013 | Lance Cpl. Bridget M. Keane Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego

In their fourth week of training, recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, learned chokes and counter techniques during a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program session aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Jan. 14.
Learning the fundamentals of MCMAP and earning their tan belt is a graduation requirement for all recruits aboard the depot. Tan belt is the first of five belts that a Marine can earn and is the foundation of MCMAP. They learn offensive techniques as well as defensive, so they can protect themselves in hand-to-hand combat.
“Recruits learn specific techniques to use in a last-chance situation if they don’t have a weapon,” said Sgt. Brandon Karnes, drill instructor, Platoon 1051, Co. C, 1st RTBn. “These choking techniques, if applied properly, are a fast and safe way to knock out the enemy.”
The two types of chokes that recruits learn are the rear choke and figure-four variation. Both techniques are blood chokes. By applying pressure to the carotid artery, the major artery of the head and neck, blood flow is restricted to the brain causing the enemy to pass out.
“A properly applied blood choke can knock out an enemy in less than eight seconds,” said Karnes. “Trying to restrict air to a victim can take close to a minute, which is enough time for the enemy to fight back.”
Recruits then learned counter techniques to chokes and holds. The three techniques: counter to the rear choke, counter to the headlock and counter to the bear hug, allow recruits to break away from the enemy, throw them off balance and follow on with additional strikes.
“These techniques give us a chance to react quickly during a surprise attack,” explained Recruit Sterling Sallee, Plt. 1053, Co. C, 1st RTBn. “You never know what type of situation you can be in where someone is able to sneak up on you.”
Karnes, a black belt Martial Arts Instructor, explained that although MCMAP teaches recruits how to defend themselves, it also stresses the importance of controlling a situation with the least amount of force.
“(MCMAP) not only teaches recruits the fundamentals of martial arts, but it also teaches them about being a better person,” said Karnes.
MCMAP helps develop a Marines’ character. It helps make them mentally stronger and teaches the responsible use of force, leadership and importance of teamwork.
“I think it’s important that we learn these techniques,” said Sallee. “It’s important to learn how to protect yourself without taking someone else’s life in the process.”
Co. C recruits are scheduled to earn their tan belts Feb. 20. With the techniques and character development instilled through each MCMAP session, Co. C is one step closer to earning the title Marine.