Peace Time: January 17, 2002

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One of the largely unnoticed weapons of the Afghanistan war was the physical training of the troops sent there. The marines and special forces have always been particularly eager for physical training. Lots of physical training, and always on the lookout for new methods. Pushing the idea of lots of exercise is easy to do with combat units, as the troops know their lives depend on it. Problems arise when you try to get the non-combat men and women to exercise with any enthusiasm. The marines solved the problem with a program of well, street fighting. The Martial Arts Training Program is taught like most other martial arts, allowing for degrees of proficiency, and colored belts to indicate how far a marine has gone from tan (the lowest level) to black (the highest.) The marine program is notable for elements that accurately represent actual combat conditions. For example, before doing the actual combat fighting, trainers wear the marines out with vigorous physical exercise. In combat you are likely to encounter the enemy face to face only after a lot of running around. Another realism element is the random introduction into the training area of items that could be used as weapons (a knife, pipe, piece of lumber). These realism touches make the Marine Corps Martial Arts Training Program popular and effective. 


 


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