For those of you unfamiliar with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), there are three belts that each require you to learn and perfect a series of progressively more difficult techniques. All Marines upon graduating from TBS on the officer side and Recruit Training on the enlisted side have earned their first one: Tan Belt.
The instructors during MCMAP week are NCOs from the Martial Arts Center of Excellence (MACE), which is located on the TBS campus. Every day you meet them on a, possibly muddy, field and practice these basic techniques. You’ll go over punches, kicks, strikes, basic throws, bayonet techniques, and some other interesting moves. It’s all extremely basic, and you shouldn’t have any problem earning your tan belt.
Depending on the Company CO, you may have the opportunity to belt up even more while at TBS. This is possible because pretty much every platoon has a Marine, probably prior enlisted, who is an MAI, or Martial Arts Instructor. Basically, there’s a fair amount of Marines in the company who are qualified to instruct and belt up in MCMAP.
A lot of people show up to TBS already having MCMAP belts. After you commission, it is possible for you to belt up in MCMAP. All you need to do is find an MAI. It’s all about knowing someone who can instruct you. If you don’t know anyone you’ll get perfectly good instruction at TBS. That said, if you have the opportunity to belt up before you get here, I recommend it. It will look good on you to be able to help those Marines who are struggling to master the techniques.
All Marines must participate in MCMAP week, regardless of whether or not they already have a belt.
There isn’t as much PT during MCMAP week as you might expect. The only really difficult combat conditioning day is immediately before testing out for Tan Belt. It is an hour long workout with lots of buddy exercises (e.g., buddy squats, buddy drag, buddy push ups, etc). Finally, you have your initial CFT on the Friday after MCMAP week. A lot of people were exhausted from the previous day’s workout, but it shouldn’t make much of a difference.
Here is the official publication for MCMAP.