Support our mission

NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Marines are masters of some of the world’s most lethal weapons.

But they also know how to take an enemy out with their hands because of a robust martial arts training regiment.

Martial art self-defense training is nothing new to the Corps.

Every Marine who goes through boot camp learns hand-to-hand combat skills that blend knife and bayonet fighting mixed in with some Brazilian jujitsu and judo. Since the Corps established a standardized training program in 2002, Marines have been expected to keep up the skills throughout their career. Units have their own instructors to help sustain proficiency.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown, a black belt instructor with the Rota-based Marine Corps Security Force Company Europe, said Marines by and large love the program and the chance to learn new techniques.

“It’s something they look forward to,” Brown said.

The Corps’ martial arts training, however, includes more than just ways to take out an enemy. The program emphasizes the mental aspects of what the Marines call a “professional warrior.”

Instructors preach the importance of good character, discipline and the ability to know when to use force and when not to use force.

“There’s a lot more that goes into it that people who see us practice don’t see,” Brown said.

Every Marine who comes out of boot camp rises to the level of a tan belt, which is the first of five levels of training. However, they have the opportunity to rise to a black belt throughout their time in the Corps.

In Rota, Marines practice an average of two to three hours, two or three times a week, Brown said. The company has six to eight instructors to help the 184 Marines maintain their skills or jump to another level.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up