Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Vertical Knee Strike

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Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Vertical Knee Strike

This section focuses on tan belt techniques used by the Marine Corps martial arts program. This page examines the vertical knee strike technique used in the Marine Corps martial arts program. To learn about other martial arts kicks & knee strikes, please visit the main Martial Arts Kicks section. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).

For more Marine Corps techniques, please visit the main Marine Corps Martial Arts Program section.

Lower Body Strikes

The purpose of lower body strikes is to stop an aggressor’s attack or create an opening in his defense in order to launch an attack. The vertical knee strike, front kick, round kick, and vertical stomp are all lower body strikes that can be performed with either the lead or rear leg. Lower body strikes with the rear leg have greater power because the hips are rotated into the attack. However, the rear leg is further away from the aggressor allowing him a greater reaction time.

Vertical Knee Strike

Knee strikes are excellent weapons for close range combat and are used to create and maximize damage to your aggressor.

Striking Surface

The striking surface is from the top of the knee to two inches above it (not the knee cap).

Target Areas of the Body

If the aggressor is upright, the groin is often the primary target area. If the aggressor is bent over, ideal target areas are the aggressor’s face and sternum.


~ From the basic warrior stance, grab the aggressor’s neck or gear with both hands, without interlacing your fingers. If you interlace your fingers, your aggressor can pull back or reach behind your head and break the fingers.
~ Pull the aggressor down and at the same time raise your right knee driving it up forcefully into the aggressor. Pulling the aggressor down and thrusting the leg upward with your hips generates power.
~ Rapidly return to the basic warrior stance.


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  1. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP),, Added - 03/06/15

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