Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Introduction to Throws

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Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Introduction to Throws

This section focuses on tan belt techniques used by the Marine Corps martial arts program. This page examines some of the throws used in the Marine Corps martial arts program. 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.

Introduction to Throws

The purpose of a throw is to bring an aggressor to the deck to gain the tactical advantage in a fight. Throws apply the principles of balance, leverage, timing, and body position to upset an aggressor’s balance and to gain control by forcing the aggressor to the deck. When executing a throw, it is important to maintain control of your own balance while preventing the aggressor from countering a throw or escaping after he is forced to the deck.


The throw consists of three parts: entry, off balancing, and execution. The leg sweep is the most basic type of throw in MCMAP that is introduced at the Tan Belt level.


The first part of a throw is the entry. You want your entry to be quick and untelegraphed to prevent your aggressor from anticipating your movement and countering your attack. You also want to make sure that your body positioning is correct in relation to your aggressor to allow for proper off balancing and execution of the throw.

Off Balancing

The second part of a throw is off balancing. Off balancing techniques are used to control an aggressor by using the momentum of the aggressor to move or throw him. Off balancing techniques can be used to throw an aggressor to the deck while you remain standing or to put yourself in a position for a strike or a choke. Off balancing also aids in the execution of throws, as your aggressor is unable to fight your attack with full strength while off balanced.

Angles of Off Balancing. There are eight angles or directions in which an aggressor can be off balanced. The angles correspond to your perspective, not the aggressor’s. Imagine the angles at your feet labeled with forward, rear, right, left, forward-right, forward-left, rear-right, and rear-left.

The following are angles that will off balance an aggressor:

• Forward, rear, right, and left are straight angles.
• Forward-right, forward-left, rear-right, and rear-left are considered quadrants, at a 45-degree angle in either direction to your front or your rear.

Off Balancing Techniques. You can off balance the aggressor by pushing, pulling, or bumping him with your hands, arms, or body. Some off balancing techniques are as follows:

• Grabbing an aggressor with your hands and driving him forcefully to one of the rear quadrants or right or left perform pulling.
• Grabbing the aggressor with your hands and driving him forcefully into one of the front quadrants or right or left perform pushing.
• Bumping is executed in the same manner as pushing, but without using your hands to grab the aggressor. Instead, you use other parts of your body such as your shoulders, hips, and legs

Principles of Off Balancing. Because off balancing techniques rely on the momentum and power generated by the aggressor, they are particularly effective techniques for men and women who may be outsized by their aggressor or the lack of strength that the aggressor has. Off balancing techniques rely on—

• The momentum of the aggressor. For example, if the aggressor is charging at you, you can pull him to drive him to the deck. If the aggressor is pulling you, you can push him to drive him to the deck.
• The generated power of the aggressor. In combat, you are often tired and may be outnumbered. Depending on the generated energy and momentum of the aggressor, you can employ these techniques with very little effort and still obtain effective results.

Practical Application for Off Balancing. Practical application of off balancing will allow the Marine to safely practice off balancing on an aggressor and being off balanced without completing the throw. Practical application is as follows:

• Begin the practical application with students facing one another. Designate one student as the aggressor and the other to perform off balancing.
• Direct the students to do the following; with your left hand, grasp the aggressor’s right hand, with your right hand; grasp the aggressor’s left shoulder.
• Practice each of the eight angles of off balancing. Ensure that the students push or pull just enough to see that the aggressor is off balanced, not to drive the aggressor to the deck. When the aggressor takes a step back or forward, he is off balanced and compensating to maintain his balance.


The final part of a throw is the execution. During this portion the aggressor is taken to the deck. This is the defining moment of the throw. Each step before execution is used to set up and assist this final process.

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  1. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP),, Added - 04/07/15

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