Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Punches

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Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Punches

This section focuses on tan belt techniques used by the Marine Corps martial arts program. This page examines how to punch in the Marine Corps martial arts program. To learn about other martial arts punches, please visit the main Punches & Hand Strikes 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.


Punches are used to stun the aggressor or to set him up for follow-on techniques. It is important to note that while we do not endorse punching in a combative engagement, it is understood that punching is a reflexive behavior. It is important to train in a way that maximizes the damage inflicted upon the aggressor and minimizes the damage to you.

Muscle Relaxation

During instruction on punches, muscle relaxation must be emphasized at all times. The natural tendency during an engagement is to tense up, which results in rapid fatigue and decreased power generation. The person who can remain relaxed during an engagement will generate greater speed, which results in greater power. Relaxing your forearm generates speed and improves reaction time. Clench your fist at the point of impact in order to cause damage to the aggressor and avoid injury to your wrist and hand.

Making a Fist

Punches are executed using the basic fist. When making the basic fist, curl the fingers naturally into the palm of the hand and place the thumb across the index and middle fingers (see fig. 2-4). Do not clench the fist until movement has begun. This increases muscular tension in the forearm and decreases speed and reaction time. Just before impact, apply muscular tension to the hand and forearm to reduce injury to you and maximize damage to the aggressor. Contact with the fist should be made with the first two knuckles of the index and middle finger.


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  1. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP),, Added - 02/18/15

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