As of Oct. 1, only Marines ranked corporal or higher are eligible to receive brown belts, the second highest belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and any Marine interested in receiving a black belt must be at least a sergeant, according to the Marine Corps.

The changes come from an update to MCMAP the Corps released in September, which specifies that Marines who already have received their belts but do not meet the rank requirement are grandfathered into the system.

The Corps said the change was made so that Marines will take the required time to “master” the mental and character requirements for the advanced belts, not just the memorize the new fighting moves.

“MCMAP is a combination of mental, character, and physical disciplines,” Marine Corps combat Development Command said in a statement to Marine Corps Times.

“Belt advancement in some cases had everything to do with proper execution of the physical discipline, but required no mastery or demonstrated ability in the mental and character disciplines,” the statement said.

The Corps added that the syllabi for brown and black included training on counselling, mentoring and other leadership techniques that were “tailored to be focused on the Non-commissioned Officer and above."

To receive a brown belt Marines must complete 12 hours and 30 minutes of physical discipline, learning the new brown belt techniques, 15 hours reviewing techniques learned for prior belts and six hours of mental training that includes the study of the Apache tribes “warrior culture.”

In addition to being sergeants, Marines looking to become first degree MCMAP black belts must complete 20 hours of sustainment training, 12 hours and 45 minutes of learning the advanced black belt techniques, and eight hours of character and mental training, including studying the “warrior culture” of the Zulus.

Marines who do not meet the rank requirements would still be allowed to train for the brown and black belt, “but to achieve and show mastery of those belt levels you are required to be of the appropriate rank," the Marine Corps said.

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