How long it should take to get a black belt is an interesting question in any martial art, let alone in the military.
In Karate or Kung Fu, we are talking four to five years.
Back in the forties it would take a year. Maybe less, maybe more. And this was for Karate, Japanese styles, and any other style that had a belt system.
Then Kenpo came along and they started selling black belts on what is referred to as ‘car contract’ sales approaches. That way they could keep students longer and make more money.
The actual contract was designed in Kenpo Karate by a dance instructor from Arthur Murray dance studios.
Which brings up the original point of this article, how long should it take to get a black belt when you are studying a military style, like MCMAP, or the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Well, in a commercial school at the local McDojo strip mall school, at two hours a week you would put in 100 hours in a year, 400 hours in four years.
The marines, or the army or navy, in their basic training, have you 24 hours a day for up to four months. Four months would be 120 days. At one hour a day every day, using old standards before the car contract system came in, most people could earn a black belt in that time.
Of course they might have to do with a little less parade ground drilling, and look at training in how to survive with hand to hand on a battlefield, but it is definitely possible.
And, you would have to overcome certain considerations that the military might have.
For instance, they want you to take courses on leadership, and go up in the ranks before they teach you more martial arts. Which is sort of silly, because it’s like saying you shouldn’t learn how to survive hand to hand combat unless you have been around for a while.
And, they would have to revamp some of their training methods; put in more kicks, change the structure of their training so that empty hand fighting better aligned with weapons, and so on.
Most of all, they would have to consider that soldiers aren’t fodder, but that every soldier should have higher and higher training, that every soldier should have the highest possible chance of surviving on the battlefield.
All this done, wouldn’t it be wonderful if a recruit could go into basic training and come out, 120 days later, a bona fide and deadly black belt?