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Phase One lasts approximately four weeks. Here, discipline will begin to be instilled in recruits by disorienting them and breaking them from old civilian habits and mindsets.  Drill instructors begin reinforcing the mental and physical standards needed to perform under stressful situations that could be experienced in combat situations.  Recruits learn a complete new way of speaking and use language and terminology they will use throughout their entire time in the Marine Corps.

The purpose of Phase One is to mentally and physically challenge the recruits.  At this point, civilian habits are completely detrimental to training, so they are eliminated during this period through intense physical training, strict routines, discipline and intense instruction. The process is designed to enable recruits to learn to survive in combat situations and to adapt and overcome any unexpected situation.

Phase 1 is a fast paced, intense period in the transformation of civilian to Marine.

Marine Corps Boot Camp Photos


Close order drill is an important factor in recruit training, and begins from their first formation on the yellow footprints. In the first phase, they learn all of the basic commands and movements, memorizing the timing through the use of cadence that help synchronize a recruit’s movements with the rest of his or her platoon.

Constant repetition and practice are used to facilitate muscle memory, so that any given movement can be rendered immediately and accurately upon order without hesitation. To aid in this development, drill movements are worked into other parts of daily life, to help increase the platoon’s synchronization and muscle memory; this same technique is used with other non-drill activities as well. The first inter-platoon contest, held in the first week of the second phase, is termed “initial drill”, where the platoon and junior-most drill instructor are graded as a whole on their performance in close order drill.


Driven by the philosophy of “one mind, any weapon,” the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) combines some of the most effective unarmed techniques from various martial arts with armed techniques designed for combat.

During their time in the Corps, Marines can advance through five colored belt levels.

MCMAP stresses physical, mental and character disciplines. Marines study martial arts culture and history to hone their minds. They maintain optimal fitness through extensive combat conditioning and practice of new skills. More importantly, MCMAP reinforces the moral values Marines count on to execute their battlefield objectives as ethical warriors.

Bayonet Training


The bayonet is a time honored weapon in the Marine Corps. On the Bayonet Assault Course recruits learn to channel their intensity towards a target. Drill instructors teach recruits how to properly use a bayonet (the removable fighting knife that attaches to the muzzle of the rifle) to kill an opponent. After bayonet training, recruits will be able to attach a bayonet quickly before charging towards an aggressor.

This training builds self-confidence and the recruits become masters of deadly combat skills.


After passing their initial strength test, Marine Corps recruit training begins with a moment these recruits will never forget.  Its time to meet their drill instructors.

They are the backbone of the Marine Corps, demanding perfectionists who monopolize every waking hour of the recruit’s lives.  Every second of every day will be spent with these drill instructors who will mould them into Marines.  They will instill in them, through their own example, the utmost levels of professionalism, teamwork, discipline and confidence.  They really do make Marines.

Circuit Course


Pugil Sticks

Pugil sticks are heavily padded poles recruits spar with to simulate rifle and bayonet combat. These weapons are an effective and safe way for recruits to develop the intensity, confidence and combat techniques of a Marine. They will learn how to outmaneuver and overpower an opponent.

For most recruits, pugil sticks training is the first physical combat they have ever experienced. They will have to learn to act despite fear. It is a critical step in their transformation from civilian to warrior.

There are three levels of pugil sticks training:

Pugil Sticks I

  • Recruits learn the safety precautions and rules of fighting

Pugil Sticks II

  • Recruits fight on wooden bridges 2.5 feet above the ground

Pugil Sticks III

  • Bouts are conducted in simulated trenches and confined spaces


During the two rounds of the Confidence Course, recruits will face 11 unique challenges, each more demanding than the one before.

Recruits will first complete the course individually and then in 4-man fireteams, adding teamwork to the physical challenge. The course increases recruits’ physical strength and, as the name implies, confidence.

Confidence Course



By definition, the Marine Corps is an amphibious assault force. Therefore all Marine recruits are required to know how to survive in the water. Recruits receive basic water survival training at the indoor pool, which is safely conducted by specially trained instructors. Training in combat water survival develops a recruit’s confidence in the water.

All recruits must pass the minimum requirement level of Water Survival Basic (WSB), which requires recruits to perform a variety of water survival and swimming techniques. If recruits meet the WSB requirements, they may upgrade to a higher level.

All recruits train in the camouflage utility uniform, but those upgrading may be required to train in full combat gear, which includes a rifle, helmet, flak jacket and pack.