US Marines Start to Utilize MMA and Boxing Training

A 28 x 28 foot structure was completed in June to serve as a training facility for the active duty and reserve component Marines of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Corps Regiment at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

This “pit,” as it is called, is where the Marines train and qualify for different belt levels in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, also known as MCMAP.

The program is a combat system developed by the U.S. Marine Corps that combines existing and new hand-to-hand and close-quarters combat techniques with morale and team-building functions, along with instruction in the Warrior Ethos. Fighters are equipped with quality gear including mens boxing shoes.

MCMAP was implemented to increase the combat efficiency, as well as to increase the confidence and leadership abilities of Marines.

The program, which began in 2001, trains Marines (and U.S. Navy personnel attached to Marine units) in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. It also stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.

“The Pit”

MCMAP does not require a dedicated training area. However training is significantly enhanced with such an area because the Marines are less prone to injuries.

The pit is designed for use on a continuous basis and to withstand years of wear and tear and punishment from the Marines who use it.

Costing roughly $196,000, the pit has about one meter in depth of padding to help protect bodies from the throws and falls they may sustain during training. Many tons of recycled tire shavings sit atop layers of gravel and sand, all under a large steel structure that shelters the area from inclement weather.

Belt Significance

According to 1st Sgt. Gerardo Ybarra, there are five different belt levels or progressions, similar to many other mixed martial arts such as Karate or Jiu-Jitsu.

Because the belts are worn with the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform, the complete range of belt colors such as red, yellow, or purple are excluded as a practical consideration.

A Marine or recruit in training will start out as a tan belt, then work his or her way through gray, green, brown, and eventually black.

Within the black belt level, the highest level a person can attain, there are five more levels of degrees, second through sixth degree.

A 1st degree black belt instructor may teach fundamentals from tan to black belt and award the appropriate belt. In addition, a black belt can become an instructor-trainer, which authorizes them to teach and award all belts, as well as teach and certify instructors. Black belts, 2nd degree to 6th degree, signify that the holder is an authority in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

Ybarra is not the only black belt on his staff. However, he is the sole certified black belt instructor who is making it one of his duties to properly instruct and help the Marines sustain their MCMAP techniques.

Combat Techniques

A basic principle of martial arts is to use the aggressor’s strength and momentum against him to gain more leverage than one’s own muscles alone can generate, thereby gaining and advantage.

Achieving surprise through deception or stealth can also greatly increase leverage. In close combat, Marines must exploit every advantage over an aggressor to ensure a successful outcome. This can include use various weapons and close combat techniques that will present a dilemma to the aggressor.

The techniques used by MCMAP vary in degrees of lethality, allowing the user to select the most appropriate (usually the least) amount of force. For example, a Marine facing a nonviolent but noncompliant subject can use an unarmed restraint to force compliance with minimal damage and pain.

A more aggressive subject could be met with a choke, hold, or a strike. Lethal force can be used on a subject as a last resort. The majority of techniques can be defensive or offensive, with or without a weapon; allowing Marines flexibility in combat and operations other than war (such as civil control or humanitarian missions, as well as self-defense).

Depending on the belt level the Marine is training at, he or she may learn different punches, kicks, breaks, falls, chokes, throws, counter strikes, grappling, submissions, bayonet and or knife techniques, firearm retention and more. For more info check out US Combat Sports.

Ybarra said it could potentially take a Marine close to 300 hours of training to achieve black belt status.

“Just from brown to black belt you have 40 hours of training time and 80 hours of sustain time,” Ybarra added.

In discussing the sustainment of training with which his Marines have familiarized themselves over three weeks Ybarra said, “Today was just a fun day. We wanted to harness what we’ve been teaching the whole three weeks, their character, their physical, and their mental capability, what we call synergies, physical, mental and character synergies.”

Top 10 Decorating Ideas You Should Not Miss For Christmas

ideas for home decoration

There’s no denying the fact that Christmas is fast approaching. Soon, you’ll have to lay out Christmas activities, such as parties, ice skating, movie marathons,etc. for you and your family or friends.

More importantly, this also means we need to start planning on how our home would look for the upcoming holiday season. Surely, we can go with what the look we always go for every single year but slight changes and some new ideas would definitely not hurt.

After all, Christmas is that one time of the year wherein you can go all out in making your house look fantastic. Although Americans are very wiling to spend on decorations for Christmas, what’s great is that in order to do make your home ready for Christmas, you don’t necessarily have to vacuum your bank account as there are many affordable options in the market.

Without any more delay, let’s check out the top 10 decorating ideas you can choose from for Christmas.

Christmas Ideas

Decor Platter

A Christmas platter on this display is definitely a must. But this time, it won’t contain food or anything edible; instead, fill it with pine cones, Christmas balls, plastic snowflakes, and the like. Simply place it on the side table or center table in your living room to add beauty.

Laser lights

It’s time to ditch the traditional Christmas lights whose safety is quite doubtful. You may want to try out this new and safer alternative called laser light projectors (check Aside from being more cost-efficient, these projectors also offer a wider coverage of lights in terms of area.

Yuletide Tables

Don’t miss out on decorating your dining tables, center tables, and side tables. By simply placing snow globes or Christmas decor platters, you’ll add beauty to these parts of the home. Other ideas may include using Christmas cards to serve as table mats.

Holiday Centerpiece

The holiday centerpiece is of utmost importance as it completes the look of the dining table. Centerpieces may vary from simple small ones to large glasses containing glittery Christmas flowers or freshly picked plants that match the colors of Christmas.

Holiday window designs

Greens, Greens, Greens

To keep the house fresh, you might also entertain the idea of sticking with natural greens. This is actually a great way to decorate the home; from natural green garlands to freshly made wreaths, it’s quite easy to incorporate greeneries into the holiday picture.

Hang in There

Hanging paper snowflakes, and other Christmas symbols, that you can easily cut out or those plastic ones which you can buy will also go well for this coming Christmas. Hanging decors are best placed on empty corners, walls, etc.

Unique Gifts

Aside from the gifts underneath the Christmas tree, a more unique gift may be your pillows, tables, or chairs. By simply wrapping them with large red ribbons, you’ll be giving your house a presentable look.

Holiday Windows

You may also add more decorations to your windows so as to not make these areas look dull. A great way to decorate window surfaces is by placing fake snowflakes on the glass so as to give it that minimalist Christmas look which can easily be seen from outside.


A Couple of Easy Beginner Tips to Follow When Skating on Ice

kids practicing skate

To those of us who love the idea of becoming world renowned figure skaters or hockey players, there is an ultimate secret recipe to this goal and that is—mastering how to skate. Just like how musicians master their skills in music, sports players also do their part. As cliche as it may sound, being ultimately skilled in skating is, no doubt, what will make us excel in sports like hockey, figure skating, and the like. So, if you are quite the beginner on the skating rink, tune in to this article as we will give you the best tips in the rink.

If you fall into the category of those who are quite considered as “beginners” in skating, then you’ve come to the right place. We will be happy to supply you with suggestions and tips which you can effectively use as you continue learning and mastering your skills in skating. Furthermore, do make sure that you have the right skating gears when you go for a practice (check out

Without any more delay, here is the guide.

Skating Tips

  • Do some warm ups.

Just like any other physical activity, you must never fail to do warm-ups first. You certainly do not want to surprise your body nor do you want to be sore when you’re out of the ice. Do some stretching for your legs before hitting the rink and remember, you may or may not experience cramps (this is quite common depending on the weather or other factors).

  • Head up and look forward.

When it comes to skating, the number one rule is “do not look down” otherwise you’ll probably hit the railings or bump into someone else. Always keep your head up and look forward; monitor where you are going so that you can easily maneuver your motions. Moreover, lean forward when you’re skating and not backward as this may also cause you to fall.

  • Be familiar with falling.

Part and parcel of skating is falling. Thus, it would be best to familiarize and practice falling. When it comes to skating, you can either experience the bad fall or the right fall. Of course, we must go for the lesser evil which is the right way of falling. In order for you to minimize the impact of the fall, be aware of the feeling of needing to fall. If you do need to fall, bend your knees and go into a dip position. It’s best to fall sideways while leaning forward with your hands on your lap. This will make it easier for you to push yourself back up when you’re on the ground.

hockey practice on ice

  • Master how to stop.

Like riding a bike, you must know how to hit the brakes; otherwise, you might crash into something. Basically, the ultimate way to put your skates to a stop is by pushing your feet apart; afterwards, push one skate out sideways. This motion causes your body to halt; it’s the same principle applied in skis

  • Practice gliding and stroking,

Learn the basic skills of gliding and stroking as these are the foundations of your skills. For gliding, you will need to march forward for a couple of steps before allowing your body to glide forward. If you’re a complete beginner, do this again and again. Once you become comfortable, start picking up one foot along the way.

Stroking, on the other hand, is just similar to gliding but only this time, you extend the duration of your movements. First, you march and then you glide. Once you’re gliding, start lifting one foot at a time, set it down, and lift the other. Continue doing so.

Bottom Line

In the end, it all boils down to whether you spend time practicing your skills or not. Although practice won’t make it perfect, it will definitely lead you close to perfection.

Art of Music: What We All Need To Know About Blues

types of blues genre

Music is one of the most amazing gifts from the heavens. There is no doubt that all of us will want to listen to some music at some point in time. May it be when we’re at the peak of happiness or when we find ourselves in the lowest of lows; music will help. According to some research, music helps people relax; it also eases pain, elevates mood, and reduces stress and anxiety especially in children. Mind you, these are only a few of the wonderful benefits of music. That being said, there are many different types of music genres that are well-fitted to each different purposes. Soulful music may be suited for those who are brokenhearted while EDM music might fit those who want to blend in the laser lights at the club. Among the different genres, one of the most popular is Blues.

Blues Music

At the end of the 19th century, Blue emerged as a trending genre of music. This genre originated from African Americans who came from the Lower Southern part of the United States. As we trace back the roots of Blues, it will take us to Africa.

Blues music is heavily influenced by African folk music, spiritual songs, as well as African-American work songs. Generally, blues music is a combination and incorporation of chants, work songs, spirituals, and ballads. This music genre is greatly characterized by its very own blues scale, unique chord progressions, and a musical pattern of call-and-response. Moreover, it is also characterized by its bass lines, instrumentation, and lyrics.

Primarily, its verses consisted of one line that would be repeated about four times; however, this evolved in the beginning of the 20th century. Still, at this point of time, Blues songs, through its lyrics, heavily relayed messages about the the troubles experienced by the African-American people.

There a couple of different eras for Blues. There are blues songs dating back from when the second world war had not yet started (called Pre War blues); city or urban blues also emerged during the 1920s. After the world war II, electric blues took the stage. Around 1970s, blues reached many other countries alongside what was popular back then, rock and roll and soul music. Today, Blues music continue to pleasure people’s ours all over the world.

popular blues music


Some of the musical instruments popularly used by Blues music are different types of guitars, including bass, acoustic, and electric, drums, harmonica, piano, and organ. This genre also strives to answer the question on what amp is good for Blues; yes, Blues also make use of amplifiers for the bass and the guitar.

Popular Songs

Some of the popular Blues songs over the years are the following:

  • Baby Please Don’t Go by Big Joe Williams
  • Kansas City by Little Willie Littlefield
  • Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out by Bessie Smith
  • Rock Me Baby Lil’ Son Jackson
  • Sweet Home Chicago by Robert Johnson
  • Dust My Broom  by Elmore James
  • Red House by Jimi Hendrix
  • Boom Boom by John Lee Hooker
  • Let the Good Times Roll by Louis Jordan
  • Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac
  • Blues After Hours by Pee Wee Crayton

Hosting an Outdoor Cinema At Home: Steps and Suggestions

ideas for outdoor cinema

As early as 1900s, open air cinemas have been around. As a matter of fact, the world’s oldest running open air cinema, Sun Pictures, was established in the year 1916 in Australia. In the USA, drive-in and open air cinemas became booming during the 1950s and from then onwards, it never really died out.

Today, there are thousands of outdoor cinemas all over the world competing with the creativity and services they offer. The fact that this type of cinema is still alive and kicking today truly tells us that there is something about outdoor cinemas that continue to stimulate people’s interest. This becomes even more apparent with the rise of homeowners who are determined to create their very own version of outdoor cinemas.

Perhaps, you are one of those who are interested in putting up your very own front or backyard cinema for the entertainment of your family or friends. It’s great to know that because this article intends to serve as your guide. Without further ado, here are the steps you need to take.


  • Spot and prepare the location

First and foremost, this outdoor home cinema is only possible if you have an available area outside and within the bounds of your house. No, you cannot set up your outdoor theater in your neighbor’s garden just because you don’t have enough space in your place.

After you determine the perfect location for this cinema project, you must proceed to preparing the area. Preparations may include mowing the tall grasses, sweeping the area, installing tents, and the like.

  • Purchase the necessary equipment.

For this project, you will need a projector, sound system, disc player, a laptop, extension wires, and a movie screen. The projector may be the one that costs the most and so, if you can find used projectors for sale, that would be fine as long as they still work correctly. You may use your own speakers for the sound system, your own DVD player or your laptop. As for the movie screen, you can make your own or purchase from

  • Set up the area.

Once you have all necessary equipment, you’re ready to set them up in your preferred location. You will be needing the extension wires if the area is far from sockets. The distance between the screen and the seats will depend on the size of your screen. For instance if you have a 16:9 screen that is 109 inches, you’ll have to place it around 10 feet away from the seats. Place the laptop and the projector in the center a couple of feet away from the screen; you may adjust according to your preference. As for the speakers, if it isn’t surround sound system, you’ll have to place in front and facing the audience.

backyard cinema ideas

  • Test drive the cinema.

Before inviting people over, test drive your very own outdoor cinema. Check if the distance of the projector is perfect, listen to how the movie sounds like, arrange the seats properly, etc. Do the necessary adjustments until you are satisfied.

  • Prepare list of movies.

Of course, don’t forget to prepare the DVDs or if you’re relying on a laptop, don’t forget to download the soft copies of the movies you want to watch.


  • Inform your neighbors

Don’t be an insensitive neighbor. Inform your neighbor if you’re about to host an outdoor movie night. Furthermore, be sensitive with the volume as well especially if it’s night time.

  • Debug the area

To prevent insects and bugs from joining your movie marathon, debug the location. In addition, use sprays or lotions that are insect or bug repellent. If you’re gonna be watching in your outdoor cinema with your baby in a carrier or with kids, you might as well bathe them in bug and insect repellent lotion.

  • Do it at night

Host a movie night, not a movie day. Using your outdoor cinema during the afternoon will mean you and the rest of the audience will be under the heat of the scorching sun; the movie screen as well won’t be able to show the right colors of the movie due to the rays of the sun.

What’s So Good About Laser Christmas Lighting?

christmas ideas

Christmas is a time we all look forward to. It’s an opportunity to reunite with family and friends. You get to wind up your year in glitter and cheer. As usual, it’s accompanied by Christmas trees, gifts and plenty of food. More often than not, people fail to fulfill the tiniest details of a full Christmas experience.

We overlook the lighting factors when organizing our Christmas holidays. Xmas laser lights are a safe and magnificent way to light up your Christmas mood. These lights are bright enough to be viewed from miles away. They are perfect for your backyard or even indoors. Unlike regular lights, laser lights add to that ultimate and memorable Christmas holiday.

6 Advantages 

  1. Beautiful, Bright Colors

They come in different colors. You can choose to mix the colors up or go with your favorite. Xmas laser lights only need to charge a little bit before using them in your garden. The color is said to bring warmth to a house and so do laser lights to your unadorned garden.

  1. Easy to Install

Xmas laser lights come tied with strings to help you position them in your garden. You can choose the number of bulbs depending on the size of the plot. An interesting way to create a beautiful garden is by hanging them in shapes, horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

It is tedious to climb the roof just to light up your house. With the sharp, bright features of the laser, you meet your lighting needs for a perfect Christmas experience.

christmas laser lights

  1. Excellent for Outdoors

Christmas laser lights are waterproof and ideally suited for the outdoors. You do not have to worry about lighting up your house during winter or wet conditions. The fitting strings attached to the lights allow you to wind them up with flowers in your garden. Besides Christmas season, you may even use these laser lights whenever you host an outdoor barbecue party, an outdoor movie night, etc. 

  1. Safe to Use

We’ve heard of fire outbreaks over Christmas caused by faulty lights. Laser lights use high-quality metal parts compared to the regular lights. The electric thermostat ensures the temperature is safe and steady.

  1. A Long Lifespan

It’s very frustrating when your Christmas lights go off just in a matter of days. Laser lights have an extended lifespan and will serve you for as long as you need. The thermostat enables the lights to adjust a stable temperature condition. The usual bulbs, if used for prolonged periods heat up and eventually go off. It may not be safe especially when using them around young children.

  1. Remote Control

You can adjust the settings of your laser bulbs by remote control. Most Christmas lights have this feature, but laser ones can be controlled from as far as 60 feet away. The remote control helps you:

  • Switch to a different color.
  • Flash the lights on and off as you wish.
  • Adjust the time when to turn on and off.
  • You can randomly change the colors e.g. from blue to red, to green and back to blue.


Ensure proper installation of Christmas laser lights to avoid faults that would lead to disconnection or inefficiency. Follow the trend, light up your world and enjoy your Christmas holidays in style. To know more, check out Laser Light Bro’s Info.


picture of the screens of a Taiwanese Casino







Safety Starts with a Great Baby Carrier – Introducing the Mission Critical Carrier

Over the years there have been numerous recalls on baby products. There has been baby crib recalls, and baby toy recalls, but the child car seat is probably the one product that has seen the most recalls. The mission critical baby carrier also has had its share of issues. Let us examine this product further.

The baby carrier has safety features put in place to prevent the baby from falling. Here are the
features by order of importance. The straps that go over the shoulders are the most important of these because if they break then the baby could be turned upside down and could easily slip out. The waist strap is also important in that they hug the baby at the waste in case the shoulder straps do happen to break. In some cases, these straps cannot support the child by themselves at all. The headrest is important for the safety of the child because you do not want the baby’s head rolling around. The headrest also helps to protect the baby from the outside elements.

Here are some tips to ensure your baby is safe. First buy a critical baby carrier that is sewntogether, not latched. They seem to hold better, and some locks have been known to unfasten or break quickly.
Also, check the straps to ensure the baby can be held in place if any of the straps should fail. Do not go and purchase a cheap one. Some baby carriers are not double stitched or are otherwise sewn poorly. Watch for cheap materials as they could easily tear.

You should also check the critical baby carrier before each trip. Just like adjusting your mirrors in your car and putting on your seat belt, you should make sure there are no tears or frayed stitching. Do not forget to check the underside as that is where most tears take place. That is also the worst place for something bad to happen. Finally, test the forecast if you are taking a long walk or hike. You do not want your baby to be caught in inclement weather.

Sometimes parents hold the bottom of their baby even while in the mission critical infant carrier. While observing this safety feature, you will notice it is usually one that was put in place because of a poorly made baby carrier; although this is also seen in fantastic carriers as well. It must be that added security that gives parents piece of mind.