Not All Martial Arts Prepare You for Self Defense

Whether you're interested in fighting or self defense, it's important to get the right kind of training. If you're looking for a martial art that will teach you how to fight and defend yourself in real-world situations, then you need to find one that focuses on practical training — not just flashy moves.

In this post, we'll explain why certain martial arts are better suited for self defense than others.

How to Choose the Right Martial Art for You

It’s true that martial arts are not just for self defense. They can also help you get in shape, learn discipline and focus, and even build confidence. But if you want to know how to defend yourself against an attacker, then it’s important to choose the right martial art for your needs.

Martial arts offer a variety of benefits that are useful in many situations, including:

  • Learning self-defense techniques that can keep you safe from an assailant
  • Improving physical fitness through regular exercise and training your body to handle different situations
  • Learning self-discipline by setting goals and working hard towards them
  • Improving your focus and concentration through mental exercises and meditation

All of these benefits not only help you in your personal life, but in cultivating a better sense of self-awareness and situational awareness. Better awareness can sometimes be more useful than all the techniques in the world.

If you can completely avoid a physical altercation, you've already won the fight. But what if you can't? What if your back's against a wall and you or a loved one is attacked? (That's where technique and martial art selection comes into play.)

The best martial arts for self defense are those that teach you how to handle yourself in a variety of situations. They should also offer training on how to use the body as a weapon, including strikes, kicks, throws and grappling techniques.

Effective Empty-Handed Forms of Martial Arts

While there are many different martial arts disciplines that teach empty-handed self-defense techniques, these are 6 of the most effective and most practical.

  1. Boxing
  2. Muay Thai
  3. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  4. Wrestling
  5. Lethwei
  6. Combat Sambo

Effective Weapons-Based Forms of Martial Arts

Effective and practical weapons-based martial arts will teach how to use and defend against a variety of the most common weapons used in violent crime. This could include learning how to defend against guns, knives, and blunt force weapons like a stick or baseball bat.

Here are 3 of the most effective weapons-based martial arts:

  1. Krav Maga
  2. Silat
  3. Filipino Martial Arts

Boxing For Self Defense

Boxing is the classic martial art, and for good reason. Boxers are trained to punch and block while using footwork to defend and attack. Boxing is also great for conditioning your body and improving your self-defense skills.

It's not all about punching, either; it's also about learning how to move your body properly so that you're able to hit and avoid getting hit.

Muay Thai For Self Defense

Muay Thai originated in Thailand. It has become an international sport and is practiced all over the world. Muay Thai is often called “The Art of Eight Limbs” because it uses fists, elbows, shins, and knees to strike an opponent effectively during a fight.

Each limb has its own strengths which makes this style so effective in self-defense situations as well as for fitness purposes or pure fun and enjoyment!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu For Self Defense

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an art that focuses on grappling, or ground fighting. With proper training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), you can use leverage and technique to defend against violent attacks.

You will also learn how to subdue and control someone without physically beating them, which can be especially useful if you have to explain your actions to law enforcement.

There are several other benefits of learning BJJ as well:

  • You learn how to control bigger people who may be stronger than you
  • You will become more flexible because of the many different positions required during training

You will gain more strength in the muscles you didn’t even know you had; You can lose weight and get in better shape; You will learn how to defend yourself against attackers who want to hurt you.

Wrestling For Self Defense

The movements, techniques, and mentality of wrestling make it easily one of the most effective martial arts for protecting yourself. Some of the most basic principles behind wrestling, like fighting to gain and maintain an advantageous position (on the top of your opponent) directly transfer over to self protection.

The sprawl and single leg takedown are two of many extremely useful techniques worth drilling and practicing until they become second nature. Watch the video to see one way you can use wrestling for self defense against punches.

Lethwei For Self Defense

Lethwei is the art of 9 limbs. It teaches a lot of the same techniques as Muay Thai, but includes the headbutt as an additional weapon. Professional fights are done bareknuckle, which gives the fighters an upper hand in a self defense situation since you won't have time to wrap your hands and put gloves on to protect your hands.

Combat Sambo For Self Defense

Combat Sambo will teach you wrestling, striking, and submission techniques. Grappling can be extremely helpful in a street altercation, especially when it's paired with striking and submissions.

Even participating in light sparring will give you a taste of what it's like to defend yourself against someone with bad intentions.

Krav Maga For Self Defense

Krav Maga is a self-defense system developed in Israel and based on simple techniques that work. It focuses on neutralizing an attacker as quickly as possible by striking the most vulnerable parts of their body.

Krav Maga is designed to be effective for both men and women, regardless of age or athletic ability. John Wick uses Krav Maga techniques in the John Wick movies.

Most Krav Maga gyms will teach you how to defend yourself against weapons. You will learn gun disarm techniques and how to defend against a knife attacks. A good gym might also teach you how to use those weapons.

Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) For Self Defense

Filipino martial arts focus on the use of blades and movements that are designed to literally destroy an attacker. Becoming comfortable with the movements and techniques will prime your mind (and body) for a real life encounter, should you ever find yourself in one.

Participating in full-contact, pretty much anything goes sparring matches simulates what it feels like when someone is really trying to hurt you. Having a sense of what that feels like will help you manage the adrenaline and stress of an actual altercation.

Silat For Self Defense

Silat is an Indonesian martial art that emphasizes the use of weapons. Silat teaches techniques for using knives and swords to defend yourself. Silat also teaches empty hand techniques like kicks, striking, and grappling.

Overall, it's a well-rounded discipline that gives you all the necessary tools to defend yourself if removing yourself from the situation isn't an option.

Learn How To Protect Yourself

As you can see, there are many different martial arts for self defense. Which one is the best? Some of them might seem more effective than others, but at the end of the day, learning at least one of them will help you prepare to defend yourself.

In this case, the quote "something is better than nothing" is highly applicable.