What Is The Best Martial Art Discipline For Self-Defense?

Welcome to my “What Is The Best Martial Art Discipline For Self-Defense?” review!

Self-defense is the right to use appropriate levels of opposing force or violence to avoid getting hurt or harmed by an attacker. The most common practice to being equipped with proper self-defense, is through training a martial art discipline.

If you want to learn martial arts for the purpose of either self-defense or even fitness but don’t know where to begin or which one to use, then you have come to the right place.

In this review, I listed an analysis of the top martial arts for defense and its effectiveness in protecting yourself from danger. I will also help you find the best fit that suits your preference and style.

Martial Arts And Self-Defense

Martial arts does not only teach you how to fight or defend yourself in dangerous situations, it also forms your behavior towards any kinds of situations.

Being knowledgeable and equipped with the skills to defend yourself is useful in daily life, and to all people. It gives you confidence and some sense of security as you continue with your journey or daily commutes.

As said earlier, self-defense involves learning martial arts. But you have to take note that there a bunch of martial arts techniques you can use.

So with several disciplines to choose from, what’s the best martial art for self-defense? To answer this essential question, I have listed ten of the top martial arts that can be used in defending yourself against any aggressors.

In learning martial arts, you will also need gears, apparels, and other essentials to go along with it. Some examples include gloves, headgear, punching bags, or gym bags.

With this being said, you may also find my reviews of combat fighting gears interesting. You may check them out if you like—Best Boxing Gloves for Training, Best MMA Gloves for Women, Best Girls’ Wrestling Headgear, Best Mouthguards, Best Shin Guards, and Best Gym Bags, just to name a few.

Or you may check out the entire list by clicking here.

What Is The Best Martial Art Discipline For Self-Defense?

1. Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a type of martial arts that was originated in Israel. The reason why it’s listed at the very top is because it refers to as the “The Art of Staying Alive“. The techniques are generally based on reflex or instinct so this martial art is easy to learn and execute.

Krav Maga is the hybrid of known martial arts that include karate, Judo, boxing, Aikido, and wrestling. It is also the official martial arts taught in the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli Security Forces.

What makes them effective for self-defense is that it focuses on neutralizing attacks and counter-attacking as fast as possible to keep yourself unharmed as much as possible from the assailant. Whether it be being attacked with punches, or being threatened with dangerous weapons, Krav Maga will get you ready.

2. Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts, or simply MMA, is a popular combat sport that is often referred to as cage fighting. What makes MMA extra-special compared to other forms of combat sports is the combination of all fighting disciplines, thus the term “mixed”.

The process of training the combination of various disciplines and being knowledgeable in every aspect of martial arts and become an “all-around” fighter is what MMA is all about. In terms of self-defense, you can almost say that MMA can go unbeatable.

MMA provides a solid all-around skillset. If a skilled boxer attacks you, you can defend yourself by getting a takedown and subduing the violence in the floor, and vice-versa. Defending yourself where the attacker isn’t good at is one of the strengths of MMA.

Some of the basics of MMA include grappling (which you commonly find in wrestling), standup fighting (boxing), ground-based grappling (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), etc. Experiencing the different cultures in each discipline will elevate your confidence and awareness to self-defense.

3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, also popularly known as BJJ, is a martial art and combat sport based on ground fighting and submission holds. This was invented by the late Hélio Gracie, and later on improved and expanded by his children.

Basically, BJJ focuses on the skill of taking an opponent to the ground, controlling one’s opponent, gaining a dominant position, and using a number of techniques to force them into submission via joint locks or chokeholds.

Yes, training BJJ would likely mean your standup skills would be that good, but in self-defense, the priority is not getting harmed rather than inflict more damage. And guess what, once an experienced Jiu-Jitsu practitioner gets hold of their opponent, standing up or on the ground, it is very likely game over for the opponent. 

4. Karate

Karate is the first martial art I got interested in because of an 80s classic—the Karate Kid. I also believe that this movie made the martial art popular, especially to kids back then. It is still popular up until today, with regular classes sprouting every summer nearby.

Again, it is a Japanese discipline. The exact origin is inconclusive, but Okinawa, Japan, is credited as its place of inception. Karate is a great choice if you’re aiming to learn self-defense. It involves techniques on how to throw powerful punches and kicks to out-balance your aggressors.

The only downside of karate for me is that it seems to be more defense-driven because of the overuse of blocking motions. But overall, I think it is the perfect martial arts for self-defense. As you can see, such a fighting discipline can deliver a lot of damage to your assailant if engaged effectively.

5. Muay Thai

Muay Thai, or Thai Kickboxing is a type of martial arts that was developed in Thailand. It is also referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs”. This is called as such because it involves an eight-point striking system that focuses on inducing powerful blows from punches, kicks, elbows, and knees.

Aside from Muay Thai’s striking versatility, what makes this one of the best self-defense bases is the rigorous training. Muay Thai has one of the steepest, hardest, and most exhausting learning curve.

Also, there will be a lot of pain. Training under this martial art also kind of makes you more pain resistant because of the rigorous bone conditioning that students go through.

6. Boxing

Some might argue that boxing is not a legitimate martial art discipline in self-defense. But the truth is that they are effective in defending and protecting yourself.

Among many forms of martial arts discipline, boxing is my personal favorite. And it is more than just punching each other’s face until someone is knocked out unconscious or decides to give up.

In boxing, you learn how to throw different types of punches and how you can evade attacks from hand-to-hand combat. The only downside of boxing is that it doesn’t have a kicking motion, which may also be critical in defending yourself.

7. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is one of the most well-known and practiced combat sports around the globe. It is also an official sport in the Olympics since 2000.

This type of martial arts was originated in Korea. It is the combination of several fighting techniques that include those within the country and nearby regions. Some of the resemblances you may find include the likes of Karate, Kung Fu, and Judo, just to name a few of them.

However, it is also receiving criticisms that martial art is flashy and focuses too much on its style that it becomes almost impractical for self-defense. This may be the case but some disregarded such criticisms and made a point that the martial art concentrates on kicking.

The kicking motion, especially the high and middle kicks, is useful in actual physical fights. Depending on the power and how fast the kicks were delivered, you can effectively neutralize the attacks of the assailant and protect yourself from harm.

8. Wrestling

Western wrestling, often known as Greco-Roman wrestling or French wrestling, has been practiced for at least 15000 years.

Wrestling is a form of martial arts which requires technique to take an opponent down and maintain a superior position. Wrestlers take advantage of leverage, balance, explosive strength, and knowledge in order to dominate.

The best thing about Wrestling is that it is a full body sport. Meaning, you really need to exercise every part of your body to develop raw strength needed for the constant pushing and pulling you do during wrestling. Wrestling is also a very good way to defend oneself while inflicting minimal damage to an oppressor. 

9. Judo

Judo is a martial arts discipline that originated in Jigoro Kano, Japan. The hallmark of Judo is its attacks and takedowns. The combat sport concentrates on grappling techniques that involve effective attack engagement or taking your adversary down to the ground.

This grappling-based martial art mainly uses throws, locks, sweeps, and other grappling-related techniques. Strikes are exceedingly uncommon and frequently only utilized as feigned strikes rather than real ones. Since striking is not the purpose of Judo, several competitions prohibit it.

Although this form of martial art lacks striking techniques, they are still a must-learn skill for self-defense due to its effective grappling techniques. Despite its flaws, Judo is quite successful since many street clashes turn into grappling matches.

10. Aikido

Aikido is another form of martial arts that was developed in Japan by Morihei Ueshiba. It is less popular compared to the other ones listed in this review, but what makes them a great asset to learn is because it’s effectiveness in survival moves and self-defense.

Also, it is less popular because they do not focus on punching or kicking. What they concentrate instead is using your assailants’ aggressiveness and energy to throw them off their balance.

However, this is usually the case for street fights. Most assailants will be aggressive. Using the techniques in Aikido will be helpful in order to avoid getting harmed and easily subduing the assailant.

Final Thoughts

I hope my content has provided you sufficient information in answering the question, what is the best martial art discipline for self-defense?

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with any of the martial arts listed in this review. It’s just a matter of personal preference and the style you’re comfortable with.

As you see, there are martial arts disciplines that focus more on defense while others concentrate on delivering powerful attacks to the assailant.

If you can’t decide which to choose, then you may try any of the ones listed above. As I said, you can’t really go wrong with any of them. In case you’re not satisfied, then you can move on and try to others until you find the perfect fit.

Well, I guess that’s just about it!

Thank you for taking time off and reading my content about the what is the best martial art discipline for self-defense.

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