What’s the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense? Know which style suits you!

Welcome to my “what’s the best martial art for self-defense” review!

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 provide 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.

So without further delays, let’s begin…

Martial Arts and Self-Defense

Nowadays, learning how to defend your self is a definite skill to have.

This is especially useful for travelers going to new places or even to commuters going to work.

It gives you confidence and some sense of security as you continue with your journey or daily commutes.

And self-defense involves learning martial arts.

Some of you might immediately associate martial arts with karate or MMA. But you have to take note that there a bunch of martial arts techniques you can use. The above mentioned are just the popular ones because of movies and the UFC.

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.

Let’s continues…

What’s the best martial art for self-defense?

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: kravmaga.com

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a type of martial arts that was originated in Israel and referred to as the “The Art of Staying Alive.”

However, Krav Maga is actually a Hebrew term that’s translated as contact combat. It was created by Imi Lichtenfeld, who was a Hungarian-born Israeli.

It is also the official martial arts taught in the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli Security Forces.

Krav Maga is the hybrid of known martial arts that include karate, Judo, boxing, Aikido, and wrestling.

What makes them effective for self-defense is that it focuses on neutralizing attacks and counter-attacking quickly to keep yourself unharmed as much as possible from the assailant.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Britannica.com

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts, or simply MMA, is a popular combat sport that is often referred to as cage fighting. 

When you hear MMA, you may immediately associate them to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). But you have to bear in mind that MMA is more than just that. It is also very useful in actual fights and self-defense.

What makes MMA extra-special compared to other forms of combat sports is that they are the combination of all fighting discipline—thus, the term mixed martial arts was used.

Learning MMA gives you the edge of learning the techniques of other martial arts as well.

Some of the basics of MMA include grappling (which you commonly find in wrestling), standup fighting (boxing), ground-based grappling (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), etc.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Wikipedia.com


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—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.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense


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.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Wikipedia.com

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or simple BJJ is a popular technique among mixed martial arts fighters.

It is the combination of Judo and Japanese martial art called Jujutsu.

This type of martial art discipline favors a person with shorter stature and a popular form of martial arts among women.

It teaches them how to protect themselves against bigger assailants by using proper technique and leverage—effective positioning and gaining control to be more specific. 

When the proper technique was observed, it should aid the defender to apply hold, chokes, or locks that could overwhelm the assailant.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Muay Thai

Muay Thai 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.

As you can see, such a fighting discipline can deliver a lot of damage to your assailant if engaged effectively.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Wikipedia.com


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.

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.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Wikipedia.com


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.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Wikipedia.com


Yes, Jujutsu originated from Japan just by referring to the name.

This might be the first time you hear about this form of martial art, but it is actually the basis for other disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Aikido.

The martial art was actually developed for unarmed samurais. But it is effective for both armed and unarmed attacks as well.

Like Aikido, it focuses more on counter-attacking by using your opponents’ aggressiveness and momentum against them.

Jujutsu involves joint locks and throws.

It is an effective self-defense strategy because it renders your assailants attack essentially useless and gives you the opportunity to counter-attack and protect yourself.

In particular, the joint lock is a technique that induces pressure to the knees and elbows, making it feel like breaking.

Therefore, it is a devastating counter-attack that would make your assailant think twice before attacking again.

What's the Best Martial Art for Self-Defense

Photo Credits: Olympic Channel


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.

Final thoughts

I hope my content has provided you sufficient information in answering the question—what’s the best martial art for self-defense?

But 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 best martial art you can use for self-defense.

I hope to see you next time!


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