Best Self Defense Martial Arts Review and Buying Guide

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We often hear about self-protection when it comes to our safety, protecting our home or family. Tools from your survival gear and the contents of your survival backpack are of the highest importance. However, people usually identify the concept of self-protection with martial styles, which contain the following sports: Karate, Western Boxing, Combat Sambo, Tae Kwon, Aikido, Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It is a mistake to equate all the martial arts and assume that all kinds of such styles are suitable for real-life situations and fending off danger. So, martial arts training and self-defense are not the same things. But they both increase confidence and the ability to protect yourself and your family.

If you dream of learning self-defense and becoming, for instance, a martial artist, this article is a must-read for you! After reading this material, you will learn about the best martial arts, their features, history of development, and advantages.

TOP Best Various Martial Arts: Concept

Top Best Various Martial Arts: Concept 1) The essence of the fighting style

Martial arts are various combat vectors and defensive techniques that have emerged as self-protection and fighting systems. As a rule, such survival skills and most effective martial arts are of Asian origin.

The most famous martial arts are:

  • Combat Sambo and Judo
  • Karate Schools and Kung Fu
  • Krav Maga and Wing Chun
  • Muay Thai and Thai Boxing
  • Grappling arts and Tae Kwon
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Modern MMA

Many reputable internet sites tend to believe that many martial arts are comprehensive since they fall under the classification of mixed martial arts. It is crucial to understand that martial styles are combat sports that are not identified strictly with Asian culture and traditions. Traditional martial arts are not inferior in effectiveness and importance to modern ones.

In many martial arts, the primary tool of ground fighting against multiple attackers is your body. You may learn self-defense by using combat skills and turning your body into a weapon! By the way, a mind-body link is a crucial element of any fighting. Using the learned self-defense techniques, you learn to understand your body and determine its reactions to external stimuli in real-life situations. Self-protection is the basis of such sport and the root cause of the appearance of many martial arts, thanks to which you protect yourself in street fights.

Below are several crucial survival tools that are an excellent addition to self-protection.

2) Use of self-defense weapons

This article focuses on the martial arts for self-defense, combat sport, and realistic training, but not specific weapons training. Undoubtedly, you may use the following tools to protect yourself when multiple attackers attack you:

Using these force multipliers, you may instantly repel attacks and protect yourself at any time, especially at night. Meanwhile, this article focuses on hand-to-hand fighting and the most effective methods of self-defense. Besides, you may also get acquainted with tactical team defense since this topic is an integral part of self-defense. The most vital thing in self-defense is the proper technique, thanks to which your safety depends. Therefore, before applying combat skills in practice, master them completely.

3) Self-defense against multiple enemies

Self-Defense Against Multiple Enemies

Self-defense skills and the ability to defend oneself through combat techniques are elements that will help a person survive in a situation of attack. However, not everything is so simple. For instance, it will be easier to defend against one attacker with hand-to-hand combat than against a group of attackers. A completely different task is to protect your friends or family. In this real-life situation, you should have more coordination, and tactical survival skills and possess standup fighting. Before taking part in hand-to-hand combat or a street fight, and using martial art for self-defense, let’s carefully understand what types of martial arts exist and how they differ.

Thus, the main emphasis is on the specifics of martial art and the effective grappling techniques for self-defense practice. Remember that a thorough study of the modern and traditional martial arts will help you protect yourself and your family from dangers.

Types: The Most Optimal Martial Arts and Less Effective Techniques

Types: The Most Optimal Martial Arts And Less Effective Techniques

Now let’s look at the most effective martial arts for self-protection so that you may choose the sport you like and use your skills in practice. As a rule, people face different real-life situations. Sometimes it requires the use of particular methods of conducting street fighting, and sometimes, on the contrary, the use of techniques is minimal. It all depends on the number of attackers, their strength and abilities, and your defense training.

Below is a detailed description of each martial art for self-defense, among which there are the most effective and least suitable for self-defense.

Varieties of best self-defense martial arts

An optimal martial art for self-defense is a set of combat techniques with which a person may instantly repel an attack. In simple words, it is the perfect martial art that will make you a winner in street fighting.

Here is a list of effective martial arts for self-defense, and they differ in self-defense techniques, combat methods, and blows to the body.

1) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a South American best martial art. Unlike JudoJudoe, opponents’ fight does not end after the throw, and this martial art for self-defense is based on painful and suffocating techniques (for instance, joint locks). The basis of this type of martial arts is the principle that a person with a poorly developed physique may successfully defend against a stronger opponent using the proper technique. BJJ techniques and strategic thinking prevail over physics.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best martial arts, as it includes many methods and techniques to eliminate threats. Indeed, this type of martial art prevails among other martial arts. The most famous family using this Jiu-Jitsu was the Gracie family. Usually, Royce Gracie used BJJ in practice to defeat opponents.

For instance, the “triangle” technique works perfectly because the opponent does not expect it. It seems to the attackers that they dominate and win. But without noticing the “triangle,” they immediately find themselves in a hopeless situation. Thanks to this martial art, you may improve your endurance, strengthen your muscles, and train your body.

However, with all the advantages of BJJ, it also has disadvantages. First, BJJ supporters often do not pay attention to the standup fighting and sometimes lose to their opponents. Secondly, in winter, this martial art is seriously lost to other types. The same “strikers” also have an advantage in a fight with several opponents since it will not be possible for everyone to hold painful techniques at once.

Thus, this martial art for self-defense is more suitable for fighting with one person (one-on-one). Otherwise, you risk losing coordination, and most likely, you will lose.


2) Krav Maga style

Krav Maga Style Krav Maga is a popular martial art of Israeli origin in the world. Supporters of Krav Maga believe that it is the best school of art, but opponents do not recognize it. So let’s figure out what it is and whether Krav Maga will be effective in a street fight.

The word Krav Maga means “contact combat.” Indeed, Krav Maga as a combat method is recognized by the official self-defense system of the Israeli defense forces and the Israeli military. The author of this system was born into a Jewish family in Budapest. This martial vector includes the styles such as Muay Thai, BJJ, striking techniques, and many other martial arts. Krav Maga is an effective martial art of combat thanks to its self-defense techniques and training based on the rapid neutralization of the enemy.

So, Krav Maga does not contain any rules, and the greater emphasis is on performing simultaneous defensive and offensive movements. Therefore, to become a martial artist, you need to train a lot and hard, practice reflexes and coordination, and master all the techniques. By the way, any person, regardless of gender, height and age, may learn Krav Maga and successfully apply it in self-defense.

Here are the three crucial components of Krav Maga:
  • Neutralization
  • Simultaneous attack and defense
  • Attacking vulnerabilities

If you follow the rules and use the skills, you will defend yourself during a fight and reduce the risk of injury. The main targets for Krav Maga combat techniques are the neck, groin, throat, and eyes. Therefore, it does not matter what methods or weapons you use because the main thing is to survive.

A vital component of this school training is its versatility. The goal of Krav Maga is to end the conflict as soon as possible. Moreover, this art form includes situational and stressful training, when people act out different situations in different conditions. Martial artists pay attention to the ability to think and plan behavior.

What are the disadvantages of this martial art? Firstly, people often learn Krav Maga in a lightweight version, which significantly reduces your combat training. Secondly, the absence of full-contact competitions deprives the system of the opportunity to work out and fix in the body memory all movements and techniques in the most stressful situation that is closest to reality.

To sum up, Krav Maga is one of the best martial arts that everyone should learn!


3) Boxing


I am sure that everyone has heard about boxing at least once and has seen fights. It is one of the most popular sports focused on hitting. Herewith, the legs mainly serve as a support and help to dodge attacks. The advantages of training in boxing are the rapid development of techniques and minimal sports equipment. Indeed, you will be able to become a martial artist in the shortest possible time since boxing does not require deep knowledge and skills. A quick reflex and a lightning-fast, accurate blow are the components of this type of martial arts.

Thanks to boxing, you will learn:
  • Apply various precise blows
  • Block the enemy’s attack
  • Dodge punches
  • Coordinate movements
Besides, your reactions will become faster, and you will respond better in life-threatening situations. However, like other arts, boxing has several disadvantages. Boxers do not use the legs, grappling, or takedowns. Therefore, boxing is not the best option for self-defense because of the one-dimensional approach to combat.

4) Mixed martial arts

Mixed Martial Arts Who doesn’t know MMA? Mixed martial arts is the most widespread sport. This modern martial art contains explosive takedowns and punches, stunning techniques, and hand locks. MMA is one of the best martial arts because people watch MMA competitions all over the world.

Why is MMA one of the perfect arts in the world of sports? Thanks to incredible physical exertion and constant training, the physical strength of MMA fighters increases in all directions. Moreover, MMA fighters increase their endurance, and improve speed and reflexes in sparring. One MMA fighter enters the ring against another, and they fight to the victorious. After winning, the MMA fighter becomes the world champion until someone else defeats this fighter and takes the title.

By the way, the largest MMA organization is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Just imagine the scale of this organization in the world of martial arts! Usually, fights consist of three rounds, each of which lasts for five minutes. If you have ever watched sparring, you understand the uniqueness of these martial arts.

But may we assume that MMA is suitable for self-defense? I consider MMA not a very good choice for fighting multiple opponents.

5) Karate

Karate The oldest traditional martial art is karate. It is a discipline based on various combat techniques, punches, and kicks.

Many people believe that the inhabitants of the island of Okinawa waged a constant guerrilla struggle against the Japanese invaders and, for the sake of this struggle, created karate. The martial art quickly spread beyond Okinawa and conquered all of Japan. The first karate school and the classic Setokan karate style originated in 1936. A significant component of this style is speed and accuracy, not the force of blows.

Why do many people choose to learn karate? It largely depends on the training styles and comprehensive techniques that help to neutralize the enemy immediately. Furthermore, karate is solid in every sense and effective for self-defense in close combat. As for training, it is relatively easy and inexpensive.

Here is a list of what you will learn thanks to this discipline:
  • Calm thinking
  • Quick decision-making in dangerous situations
  • Save time while surviving
  • Accuracy of strikes

Thus, karate is a great martial art that will save you from attacks. If you still doubt this, try to sign up for training and learn karate styles!

6) Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do JKD is a method the legendary Bruce Lee used in learning martial arts. This method means “Way of the Intercepting Fist,” giving the fighter complete freedom of action to disorient the enemy and easily win. The system does not have an exact set of rules or techniques; it does not relate to a specific style but only helps a novice fighter master a particular discipline.

Bruce Lee created the initial features of his methodology in 1967. At that time, he wanted to develop a universal method for defending himself in fights. As a result, a completely independent system formed from this idea, which successfully absorbed the features of other martial arts. Thus, in Jeet Kune Do, you will find the influence of styles such as Jiu-Jitsu, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, and Filipino boxing. The discipline contains many improved strategies applicable for fighting with one or more attackers.

JKD is suitable for those people who have a lot of time for training and want to collect the best methods for one style. Since the basis of this system is not so much fighting techniques as the philosophy itself, you should choose the trainer responsibly.

7) Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu “Secret art,” “the art of four fingers,” “the path of softness,” and “the art of flexibility” — all these poetic words are called one art of fighting Jiu-Jitsu. This martial direction originated in Japan several centuries ago. The Japanese developed a system of martial art that became as deadly as samurai swords.

The concept of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu includes using the power of enemies against themselves, redirecting their energy, and attacking. Throwing technique and force impact the joints of the opponent’s body is the difference between Jiu-Jitsu and other types of martial arts. As a rule, when training Jiu-Jitsu, a martial artist does not pay much attention to blows since their use is necessary for throwing, unbalancing, and conducting a painful or suffocating reception.

However, Jiu-Jitsu techniques become less effective in survival. That’s why in the case of self-protection, be vigilant and careful.

8) Muay Thai

Muay Thai An effective martial art is the direction of Muay Thai, known for its Thai origin. It is one of the most frightening and ruthless combat disciplines, which is worth using in self-defense. Muay Thai is famous for its precise techniques and crushing blows. In this regard, the body is a primary tool at the time of the fight.

In MMA, the possession of Muay Thai skills is a mandatory component of a successful mixed martial arts fighter. Almost all training camps devote a significant part of their time to this martial art.

Muay Thai originated in the 14th century and means “The Art of Eight Limbs” because it focuses on several pain points. If you want effectively defend against enemies using crushing methods, Muay Thai is for you! Muay Thai training is a practice during which fighters learn quickly to attack and injure the enemy. Muay Thai is one of the most spectacular types of combat systems, and its rich history is becoming more and more exciting every day.

9) Keysi Fighting Method

Keysi Fighting Method is a new discipline of martial art. Justo Dieguez and Andy Norman created this direction to neutralize several attackers. According to the founders, KFM, like Muay Thai, is a purely bloody method of combat, the purpose of which is to destroy the enemy and survive. This fighting style requires concentration and coordination for fighting with fists and elbows.

The exercises taught by the martial artist develop endurance and speed, readiness to fight to victory, and taking the position of a predator. I think that KFM, like Muay Thai, is a rather dangerous art, but this style is excellent for self-defense.

10) Judo

Judo Judo is one of the best martial arts. Almost everyone watched the Olympic Games and saw how their opponents fought. Unlike other arts for self-protection, this school is more focused on close contact and close combat, where you may use chokes, pins, and throws. If you think this direction is not an excellent option for self-defense, try it in practice, and you will see the opposite!

The main task is to throw the opponent to the floor as quickly as possible, causing injuries. In general, judo is a grappling-based martial art, and it is often used to immobilize the enemy. Judo is a deadly direction of combat since it is seriously possible to injure a person.

11) Wing Chun

Wing Chun Closes our list of the best martial art systems called Wing Chun. This direction assumes the least waste of energy and direct strikes. It is the best martial art and an ideal self-defense option that you can learn in a short time.

However, Wing Chun does not include many techniques for disarming attackers. Therefore, in a situation where the enemy has a coolant or pepper spray, you need to be careful.

It is a meaningful list of martial arts for self-defense that will help you eliminate the threat and neutralize the enemy with lightning speed. Once you have tried one of the combat directions, you will never be able to give it up.

Now let’s consider the least effective ways of fighting and their features.

The least effective fighting styles

The least suitable combat areas for self-protection are techniques that will not provide you with protection when attacking. Most likely, you will only buy a little time so that they have time to come to your aid. Otherwise, you are doomed to defeat.

1) Aikido

Aikido Aikido is a popular martial art that has supporters all over the world. Today, many schools practice various styles and methods of training. Aikido is a style that combines ancient techniques of fighting and self-defense with the philosophy of harmony of the spirit.

The origin of this Japanese fighting style began in the 1920s. After the Second World War, the founder of this art completely systematized and improved the system.

The basic principle of Aikido involves avoiding collisions with the enemy under any circumstances. The arsenal of techniques of this style includes only throws and falls without harming the enemy. Moreover, kicking, punching, and punching are prohibited. That is why it is better not to use Aikido techniques in self-defense. Undoubtedly, to improve coordination, flexibility, and reflexes and to become a master of martial arts, you can learn Aikido. But remember that this kind of art is less effective in self-defense.

2) Taekwondo

Taekwondo The Korean combat discipline, recognized as the official sport of the Olympic Games, is taekwondo. This style has united many Korean methods of fighting. According to statistics, taekwondo is the most practiced direction of martial arts, and it has tens of thousands of supporters.

Meanwhile, many experts believe that taekwondo is inferior in several indicators to other combat systems. Taekwondo is not a practical method of self-defense and is most likely suitable for self-improvement and discipline development. Taekwondo focuses on the knowledge of anatomy and physiology. The scientific approach makes art alive. The martial artist independently forms a training program for novice athletes and applies an individual approach to everyone. A well-developed powerful leg technique is the main difference from other arts. But it does not mean that taekwondo does not involve hand techniques.

3) Capoeira

Capoeira Capoeira is a martial vector protected by UNESCO. Today, it is a fascinating mixture of dance, acrobatics, and non-contact combat. This martial art originated in Brazil and African countries. Unfortunately, despite the techniques, capoeira is not practical for survival. You will not be able to neutralize and immobilize the enemy with dance methods, which is why you are doomed to defeat.

In general, capoeira was the dominant fighting system in Brazil before the advent of Jiu-Jitsu. However, today, this type of art has been replaced by Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, and Muay Thai. I do not recommend learning capoeira if you want to defend yourself and protect your family in case of attacks.

4) Sambo

Sambo In the 1920s, the Soviet Union invented combat sambo, which is a classic Russian martial art. This direction is unique in that it includes a lot of spot kicks, throws, and wrestling. Russians have succeeded in this fighting style: most of the people of sambo wrestlers are Russians.

Meanwhile, combat training is not a common direction since there are not many such combat schools in the world. For example, there are no more than two operating schools in the United States, which reduces the opportunity to practice sambo and become a professional sambo wrestler.

5) Tai Chi

Tai Chi Finally, a less optimal martial art is tai chi. By definition, it is an exercise program aimed at training breathing and muscles. Tai chi practitioners perform exercises slowly, learn different poses, and train attention to your inner self and body sensations. Undoubtedly, tai chi helps a person to become more relaxed, calm and find harmony. Some people use this style to treat certain diseases and improve their health.

Tai chi is not intended for self-defense and neutralizing attackers. The lack of sparring and dynamic movements in tai chi will not allow you to protect yourself on the streets at night. For this reason, choose other martial arts for self-defense so as not to be defeated.

Here is a small list of the least practical combat school that are not intended for self-defense at all. If you want to learn how to defend yourself in life situations, sign up for training and practice your skills in real fights.

Best Self Defense Martial Arts Summary

Best Self Defense Martial Arts Summary To sum up, there is no martial art in the world that will protect you from attackers. TO defend yourself, you can apply non-lethal weapons in order to stop the attacker without severely injuring or killing them. All situations are different, and it is vital to respond to threats as calmly and carefully as possible. If you want to protect yourself and your family, suitable options for martial arts are Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Muay Thai, and Karate. In any case, martial arts training requires time, physical strength, perseverance, and effort from beginners! Therefore, use the acquired knowledge in training for its intended purpose and wisely for self-defense.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

What martial art do Navy SEALs use?

Navy Seal is most likely to win the fight, even if the opponent is an experienced MMA fighter. Navy SEALs train too much and persistently, which is why their training is considered the most difficult in the world. In general, Navy SEALs are trained in various areas of martial arts, mostly MMA techniques.

What type of fighting is best for self-defense?

The best type of fighting style for self-defense is Muay Thai and its crushing blows. This type of martial arts is ruthless, and thanks to its methods, you will neutralize the enemy.

What is the best martial art for a street fight?

For street fights, practical options for fighting styles are Krav Maga and boxing. Thanks to these arts, you will protect yourself from attackers and neutralize them. Krav Maga combines elements of Muay Thai techniques, which also makes this direction deadly. Boxing is perfect for eliminating threats coming from several attackers.

Can karate help you in a real fight?

Karate is also not inferior ineffectiveness, the practice of which will ensure your safety even at night. Karate helps a lot in street fights and to resist even the strongest opponent. The main thing during a fight is to maintain calm in any situation and develop battle tactics. However, remember that even deep knowledge of the karate technique does not guarantee a complete victory over the opponent.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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