🥋 Martial Defense 🥋

With over 170 martial arts around the world, which are the most effective for self-defense in a real-life situation?

Martial Arts change how we see ourselves

The confidence to keep a situation from escalating into violence and, if necessary, protect yourself or your loved ones has a cascade of psychological and emotional benefits.

Boxing

two boxers sparring

Pros
  • Teaches you how to keep your distance and not being hit using footwork and head movement
  • Improves speed and strength in your hands
  • Includes a lot of sparring
  • Helps you overcome the fear of fighting because you get hit often
Cons
  • No ground game or takedown defense
  • Doesn’t teach how to defend against dirty techniques or weapons
  • Lack of clinch fighting
  • Doesn’t teach you how to defend against kicks

Muay Thai

Muay thai fighters

Pros
  • Complete stand-up martial art that teaches how to use all limbs to do damage
  • You will know how to strike at a distance using kicks and punches
  • Teaches knees and elbows in the clinch as well as sweeps and throws
Cons
  • Doesn’t teach you how to stop takedowns or fight on the ground
  • Lack of dirty techniques, weapons, and illegal tactics

Krav Maga

man demonstrating arm lock

Pros
  • Realistic training teaches you how to deal with various weapons
  • You will learn how to use and defend against dirty techniques
  • Combines striking techniques from various martial arts
Cons
  • You can’t mimic the power of an actual attack with a real weapon and violent intention
  • It doesn’t include any type of competition or sparring
  • Most of the attacks in training are not spontaneous and are pre-arranged

Karate

two men sparring in karate

Pros
  • Powerful kicks
  • Good outfighting
  • Explosive footwork
  • Good countering
Cons
  • Doesn't have full contact or continuous fighting
  • Doesn't often deal with leg kicks It is not a realistic method of self-defense on its own
  • Little grappling or sparring
  • Many McDojos

Wrestling

two men wrestling in competition

Pros
  • Great for controlling whether you stand up or go to the ground
  • Ground and Pound
Cons
  • No finishers
  • No submission defense
  • No strike defense

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

man in shoulder lock

Pros
  • Techniques work in real life and are very effective against taller or heavier opponents
  • Teaches how to take the assailant down using judo and wrestling moves
  • Submissions are very effective on the ground
  • Includes a lot of sparring for real-world situations
Cons
  • No striking or defense against kicks and punches
  • You won’t learn how to defend against dirty techniques or weapons
  • Not great against multiple attackers

Judo

Man using judo throw on another

Pros
  • Offensive instincts
  • Grip fighting 
  • Many low-risk throws and takedowns
  • Great training culture
Cons
  • Poor striking defense
  • Higher concussion risk than other grappling styles
  • Easy to become over-reliant on the gi

Jeet Kune Do

Woman attacking man

Pros
  • Practical self-defense training
  • Very effective for hand to hand combat
  • Teaches adaptation & spontaneity
  • Easy to become a much better fighter in a short amount of time
Cons
  • Less structured
  • No ground game defense

🤔 So What's the Best 🤔

There are many martial arts to choose from and you should explore them all. With that said the general consensus among experts is that Krav Maga is probably the most effective art for real-world situations.

References

Premiere Martial Arts. (2021). History of Israeli self-defense system of krav maga. Premiere Martial Arts.

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