8 Best Martial Art for Self Defense

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Many of us want to avoid violence at any cost, but some bad people just want the fight. In consequence, sometimes we encounter street fights, avoiding violence becomes impossible. Generally speaking, the skill of self-defense can be the most valuable art that a man can master. No one can predict an upcoming attack, therefore be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones from an attacker. On top of that, it’s hard to choose the best form of a fight among hundreds of martial arts. Yet, we have outlined below the best 8 martial arts for self-defense and some guidance to assist you to choose the right martial art for you.   

Difference between MMA and Traditional Martial Arts

MMA and martial arts both share a lot of same features. Also, there is a significant overlap between these two arts. 

Both MMA and martial arts offer various self-defense applications and many common techniques. But MMA is a form of combat sport and requires full physical contact. The main object of this sport is to win. On the other hand, people practice martial art for self-improvement and to develop the surviving skill. 

The main difference between these two is the “focus” or the “ultimate goal.”

Besides, traditional martial art is based on precedent teachings. The techniques mainly come from the previous generation learnings. And it often forms a part of national culture and convention. 

Differently, MMA combines all martial art techniques including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Muay Thai, Judo, wrestling, boxing, and more. And the central aim to prepare students for the professional ring fight. Yet, MMA is the best self-defense martial art that one can learn. Because it comprises numerous techniques and prepares one for both armed/unarmed combat.

Mixed martial arts [MMA]


MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, and it has increased in popularity across the world. MMA is a hybrid combat sport because it’s a combination of boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, Muay Thai, jujitsu, and other martial arts. MMA is the best martial art that one can learn.

Although, initially MMA was criticized by labeling as an unruly brutal blood sport. However, in the early 21st century MMA shield its no-hold-barred characteristics by emerging as the world’s highest growing sport.

By 2009 the UFC and some US regulatory bodies introduced a set of standard rules in this sport. This adopted standard rule was named as Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Following the rules, participants compete in a given fenced area or ring. Also, as per the rule participants are only limited to wear padded fingerless gloves and aren’t allowed to wear shoes or headgear in this sport.

Other areas of prohibition include head butting, gouging (i.e. thrusting opponent’s eyes using thumb or finger), biting, groin attach, hair pulling. A few types of strikes are prohibited in this sport as well: the throat strike, downward elbow strike, strikes to the spine, and strike to the opponent’s back of the head.  One cannot exercise certain attacks, such as kicking or kneeing the head of a grounded opponent. Breach of rules may amount to point deduction or disqualification.  

Muay Thai

Muay Thia otherwise known as Thai Boxing originated in Thailand – includes martial art or combat fight. This sport is different from kickboxing because it’s only limited to punches and kicks. Muay Thai is also called the “art of 8 limbs” since you are allowed to employ 8 parts of your extremities: fists, elbows, knees, and shins.

This sport emerged in the mid-16th century and has gained popularity over the time, now Muay Thai is practiced globally. Muay Thai is full of physical contact sport and requires participants to have significant level fitness. MMA competitors are also trained in Muay Thai to learn effective striking techniques.

 Muay Thai takes place in a boxing ring where two competitors fight against each other and earn points by knocking the opponent. Fighters often exercise clinch and grapple techniques along with employing 8 limbs during the sports. The nature of Muay Thai requires extreme physical and combative characteristics. But it requires one to learn numerous skills to become a professional Muay Thai fighter and to win apex level competition.  

Muay Thai comprises some important rules:

Brazilian jiu jitsu


Brazilian jiu jitsu or BJJ is a self-defense martial art, originated in Brazil. Basically, this combat sport includes grappling, submission holds and ground fighting. You need to apply a number of controlling techniques (e.g. chokeholds and joint locks) to force your opponent to make a submission.   

If you are a small and weak person then you should master the skills of Brazilian jiu jitsu. This sport includes numerous techniques – applying the techniques a small and weak person can successfully defeat someone who is much bigger, heavier, and stronger compare to his/her. All you need to do is to utilize leverage and weight distribution to take the fight to the ground, and shortly afterward, apply your mastered skills like joint locks or chokeholds to defeat the other competitor. 

Generally speaking, Brazilian jiu jitsu is considered one of the most practical self-defense and martial art training that fosters physical fitness and changes the way of life.  


Boxing is one of the world’s oldest fighting sports. Boxing was part of the ancient Olympic Games, but it started to be more regulated and codified from the 1500s. Boxing is such a sport that features graceful, explosive, elegant, and magnificent.

Boxing rules include:

Krav maga

Krav maga is a military self-defense training. It was particularly developed for Israel Defense Forces and Israeli Security Forces. This martial art is a combination of Boxing, Aikido, Wrestling, Karate, and Judo.

The true concept of Krav Maga is to make the most use of numerous practical self -defense techniques of other martial arts. And enlist the techniques into the military curriculum.

Under Krav Maga students are taught to avoid physical confrontation as far as possible. This combat fighting fosters the idea of finishing a fight as quickly as possible. Even the competitors are encouraged to behave aggressively during the fight. Also, the competitors are allowed to make attacks at the most vulnerable body parts of the opponent. Some techniques of Krav maga can even lead to permanent damage or death of the opponent.

Throughout the training session students also learn the variety of defending techniques including how to make instant counter-attacks in the most efficient way.

Krav maga includes some techniques:



Karate 1st originated in Ryukyuan Kingdom, and the techniques were developed from the Ryukyuan martial arts. Kung Fu, the Chinese martial art, had most influenced the ancient Karate. Over the period of time, Karate has earned the world’s popularity.

Basically, Karate is an art of strike. And it comprises elbow strikes, Knee strikes, punching, and kicking. Some open-hand techniques are also included: spear-hands, palm heel strikes, and knife-hands. Besides, over time Karate has developed in some modern techniques like grappling, joint locks, throws, restraints, and vital point strikes.

People of all ages from all over the world practice Karate. Some famous people including James Caan, Forest Whitaker, Bear Grylls, Sean Connery, and Elvis Presley have achieved Karate Black belts.    

The main object of Karate includes you must defeat your opponent. To win the match you need to score points, and your every kick, punch, and throw carry the points.  At the end of the match, the top score achiever is declared as the winner.

Generally speaking, to be a professional Karate man – you must be very physically active. Because Karate is a highly skilled and tactical sport. One must acquire a high level of skill, speed, agility, and years of experience to do succeed in this art.  

Jeet Kune Do (JKD)

Jeet Kune Do is also referred to as a formless type of Chinese Kung Fu. Basically, JKD is a hybrid martial art or freestyle fight which means it doesn’t stick to any particular fighting style. Famous martial artist Bruce Lee had influenced this martial art with his philosophy and experience. We have outlined below some principles taken from JKD:

Wing Chun

The main concept of Wing Chun has derived from Chinese martial art. Surprisingly Wing Chun had appeared around 300 years ago in China. Although this martial art is relatively younger martial art compare to others, but it has gained popularity all over the world.

Wing Chun is the most efficient form of martial art which is best for self-defense and fitness. This martial art comprises striking and grappling, also specializes in the students in close-range combat.

Basically, Wing Chun had developed in an urban environment or in big cities. This martial art comprises such techniques that one can utilize it against any assault often occurs in a confined place like stairwell, elevator or cramped hallway. Also, the teaching will include defending yourself with an empty hand or when you’re unarmed. Wing Chun comprises reflexive movements, instant response, and surprise attacks. Frankly, Wing Chun is the most efficient and simple martial art. Also, it eliminates some obsolete techniques that are not very much needed in today’s world.

Wing Chun is the best fighting style that you can learn within a significantly short period of time. Whereas many martial art divisions require years of practice, some even require more than a decade. Moreover, this martial art can be practiced by anyone regardless of their gender, age, height, or degree of physical ability. 

Which martial art should I learn for self-defense?

Frankly, telling which martial art can be the best for you as a beginner is difficult to say. Basically, it entirely depends on your choice and purpose. Some martial art takes more than a decade to learn, whereas some martial arts can be mastered within a few years.

If you want to learn something that perfectly works for self-defense and boosts fitness, then we recommend you to go for Wing Chun. This martial art doesn’t require a long time teaching process. Also, it removes some obsolete techniques from the teaching curriculum.

Differently, if you have a strong desire to take yourself to the professional level and want to compete in the ring, then you can choose MMA. This combat fight is a combination of various martial techniques, and this is the most leading art that one can learn. Yet, MMA takes 3 to 5 years to master. But MMA is mixed in nature and it doesn’t require any formal martial art training to start. Simply you need to be committed for the next few years and an intention to start.

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