Woman fighting off man

Safety has always been important, however, in our current society we are aware of all the bad things that go on around us. Knowing that there are ways that we can keep ourselves safe and defend ourselves is important and brings us peace of mind.

What is the best form of self-defense for real-life situations? We like Krav Maga because it was developed for actual combat fighting. It was developed to protect yourself in a real fight situation. 

You can check out below some of the other martial arts that we also think will work well for self-defense. The other three we have high on our list include Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA training.

There are many things that you can do to defend yourself in a bad situation including blowing a rape whistle, using pepper spray or mace, using a safety alarm, and last but not least using self-defense techniques.

There are several different martial arts that tend to be good when protecting yourself from an attacker. In self-defense, you will need to know what to do and how to do it when a bad situation happens.

It is better to have a little knowledge about self-defense than to have none at all.

Many people have never thought about self-defense at all, so you are already one step ahead of them by being on our website.

Attackers are looking for those who won’t fight back and will be easy targets.

If you fight back and have some knowledge of self-defense, then you can hurt the attacker enough to get away. The key to self-defense is to get away without getting hurt.

Martial arts training has a great impact on your physical strength, stamina, and overall balance. The training will increase your confidence and enables a person to produce a stronger mind and body understanding.

Benefits of martial arts

A martial arts trainee will receive great benefits in areas such as physical strength, mental fortitude, emotional calmness, and spiritual understanding.

Physical benefits

Through, training hard one gains body stamina, strength, flexibility, and boosts movement coordination as the muscular systems train in the martial art system.

My endurance and strength increased rapidly every month I trained in MMA. When I first started I could barely do one-minute rounds and after 6 months, I was up to 5-minute fighting rounds.

Mental benefits

Martial arts will help you to achieve a boost in self-control, self-esteem, spiritual, and emotional health.

Learning martial arts is a great way to prepare your mind and body for self-defense and get better at protecting yourself.

Although really knowing any form of martial arts would help you in an attack. There are some that are easier to learn and are better for self-defense than others.

Here are some examples of which martial arts are best to use when it comes to self-defense.

1. Krav Maga

This form of martial art brings together multiple techniques from other martial arts for self-defense purposes. It is well known in the world of martial arts for being used as a self-defense mechanism.

The best part about this specific form is that the defense and attack methods are done simultaneously.

This means that the moves you do will not only defend you but attack your opponent at the same time. This is ideal for self-defense because you want to defeat your attacker and get away from the situation as soon as possible.

This is also great because it could make it a little easier for you to defend yourself if there are multiple attackers.

If you can simultaneously attack someone and defend yourself, you can hopefully get out of the situation before it gets worse.

It is always best to get out of a bad situation as soon as possible no matter what the reason for the attack.

If it’s a kidnapping you never go to a second location.

If you are being attacked because of road rage or any other reasons then you fight back just enough to get away.

Training in Krav Maga can give you the skills to get away.

Krav Maga is also known for working on coordination and being able to disarm most weapons from an attacker.

This does not mean you always try to disarm someone with a weapon.

Each attack is unique and you have to determine if your life is in jeopardy. If your life is in jeopardy then do what you need for survival.

If all they want is your wallet or purse let them have it.

Krav Maga’s overall goal is for self-defense to become a natural reaction for each individual who practices it, so their body immediately reacts correctly in any kind of bad situation.

2. MMA

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a good option for self-defense training. The techniques you learn work in the ring against seasoned fighters.

If you train in MMA for just 6 months to a year and you are athletic you will be able to defend yourself.

Remember most people just cannot fight. They throw haymakers for 30 seconds then they are winded. You just need to last 30 seconds.

There is MMA training for both women and men.

We know both men and women can get attacked and may need to use self-defense skills.

MMA is one of the most popular fighting sports in the world. When it comes to MMA, there are not as many rules as some of the other sports martial arts.

This is one of the reasons why MMA is so popular and is a great thing to learn. MMA you learn to kick, punch, elbow, knee, move, and how to fight on the ground.

People will argue that because MMA has rules, this means MMA is not really great at self-defense.

It does have some areas like knife or gun defense that you are not trained on in MMA. The way I look at it if someone pulls a gun on me my chances of taking it away are not good.

Even if I know a gun defense move. MMA does prepare a person to fight if they need to defend themselves. I would rather have MMA skills than no skills at all.

Every MMA practitioner tends to go about MMA in different ways. A typical fighter within MMA is usually very skilled at boxing, wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu but they can also use many techniques from other forms as well.

This is why MMA is so good for fighting and self-defense because it combines many great fighting forms together as one.

When it is a self-defense situation will the attacker stand up and attack you or take you to the ground? MMA you learn both so you will be prepared.

The video below shows a guy going into an MMA gym and challenging an MMA fighter, street fighters get tired easily. The MMA fighter punished this guy.

3. Muay Thai

Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) is a well-known combat sport.

This is another martial art that has several different components and techniques that go into it.

You are actually allowed to use punching, kicking, elbows, and knees when fighting.

There is a lot of conditioning that goes into this specific type of fighting. It is a great workout for your entire body and really successfully teaches you how to defend yourself in life.

Muay Thai techniques are devastating to an opponent when done properly.

This makes it a deadly self-defense martial art that can seriously injure an attacker.

This specific martial art is typically a standing martial art that uses many different strikes to every area of the body.

Usually, in a self-defense situation, you will start the fight out in a standing position and that is where Muay Thai can devastate the attacker.

Just imagine getting hit by a barrage of punches, elbows, and knees to the head or body. Look at the video below of Buakaw my favorite fighter.

I trained in MMA which uses many Thai techniques. One is the roundhouse kick which if done right is like getting hit with a baseball bat.

I was holding the Thai pads for a 230-pound fighter in our gym and he was doing a roundhouse kick. That night when I went home my arm was black and blue from the hard kicks. Just think of the damage if I had no pads on my arms.

Thai boxing gives you the opportunity to combine key elements of fighting and use your body to the best ability to keep yourself safe.

There is a couple of weakness like no weapons training, defense techniques, and no training in ground fighting.

If a Jiu-Jitsu fighter got you on the ground then you lose.

4. Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-jitsu actually is a combat sport that specializes in ground fighting. It is often known as “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” or BJJ.

This specific martial, just like many others, had come about after using different techniques based on other martial arts.

The goal of BJJ was to prove that if you know enough and practice it hard enough, a small weak person could defend against anyone using the techniques they learned.

This is very important when it comes to self-defense because many times the attacker is a lot bigger.

Attackers usually go after those weaker opponents.

In BJJ there are moves and techniques that easily allow a smaller victim to get away from an attacker of more strength or size.

The techniques and moves used in Jiu-Jitsu are not about size, gender, or strength. They are simply about mastering the techniques and implementing them correctly.

The more time and effort you put in, the better you will be no matter how much prior knowledge or experience you have in martial arts.

Jiu-Jitsu you learn:

  • Armbar
  • Rear naked choke
  • Defense chokes
  • Takedowns
  • Guillotine choke
  • Joint locks
  • Plus many more chokeholds

5. Karate

Karate is one of the most famous and well-known martial arts, especially when it comes to martial arts in the world. Its main focus is on punching, striking, and kicking.

There are moves that include using your knee and elbow to strike your attacker which is ideal to use in self-defense.

Karate has many different styles and forms. There are some forms that focus on competition and other systems that will be geared towards self-defense.

Some other main focuses of karate are balance, speed, and power. Balance is key in order to actually be successful at karate.

Karate is such a great martial art for self-defense if you go to a school that focuses on that area.

The stances that are commonly required for use in karate call for balance and for you to center your body so that you can be strong and fluid.

Most attackers are prepared to defend themselves. This is why karate focuses on what parts of the body to attack that the opponent will most likely be least prepared for like the groin, throat, and solar plexus.

Video below of Canada’s Senior National Karate Camp

6. Wing Chun Kung Fu

Wing Chun has become a popular martial art because of the movie Trilogy IP man. IP Man in the movies uses little energy while at the same time delivering direct, fast strikes that knock the opponent out or force them to quit.

Wing Chun, you only need a few straight punches and kicks for self-defense. The training takes a substantial amount of time to get really good.

This martial art is for those people that like traditional martial arts and can train for years to get really good.

You need about 2 years to get really good at it and you have to practice.

Wing Chun is a close-combat martial art. They focus on quick punches and kicks to vital areas of the body to win a fight. Wing Chun works to where you defend and attack simultaneously.

Bruce Lee started his training in Wing Chun.

7. Judo

Judo is the only martial arts discipline that appears in the Worlds Olympic sports. It has a variety of self-defense moves, pins, and throws.

  • Judo does not use kicks, punches, or hitting techniques
  • There is no weapons training in Judo
  • You do not use joint manipulation to throw your opponent

Judo’s main aim is to throw the attacker to the ground. You can learn Judo for self-defense reasons or try to get really good to go to the Olympics.

Judo is a sport and can be used to defend yourself in a street fight or attacker situation.

Judo is very useful when the attacker is close enough to you so you can grab them and throw them to the ground.

Remember this is not throwing them on soft grass usually, you would be throwing an attacker onto concrete or asphalt. If you throw them hard it will break bones or at least knock the wind out of them so you can escape.

Judo is not really useful against two or more attackers unless you can flip people very fast. It would be good to know joint locks, chokeholds, and striking and kicking techniques to go along with Judo training.

Rhonda Rousey was very good at Judo and then she added Jiu-Jitsu with striking techniques to make her a deadly MMA fighter.

8. Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do is a great martial art to learn. It was founded by the legendary Bruce Lee himself.

When he started training, Bruce Lee started in the art of Wing Chun and later found it limited. Bruce Lee started looking at other martial arts to see what would be useful in a street fight so he could incorporate it into his fighting regimen.

Jeet Kune Do schools teach differently but all share the sound foundation from its founder, you can learn striking techniques, combat strategies, and varieties of unique moves for self-defense.

I trained in Jeet Kune Do and really loved the training. The schools will teach you how to fight and defend yourself.

9. Boxing

Boxing is great for self-defense and mainly focuses on punches as the main source of fighting back. The feet are used for moving, sidestepping, and distancing.

Boxing is a very effective form of fighting. The approach is straight-forward and one is able to start training how to punch the first class.

There is much more to boxing than just throwing punches, you need to be able to peel away, move quickly, and strike when the opportunity arises.

You can learn different types of punches at different ranges, to enhance your fighting skills.

The punches to learn include:

  • Jab
  • Rear-cross
  • Hook punch
  • Uppercut

You can get the most out of boxing by conditioning your body in order to be able to deliver powerful punches and have increased stamina to last in a fight.

The more you practice boxing, the more your senses become sharper. You are able to react fast when someone tries to punch or hurt you.

Boxing is a great system of defense when you experience an attack or when facing threats.

Boxing is some tough training but in the end, you will experience great results from the training. Training sessions include sparring, bag work, shadow boxing, jumping rope and focus mitt training.

10. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a form of martial art, which is considered flashy with high kicks. Some people feel it is not an effective martial art for self-defense.

The hands are not used as much as the kicking is used. Many schools will teach techniques for tournament fighting, which is based on scoring points. Other schools will teach both tournament Taekwondo and self-defense.

Taekwondo usually does not teach ground fighting like chokes or joint locks.

Many Taekwondo schools’ main focus is to learn how to do many different kicks.

Here are some kicks in Taekwondo:

  • Axe kick
  • Back kick
  • Crescent kick
  • Flying back and sidekick
  • Sidekick
  • Front kick
  • Hook kick

Taekwondo is also an Olympic sport. If you really want to be in the Olympics maybe Taekwondo is your ticket.

Youth Olympic game highlights Taekwondo video:


Overall there are many different forms of martial arts that will successfully teach you to defend yourself.

It is important that you choose whichever one suits you the best and that you feel that you will excel at the most.

The overall goal of self-defense is not to master the martial art, but to give you peace of mind, educate you on safety, and help you defend yourself just enough to get out of any bad situation.

Just remember that any knowledge and education you have received in martial arts and self-defense classes could help you in the future.

Educate yourself, your family, and your friends on safety and self-defense so that you and those close to you are always safe.

To train online in self-defense check out our free training program.

You can also check out: Self-Defense Weapons Everyone Should Carry

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