Guys in a street fight

People around the world ask the same question over and over what is the best martial art or training system to prepare you for a street fight? If you get into a street fight or someone attacks you on the street you better have some type of fight training.

What are the best martial arts for street fighting? The one that prepares you the most to fight back if attacked. If I had to pick one system that would allow me to win a street fight when it is just one-on-one I would go with Jiu-Jitsu.

The best martial art for multiple attackers would, in my opinion, is Krav Maga.

I can’t say if you will win or lose the fight if you are attacked even if you train in one of the systems we will share with you below. You winning a street fight is dependent on what system you train in, how you train and how good is the school or online training system.

Let’s go more in-depth on which systems we know will work in a fight.

1. Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu is an incredible martial art that when trained properly can beat larger opponents.

You learn in this system how to do:

  • Arm locks
  • Chokeholds
  • Takedowns
  • Mount control
  • And much more when ground fighting

My son took Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for 3 years the confidence and skills he learned will follow him into his teen years. He is confident and knows he can take care of himself or any bullies.

This system is also street tested by the Gracie family so you know the training works in a fight.

There are a few ways you can go with your training in Jiu-Jitsu. You can learn Jiu-Jitsu geared towards more tournament competition or base your training on my self-defense or street fighting training. Many aspects are similar but training is a little different.

2. Krav Maga

I like Krav Maga it is focused on teaching people how to defend themselves if attacked. The training will get you in great shape while teaching you how to fight back.

The system also does training on different attacks that may happen. Krav will teach you how to get out of a bear hug, how to get out of a headlock, and many more ways to escape someone trying to injure you.

The training tries to be like real life to prepare for anything that may happen.

There are also weapons training and situational training provided.

You will learn how to:

  • How to Stand to fight – fighting stance
  • How to Move in a fight
  • How to move Forward, Back, Left, Right 
  • Bob and Weave
  • Ground fighting movement
  • Slip punches
  • Punches
    • Jab
    • Rear cross
    • Hook punch
    • Uppercut
  • Kicks
    • Front Kick
    • Side Kick
    • Roundhouse Kick
  • Knees
    • Knee to the ribs, head, or chest
    • Roundhouse Knee to the ribs, head, or chest
  • Punch/Kick Combinations
  • Punch Defenses
    • Blocks
    • Hand positions
  • Choke Defenses how to protect you
  • Headlock Defenses to get out of a headlock
  • Groundwork fighting basics and advanced

3. MMA

I know most people say MMA is not a martial art. I think it is but that is my opinion. The one thing I do know is MMA fighters can fight really well if trained properly.

I have heard people say that MMA does not work well in street fighting because it’s a sport. The thing about it is I train with MMA fighters and I would rather have them next to me in a street fight than any other martial art fighter.

Punching, kicking, movement, and ground fighting are all keys to winning a fight. MMA fighters are highly skilled at all of these.

Training with MMA fighters my skills in fighting has increased 10 fold. Can I win a fight every time, probably not, but my high skill level in MMA makes it more likely I can win when defending myself.

Think about it how many people truly know how to fight in this world? I would venture to say the percentage is very low.

MMA you learn many different aspects of fighting such as:

  • Jiu-Jitsu ground fighting
  • Punching
    • Jab
    • Rear Cross
    • Uppercut
    • Hook punch
  • Kicking
    • Teap kick
    • Front kick
    • Side kick
    • Roundhouse Muay Thai kick
    • Leg kicks
  • Knee and elbows
  • Distancing and movement
  • Bob/weave/slip punches
  • Feint
  • Plus much more

4. Muay Thai

I love Muay Thai and have learned many of the moves from taking MMA and Jeet Kune Do. These martial art systems have taken the kicks, knees, and elbow strikes from this system to use.

This is for good reason if you ever get kicked with a Muay Thai roundhouse kick it will feel like a baseball bat hit you. I am not joking because I have trained with MMA fighters so I know firsthand this is a powerful kick.

I was training with a 25-year-old guy at my gym and he was doing the Muay Thai kick to the Muay Thai pads I was holding. Let’s just say my arms were bruised after the training session. The pads I used are very thick so he was able to penetrate the pads to bruise my arms.

Muay Thai fighters will kick bamboo trees to toughen their shins.

The other thing that works well in a fight is something called the clinch. Once in a clinch, the fighter will knee or elbow you till things are broken on your body.

If you can learn Muay Thai do it because this martial art is incredible.

Is Karate any good in a street fight?

The karate I took 25 years ago was not effective in a street fight. Karate nowadays all depends on the gym or program you train with.

Many karate schools have now adopted self-defense, ground fighting, and other street-fighting martial arts into their programs. These schools are keeping up with the times because many people want to learn these fighting arts.

If you have local karate schools then check them out to see if it teaches the things you want to learn.

Is Aikido effective martial art?

This is a question that I saw people had asked online. I will give the same answer as I did for karate. It depends on the school and what they teach.

When I think of street fighting I do not think of Aikido.

I have not practiced Aikido but in many of the fights I see or MMA fights, I watch I have never seen anyone use Aikido. Will it work on the street, maybe?

I personally do not think it will work and that is why I have not trained in it. It is a great martial art for what it does and teaches. I am just more interested in self-defense and street fighting so martial arts or training not focused on that is something I just do not do.

What is the least effective martial art?

I have not done any of these martial arts but after doing some research this is what many people believe to be the least effective martial art in a fight.

  • Capoeira – looks like a choreographed dance routine instead of fighting
  • Aikido – We just discussed it seems to revolve around throwing people on a mat with joint locks. Good luck catching a punch from a street fighter to then try and throw him.
  • Tai Chi – I just don’t see the soft flowing movements working when someone has me in the clinch and is kneeing me in the ribs.
  • TaeKwonDo – Just doing all kicking all the time leaves you open to getting punched or taken to the ground. You need to know every aspect of fighting not just kicking.
  • Kung Fu – Looks good when you watch kung fu movies but to work in a street fight, not really.

I know we are talking about martial arts but I wanted to bring up one other way to win a street fight.

Non-lethal self-defense weapons

You need to carry some sort of non-lethal weapon especially if you do not train in self-defense or in a fighting martial art. You can carry a lethal weapon but that is for another article.

Here are some weapons you can carry to help you fight off an attacker.

  • Pepper spray
  • Bear pepper spray
  • Lipstick pepper spray
  • Pepper spray gun
  • Pepper Gel
  • Stun guns
  • Stun flashlight
  • Lipstick stun gun
  • Sting ring
  • Taser gun
  • Stun cane
  • Tactical flashlight
  • Knives
  • Personal alarms
  • Cat key chains
  • Hairbrush with a dagger by Cold Steel
  • Tactical striking pens
  • Kubotan
  • Monkey fist keychain
  • Kuba-Kickz plastic knuckles
  • App on phone emergency and tracker

You can check out this article going into more detail about the list of non-lethal weapons.

If I had one to pick I would go with pepper spray. You should carry this with you everywhere no matter if you are a woman or a man. I carry it with me everywhere.


There are many other martial arts that can teach you how to win a street fight. We picked some of the ones we have trained in and the ones we are most impressed with for fight training. It will be up to you to find a local school or an online training program like we have to increase your fighting skills.

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