If you are interested in learning about martial arts, self-defense, or fighting, in general, you may not know where to start.

There are so many different martial arts fighting styles and it may seem overwhelming as to which one you should choose and what you should learn.

Which fighting styles are the best? The best fighting style is a martial art that teaches all three distances of fighting. You need to learn how to kick for long-distance, how to punch, elbow, and knee for a short distance, and how to fight on the ground. We like MMA or Krav Maga to learn to fight.

The Best Fighting Martial Arts:

1. We had MMA and Krav Maga tied for the top spots. We like these because they teach both ground fighting and stand-up fighting.

2. Jiu-jitsu was our next choice because of how deadly it is on the ground. It was not number one because the stand-up fighting aspect is not as good as MMA or Krav.

3. This may be a surprise but we like Muay Thai as number three. The elbows, knees, and kicks are brutal.

4. Karate was next and there are many schools that train in more realistic fighting scenarios. You just have to find those schools.

5. I know boxing is not a martial art but it is fighting. If you are good at boxing you can beat most people in a street fight. It only takes one punch.

6. The next martial art is Judo. You can do some serious damage to someone when you hip-throw them onto concrete.

7. Kung Fu is the next and once again not all kung fu schools are equal. You need to find one that teaches you how to actually fight in real life.

8. Taekwondo has the same issue as other traditional schools. What are they training for tournaments or real-life self-defense fights? You need to ask questions when picking a school.

We will look at the different types of martial arts systems out there in the world to see which ones teach you the 3 distances of fighting mentioned above.

You can easily find a martial art that suits you and gives you the best results.

It is also important to figure out what your goals are. You want to think about what you want out of all the different fighting styles so it will help you to be successful at training.

Different types of fighting martial arts will offer you different things.

The best fighting style for self-defense is Krav Maga whereas Mixed Martial Arts is best for cage fighting. You may want to be a UFC fighter and that will require different training than someone just wanting to learn to protect themselves.

Once you figure out exactly what you are looking for it will be easier for you to find the “best” martial arts fighting styles.

If you, however, have not figured out exactly what your goal is and you are just looking to increase your fighting skills. We can show you which martial arts can help the most.

Really you can never go wrong because there are so many good things about each martial art listed below. Here are some tips and examples about which fighting styles can be seen as the best and why.

8) TaeKwonDo

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that basically focuses on very fast pace techniques such as kicking, spinning, and jumping.

TKD is the best fighting style for kicking. If you want to learn how to do awesome kicks when in a fight then Taekwondo is for you.

It was created based on Chinese martial arts. Many martial arts are created from other older forms so that they could take the best parts of the martial art and modernize it.

Since Taekwondo has many similarities to other Chinese martial arts, it is a great fighting technique. There is an entire movie called “ Spin Kick” dedicated to this martial art which shows its popularity.

Taekwondo ended up becoming so popular that it is now an Olympic sport.

It is known to be one of the most systematic forms of fighting and sparks so much interest in the people who practice it.

Taekwondo is very limited because it focuses on foot skills. Taekwondo mainly focuses on kicking but some schools do teach punching. It just depends on which school but most focus on kicking.

This means you would have a weakness against a skilled puncher or a ground fighter if all you took was Tae Kwon Do.

7) Kung Fu

Believe it or not, Kung Fu was actually created based on karate, so it has several similar techniques. This is another form of martial arts that is popular in fighting across the world.

Kung Fu originated in China and also refers to Chinese martial arts which could be another reason for its popularity when used in fighting. This martial art became so famous that the children’s movie “Kung Fu Panda” was made in honor of it.

Kung Fu teaches punching and kicking techniques.

Each style of Kung Fu will focus on different fighting techniques based on the system. Wing Chun kung fu does a lot of hand trapping and focuses on that with some kicking.

Other kung fu styles will focus on kicking and less on punching. You just need to research what style does what so you can see if that will work for you. Bruce Lee studied Wing Chun Kung Fu shown in the video above.

6) Judo

Judo is another modern martial art that ended up being so popular within fighting and the martial arts world that it became an Olympic sport.

Training in Judo is one of the best fighting styles for throwing opponents and doing ground fighting. This martial art is a fighting martial art, and the main objective is to take the other person down to the ground.

This is mainly why it is good when it comes to fighting because it helps you take your opponent down quickly.

This martial art really works on ground fighting techniques and also how to use your opponent’s weight distribution against them.

You do not strike in Judo however, a Judo throw can really feel like a strike. The force of flipping a person onto concrete should be enough to knock the wind out of them.

To become an overall complete fighter you would have to take a striking art to learn how to punch and kick.

5) Boxing

Boxing is a great way to learn how to punch correctly and effectively. It is one of the most popular forms of fighting. This is by far the best fighting style for learning to punch, bob, and weave. Learning boxing is the key to being a good stand-up fighter.

It focuses on how to defend yourself by slipping, bobbing and weaving, and dodging punches.

Boxing also teaches offense using punching combinations such as the jab, rear cross, uppercut, and hook punch. These punches in combination can easily knock out opponents.

If you do know anything about boxing, you may know how to punch and how to defend punches.

These are the two main things that make boxing so great for fighting. You can easily learn more about the specifics of boxing by checking out our free training online.

When it comes to boxing, you will need to be in close range to throw punches. MMA fighters incorporate boxing training into their programs which shows you that boxing is effective when fighting.

Boxing does not teach kicking or ground fighting so you would need to take a martial art that could help you with both.

If a boxer took on a ground fighter the fight would not last long once the boxer was taken to the ground.

4) Karate

Karate is another popular form of fighting that mostly focuses on punching, kicking, and striking using a knee and elbow. There are also many different forms within karate.

The main focuses of this specific martial art are balance, power, and speed.

The main stances in karate require balance and the center of your body so that you can be strong. This really helps you get better and stronger at any other martial art and fighting strategy as well.

This form basically focuses on attack deflection, which is deflecting whatever your attacker throws at you and then doing something back.

This really helps when it comes to the defensive aspect of fighting.

We sometimes tend to focus so much on the offense aspect that we forget the defense part is just as important. Many attackers will somewhat be prepared to defend themselves from blows and punches to the head.

This is why karate focuses on aiming at other parts of the opponent’s body like the stomach, solar plexus, knee, or groin areas.

You have to realize that your attackers might be good at fighting so they may be prepared to fight hard.

Karate helps you to figure out how to fight back against anyone that attacks you.

The main focus is on punching and kicking so you may need to take Jiu-Jitsu or Judo to learn some ground fighting.

Some karate schools may teach all three areas of fighting so check them out or take our free training online where we teach all 3 phases of fighting.

3) Muay Thai

Muay Thai is also called “ Thai Boxing” and is known as a combat sport. There are several different techniques used throughout Muay Thai.

If you want to devastate attackers with elbows, knees, and powerful kicks then Muay Thai is the best fighting style to learn.

You are actually allowed to use punching, elbowing, kneeing, and kicking.

These techniques can sometimes seem similar to boxing, however, they are not the same.

There is a lot of conditioning that goes into this specific type of fighting.

Muay Thai fighters kick hard surfaces with their shins to toughen them up and deaden the nerves.

This is what professional fighters do and not something you would have to do if you just wanted to train in Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is typically a standing martial art that uses many different strikes to knock out an opponent. This gives you the opportunity to combine so many different combinations to devastate the other fighter.

Muay Thai does not do ground fighting so you would need to get training in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, or MMA to get ground fighting experience.

2) Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu did become popular with the rise of the UFC. People witnessed how effective this form of fighting was against opponents bigger and stronger.

The best fighting style to learn ground fighting is jiu-jitsu.

It did not take long for other martial art practitioners to start incorporating ground fighting into their martial art arsenal.

I really love Jiu-Jitsu and I had my son take it for three years so he could protect himself against bullies or anyone else trying to hurt him.

Jiu-Jits has a couple of different ways you can train. One way is for tournaments and the other way is for self-defense and fighting back against an attacker.

UFC fighter uses it to fight when they go to the ground and as you can see if you have seen a UFC fight it works.

I liked my son taking this because he could take a bully to the ground and submit them but would not have to hurt them. He can use a choke hold or arm lock to hold the bully in place until a teacher arrived.

My son has never had to use it but I feel better knowing he can protect himself if he has to.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu will teach you more about striking and a little stand-up fighting.

To get really good at stand-up fighting you will need to train with a gym that teaches this.

Fighting multiple attackers and only knowing Jiu-Jitsu could be tough. You can’t take one person to the ground because the other attackers will start kicking and punching you on the ground.

1) Krav Maga (Tied with MMA)

The martial arts listed Krav is one of the best fighting styles. This is a martial art that focuses on self-defense. This is based on a system of fighting developed by Israel for its special forces group.

Krav is one of the best fighting styles because it focuses on overall self-defense moves and training.

The techniques they teach focus on getting out of headlocks, bear hugs, arm grabs, and anything that involves someone attacking you.

Krav teaches you how to punch, kick, elbow, knee, and fight on the ground. If you are just looking to learn self-defense then this may be the martial art for you.

I have trained in this and found it very useful in developing my skills in fighting.

1) MMA (Tied with Krav Maga)

MMA is mixed martial arts. The reason mixed martial arts is great for training to fight is that it combines the best techniques from several different forms of martial arts.

Just look at fights in the UFC to know that this is one of the best fighting styles in the world.

This fight training teaches you all aspects of fighting from the ground to stand-up so this is one of the best fighting styles on earth. Training in MMA will also teach you kicks, punches, close-in-hand fighting, and ground fighting.

Mixed martial arts is a type of fighting that is successful for both women and men. Right now there are MMA gyms that teach both women and men.

This type of fighting has become very popular due to the television promotion of UFC and Bellator.

Since Mixed Martial Arts are so popular among professional fighters, you know it is really good to learn how to fight.

There are not nearly as many rules and guidelines in Mixed Martial Arts as in some other martial art tournaments like TaeKwonDo and Jiu-Jitsu tournaments.

This is another reason why it is so popular and good for fight training there are more options and fewer rules. Striking is a popular technique within MMA.

When the UFC got started it was putting martial artists of different backgrounds up against each other. You also had limited rules and no weight classes.

A typical fighter within Mixed Martial Arts is usually very skilled at boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, and Jiu-Jitsu.

I am a martial artist and I did train in Mixed Martial Arts. I love it for physical fitness and to increase my skill set in fighting. Many people say that it’s a sport so not as effective in a street fight but I disagree.

MMA does not teach knife defense or gun defense or many other things like how to get out of a bear hug. The thing is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter can fight and you see stories where MMA fighters take out criminals all the time.

Check out this article on a female Mixed Martial Arts fighter taking out a guy trying to rob her.

We are discussing what are the best fighting styles. This is not an article on which martial art is best at gun defense or knife defense.

If someone pulls a knife on me or a gun I am giving them what they want if it’s a robbery. I don’t care how skilled you are at knife or gun defense if someone attacks with a knife or gun you are in trouble.

I would hopefully have my pepper spray with me and can blind them long enough to run.


Overall, there are many different types of martial arts and fight training systems that are great for learning to fight.

They are all great and can be rewarding, but it is important that you choose the one that fits you best.

Martial arts and fighting have so many different aspects to them that you can never go wrong when learning any type, technique, or style.

There are great things about each of the systems mentioned above. You need to take into consideration that any training in fighting is better than none.

Just remember that when in doubt, the best fighting styles to try would be Mixed Martial Arts or Krav Maga because they are a mixture of many different martial arts.

You may also like: What is MMA? (All You Need to Know)

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