The world today is a much safer place and civilized in more regions than one can think of. This brings us to the next thought. How relevant or important is martial arts in the world that we live today? Is is only looked upon as a sport, an art form, or do we still consider it a form of self defense? Well, only time will tell whether we use it for defense or just practice it as a sport. For starters however, here’s a list of the top martial art forms that you can use to defend yourself.
Table of Content
Top 10 Martial Arts for Self Defense
1. Western Boxing
To the layman, boxing is probably the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of self defense. And it looks cool to end a fight with one swing, doesn’t it? However, there’s a lot more to it.
We’ve all heard many a story where petty robbers, muggers, murderers have suffered at the hands of the boxers whilst the boxers tried to protect themselves from getting mugged or killed, even. The irony of the situation however, is that on most occasions it’s the boxer who’s ended up in prison. So much for self defense, right!
Since, boxing only involves fighting with the hands, most boxers on average train for about 4 years, honing their skills. And it’s not just about the punch. It’s also about the footwork, the endurance, the accuracy, and the reflexes as well. The usual stance of the boxer is be in a crouched position by positioning his hands on both sides of his head. The crouched position allows the boxer to punch with explosive power while the hands protect the head and the body.
Also Read: Kickboxing or Boxing?
Ever encounter a mugger or a robber, and you can use these tips to help yourself. Most muggers aren’t trained in self defense so anything like this will make them think twice for sure.
2. Keysi Fighting Method
This fighting method resembles street fighting the most. Keysi fighting relies highly on close-quarters combat using, mostly head, fists, knees, and elbows. We know you can’t think of not using your feet while defending yourself but nevertheless, fighting in such close quarters itself is what makes this martial art form seriously damaging.
The stance is quite simple with your hands clasped behind your head, and the elbows raised to protect the head, neck, and the upper chest. It usually resembles someone in deep thought. Well, we never thought deep thought could be so effective, right? Well, if struck by sharp elbows and fists that come on you like a sledge hammer, for one it leaves you clueless as to what just happened. Also, in terms of impact, it is far more effective than shooting straight punches.
Take Christopher Nolan’s Batman series for example. Batman is almost always fighting the villains in a hand to hand close-quarter combat. And that too, 15 to 20 guys at a time. Now that’s something, isn’t it? An inside secret; you can do that too. Just train for 6 to 7 years and you can develop the ability to ward off villains, just like Batman.
Jujutsu or Jiu-Jitsu as it pronounced in many parts of the world is an ancient style that found its roots in Japan.
Jujutsu primarily involves a lot of throw and lock movements in quick succession. It aims to create confusion in the attacker’s mind as to what your next move will be. Similar to Keysi, this also involves a large amount of close-quarter combat. However, the key here are the lock movements which renders the attacker nearly immobile. It may also cause the joints to dislocate or break in extreme cases. So the next time someone tries to attack you, play the empty handed samurai and bring down some jujutsu on him.
4. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
To say that any list would be complete without a mention of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would be unfair in more ways than one. While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been derived from its ancient cousin Jujutsu, there are a number of differences in the way they are practiced. For one, the focus here is more on ground leverage and body weight distribution if one were to fight a stronger opponent.
Another key technique is to make the opponent submit to you through a series of chokes, grapples and twisting of joints which puts the attacker in a critical position. So if you want to render someone immobile without giving a thought to the size of the attacker, this is what you should learn.
5. Muay Thai For Self Defense
Muay Thai for self defense or Thai Boxing as it is commonly known originated in Thailand. It makes for an interesting sport since it was more evolutionary as compared to the others whose principles have largely remained the same. If you refer to the history of Thailand, you realize that this was a nation that was constantly engulfed by attacks from its neighbouring countries. Hence, they were forced to learn a method which allowed them to fight without weapons too. And this is where Muay Thai was born.
Muay Thai uses the entire body as a weapon as well armour. So while you can attack using your hands, elbows, knees, and legs, you can also defend using your shins and forearms. This could be looked at as a natural progression of sorts from Western Boxing where you can only use your hands. It is through these techniques that Muay Thai for self defense has been adopted as the National sport. Certainly one of the better ways to take your attacker on and let him know, he ran into the wrong guy on the street.
Possibly one of the oldest martial art forms that goes back more than 5000 years, Taekwondo is believed to have originated in Korea. While it may not bear any resemblance in the way we fight if we encounter someone on the streets, it still is very effective even at a very basic level.
Taekwondo mostly relies on swift strikes and high spinning kicks that are so explosive it will leave the attacker reeling in extreme pain. So effective and clinical it is in execution that this martial art form has found its way as an Olympic sport as well. Ironically, Taekwondo translates to “the way of the hand and the fist”. Nevertheless, it adds a bit of style if you can knock out an opponent with a flying kick, doesn’t it?
Aikido is probably one of the most unusual art styles in this list, and there’s a high probability you wouldn’t find a large number of people practising it or even knowing about it outside of Japan. Referred to as “the way of harmony of the spirit”, this unusual art form focuses on defending oneself rather than attacking your opponent.
The primary goal is to defend oneself without inflicting injury on the attacker.
A typical Aikido fighter will use the momentum of the movements of his attacker and try to avoid punches or kicks through a well grounded technique. However, mastering this art form requires quick reflexes. Seldom can you move away from a puch hurled at you before it hurts you; but if you can, you’re well on your way to Aikido mastery.
8. Wing Chun
Wing Chun or Wing Chun Kung Fu as it is famously known was popularised by the legendary Bruce Lee. We bet you didn’t know that. For starters, Wing Chun fighters are adept at striking and defending and hence this gives them a well rounded technique. The art form mostly focuses on maintaining a strong balance of your body which is why it mostly favours shorter people since they have better balance overall. One of the key factors is also that Wing Chun aids close-quarter combat and hence these fighters can cause some serious damage at close range.
9. Jeet Kune Do
Jeet Kune Do is an art form that is an eclectic mix of Wing Chun and Jujutsu. This certainly makes this art form something to watch out for. The combination of styles enables fighters of Jeet Kune Do to fight without a style, literally. While footwork and swift hand and leg movements are an essential part of Wing Chun, it still limits kicks higher than the waist as this leaves one leg and the groin region more vulnerable than ever.
Parts of Jujutsu are employed for swift strikes to the neck and the head and mainly involve lock and throw movements in quick succession. If you do encounter a person knowing Jeet Kune Do, you should start running in the opposite direction.
10. Krav Maga
Krav Maga can be undoubtedly dubbed as the most lethal form of self defense in this list. Having its roots in Israel, this style is a no holds barred contact combat sport that incapacitates the opponent without giving him an inch. Krav Maga can be referred to as an intelligent street fight.
Its foundations have been laid on 3 principles:
Neutralize the threat
Simultaneous defense and attack
Attack the body’s vulnerable parts
We all know very well that defending one part of your body leaves other parts vulnerable and then comes surgical strikes to vital body parts viz., eyes, face, throat, neck, groin, and fingers. If you survive one hit, you’ll be hit for sure in the following assaults. The deadly results come from a brutal hand eye co-ordination honed over years until defense becomes a natural extension of your reflexes. This martial art style is so effective that it has also been included as the official form of combat for the Israeli Defense Forces (also known as IDF).
Learning to protect yourself and your loved ones in times of crisis is an instinct you shouldn’t miss. While we have outlined a few ways to do that, there are a number of other ways you can learn to achieve the desired result. The most important thing however, is to be aware of your surroundings. Reflexes are always better when we are alert. Happy defending. How to start your own MMA training?