Martial Arts Kick Sillouette

5 Most Useful Martial Arts for Self-Defense

The ability to defend yourself with your bare hands is an extremely useful skill to learn, whether you are a man or a woman. Many people believe that they do not need to learn martial arts since they can defend themselves more effectively with a gun.

While there is no denying the fact that a gun is the ultimate self-defense tool, you do not carry a gun with you all the time, do you (unless you are Doc Holliday or live in a liberal ghetto city such as Chicago, Baltimore, or LA but that is even impractical and not everyone is Doc Holliday right?)? Moreover, not every scuffle needs to be settled with a gun. Sometimes, a well-placed punch or kick is all it takes to end a confrontation.

In this article, we take a look at five kickass martial arts that you can learn to defend yourself against physical attacks.

1. Kyokushin Karate

A still from a kyokushin karate fight
[Image via]
Karate is one of the oldest and most popular martial arts in the world. A trained karate practitioner can be a lethal weapon, as they are conditioned to endure tremendous amounts of pain and can hurt you in a hundred different ways.

While there are many different styles of karate (and none they were being practiced by Kramer in that hilarious child karate episode in Seinfeld), Kyokushin stands out from the rest due to its emphasis on hard, full-contact sparring where the opponents are allowed to throw a wide range of punches, knees, and kicks at each other.

The effectiveness of Kyokushin karate as a martial art can be gauged from the fact that professional fighters like George St. Pierre have managed to incorporate elements of Kyokushin into their arsenal and gone on to become extremely successful.

A word of caution – due to the popularity of karate, a large number of McDojos have mushroomed all over the US. Many of these dojos teach their own, watered-down version of karate, which cannot be used to defend yourself against anyone over the age of 12. So, make sure you pick a reputable dojo to learn Kyokushin karate.

2. Boxing

A still from the wilder fury rematch
[Image via Boxing Scene]
Boxing teaches you the dynamics of punching better than any other stand-up martial art (just watch Rocky or Creed – though Rocky 5 can be skipped). The average Joe cannot punch. When two untrained people fight each other, they tend to throw wild, looping punches that do not have a prayer of landing cleanly. So, learning boxing, even for a short period of time, can put you at several levels above the average person in terms of the ability to throw and block punches.

Fortunately, unlike karate, boxing does not suffer from McDojo syndrome. So, you do not have to worry about getting scammed by a trainer who claims that he learned a special version of karate from a mysterious sifu who roams around in the jungles of Vietnam. There are plenty of high-quality boxing gyms all over the country. You can choose to train at a gym which suits your needs best.

3. Muay Thai

A Muay Thai Still
[Image via Viator]
Punching someone in the face can be dangerous at times, both for you as well as the person who is on the receiving end. You might break your hand if you punch them hard on the dome. If the punch is hard enough, you might end up hurting them more than you need to.

An inside leg kick, on the other hand, is a more effective way to hurt someone without causing too much damage. There is no risk of hurting yourself either unless the person happens to be a martial artist himself and knows how to check a kick properly.

No martial art is better than Muay Thai when it comes to teaching you how to throw an inside leg kick or any other kick for that matter. It teaches you to attack your opponent using your fists, elbows, knees, and feet.

Unlike boxing, Muay Thai is not a strictly stand-up martial art. It also teaches you how to clinch, sweep, and take people down, which can be a huge advantage in any street fight.

4. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Image of Gracie Jiu Jitsu at work
[Image via]
BJJ also referred to as ‘jits’, is a highly effective martial art to learn, especially for women. The motto of BJJ is ‘technique over strength’. The submissions and chokeholds you learn in BJJ can be used against much larger and stronger people.

If you have any doubts regarding the effectiveness of BJJ as a self-defense oriented martial art, check out some fights from UFC 1. Royce Gracie, one of the greatest BJJ practitioners of all time, fought men who were much larger and stronger than him and managed to submit each and every one of them.

One of the advantages of learning BJJ is that you can easily defend yourself against an average Joe without hurting yourself in the process. When you stand and trade punches with someone, they have what experts call the ‘puncher’s chance’ to hurt you. If any of the wild, looping punches they throw lands cleanly on your temple or jaw, you could be knocked out.

With BJJ, you are not looking to knock someone out. Instead, your focus is on taming them or putting them to sleep. Even a simple move like the headlock can suffocate an untrained person easily. So, it is one of the best martial arts you can learn to defend yourself against larger and stronger opponents.

5. Krav Maga

A man demonstrating Krav Maga self defence
[Image via Krav Maga Memphis]
This is an Israel based hybrid martial art that teaches you to defend yourself against an opponent who is out to hurt you or even kill you. What separates Krav Maga from other martial arts is that it is a street-based martial art.

Krav Maga practitioners do not train to get a black belt or to win a world championship. They learn essential skills and techniques that can be used in a life-and-death situation. This is the reason why Krav Maga does not have any rules or a list of dos and don’ts. From eye-gouging to groin shots, everything is legal, since there are no rules in the streets.

The downside of Krav Maga is that you cannot use dirty techniques like eye-gouging, throat punches, or groin shots while sparring with someone. So, your theoretical knowledge remains theoretical. With other martial arts, you can use all the offensive and defensive techniques on your opponents in sparring sessions. So, you develop muscle memory, which allows you to react in a fraction of a second in a real-life situation.

Martial Arts for Self Defense

There you go, folks. These are the five best martial arts that you can learn to defend yourself against drunkards and violent bullies. Do you agree with our list of the best martial arts for self-defense? Or do you think that there are better, more effective martial arts that can be learned for self-defense purposes? Use the comment section below to share your views!

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