Top 5 Martial Arts for Self Defense

 Top 5 Martial Arts for Self Defense

There are many reasons as to why you may decide to train in martial arts. The most common reason of all, is so that you protect yourself and your family from harm.

It’s important to understand that not all self defense disciplines are cut from the same cloth. Some are more effective than others while some are more for performance than actual self defense.

During this post, we are going to share our list of the top 5 most effective martial arts disciplines for both self defense, and survival.

The question of which martial art is best for self defence has been debated for many years. However, it is also a subject that we have given a lot of thought over to bring you only those that will be the most effective should you ever need to fend off attackers.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga quickly grew to become one of the most well known forms of self defense in the world. The word “Krav Maga” in Hebrew means “contact fighting” and it is the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces.

It was created specifically with self defense in mind and in my personal opinion, is THE best form. You will learn both gun and knife defense along with striking, grappling and much more.

Krav Maga is designed to disable attackers as quickly and efficiently as possible. As with most martial arts, Krav Maga encourages avoidance of conflicts first and foremost. If that is impossible, however, this form of self defense hinges on quickly and efficiently disabling opponents.

Russian Sambo

Sambo is a truly amazing and devastating art. It was first used in the 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to train their troops in hand-to-hand combat. It is still in the infant stages of worldwide popularity which as such, it can be difficult to find a local instructor.

Sambo is one of the more aggressive forms of grappling and/or wrestling and uses a combination of take-down throws and ground grappling – likely a result of its origins as a military hand-to-hand combat system.

It does however require a good deal of strength and is less effective if the user is notably smaller than his opponent. All the same, when used against a similarly sized fighter or an off-guard opponent of slightly larger build, Sambo can be an incredibly effective means of defending oneself against assault.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai or Thai boxing as it is largely known is a devastating  system of kicking, punching, elbows and knee strikes. It is well known for delivering some of the most powerful leg kicks in Martial Arts and has been a go to source of training for MMA fighters but it is equally superb for street self-defence.

Muay Thai has proven itself both in the battlefield and the sporting arena but is a tough Martial Art to train in. It is one that uses all the skills that you need on the street and would make you a serious threat to anyone who attacks you!


Jiu-jitsu is one of the oldest surviving forms of Japanese martial arts today. Dating back to the late 1400s, this fighting system was actually developed for battlefield use, to be brought into the fray when weapons were unavailable or ineffective.

This form of self defense relies heavily upon throws, immobilizing, choking, and joint locks, and has become one of the all-time most popular martial arts in the modern day.

There are two main surviving forms still in use today which are Japanese (geared more toward unsanctioned self defense and has many sub-styles) – and Brazilian (much more competition-focused).

It is about getting your opponent into a position in which you can get them into one of the fighting style’s many forms of grappling. It relies on choke holds, joint locks, and immobilization to stop an assailant, rather than striking techniques common throughout karate-related martial arts.

Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do (JKD) is an excellent technique to study if you want to learn how to strike an opponent effectively. It teaches you close range striking, trapping.

When you know Jeet Kune Do, you can defeat opponents who are bigger and stronger than you using a variety of punching, kicks, traps and open-handed techniques.

JKD offers a really detailed look into the physical applications of martial arts with a variety of options. It is likely that no two JKD schools will be the same however all are based on solid fundamentals.  JKD is a great martial art for self-defence, it has huge depth and variety.

What JKD offers, is ways of adapting to any combat situation. There’s a focus on explosive unreadable attacks that throw off your opponent, fluidity in any situation is a necessity, and that the simplest least wasteful movements are best.

Let’s finish with Bruce Lee’s 7 tips for self defense. I particularly like numbers 3, 4, and 6 (situational awareness).

  1. Self defense is not fun
  2. Pay absolutely no attention to his size, his arrogance, fierce facial contortions, nor his vicious language
  3. Size is never a true indication of muscular power and efficiency
  4. Once you hesitate or stop, the stronger person has the chance to bring his strength to bear
  5. It is also advisable to make as much noise as possible as this naturally tends to frighten off lawbreakers
  6. The chance of attack can be greatly reduced if you are walking, especially at night, or in lonely places if you are always alert
  7. When being attacked by a thug, the fact is that he has but a one track mind which is bent on your destruction, rarely considering what you can do.

Related post

Share Your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.