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Best Martial Arts For Self-Defense


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What is self-defense? Why is it important? Does it transform you into the strongest jujutsu sorcerer the world has ever seen?

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Self-defense is just as it is termed as a way to defend yourself in the face of adversity. We all have flight and fight instincts in ourselves (more flight and less fight). Despite the natural reflexes we all possess, such as dodging a blow, learning martial arts and practical martial arts is essential for people of all genders and ages. From fighting in close quarters to open areas, several combat skills can be developed to defend ourselves.

Here is a list of a few forms of the most practical and best martial arts for self-defense for you to choose from that best suits your taste.

Krav Maga-

The brainchild of Imi Lichtenfeld, Krav Maga, is a fusion of different combatant techniques like judo, aikido, boxing, wrestling, etc. Not only does it focus on the physical development of the fighter, but it also provides for mental training by giving real-life circumstances without softening the blows or the dangers of the situation. The martial art, which is a part of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), is gaining popularity for it has elements of street fighting that render it a very practical form of self-defense.


The debut of Karate in this year’s Olympic Games is a testimony of the popularity of martial art as a sport and its importance as a technique of self-defense. Originating from the Okinawan martial arts or the indigenous martial arts, Karate is now a common form of martial arts worldwide that focuses on striking with combinations of joint locks, punching, and grappling techniques.

The high levels of awareness of the Karateka or the practitioner required for gauging the attacker’s moves are important for this martial art. The availability of karate classes is what makes it an easy learning martial art form for self-defense.

Muay Thai-

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Thai kickboxing or Muay Thai is a form of stand-up combatant martial art that includes the techniques like clinching and wrestling. The use of chok (punching), sok (elbow), te (kicking), ti Khao (knees), teep (foot thrusts), and chap Kho (clinching and neck wrestling) has given Muay Thai the name of “The Art of Eight Limbs.”

The different combinations of attacking techniques and use of the lower body make Muay Thai one of the best martial arts for self-defense for women. Movies like Ong Bak, Thong Dee Fun Khao, and Muay Thai Chaiya have increased martial art recognition.

Jujutsu Or Japanese Jiu Jitsu-

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Jujutsu or Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art technique that helps in self-defense against multiple attackers. Jujutsu is the mother martial art form of other famous combatant self-defense forms like aikido, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), etc.

The ancient martial art form propagates the philosophy of subtle defense techniques that uses the attackers’ force against themselves without using their own strength. Jujutsu trains you in combating armed or unarmed attackers with various grappling techniques like kicking, leg sweeps, joint locks, and even attacks like hair pulling and biting.

Wing Chun-

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Wing Chun or Wing Chun Kuen is a form of Southern Chines Kung Fu style for self-defense. It involves striking techniques along with grappling and trapping. Wing Chun demands a softness along with the agility to knock off the opponent with elbow strikes and ‘finger thrusts.’ Various forms of Wing Chun are popular, which include empty hand combat to combat with weapons. Some techniques are even considered deadly or maiming if used properly.

Tae Kwon Do-

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A Korean martial art form that combines kicking and punching, Taekwondo comprises cool techniques like spinning kicks and fast kicks. Taekwondo was introduced as an Olympic sport in Sydney in 2000 and since then has risen to popularity due to its focus on speed, agility, and accuracy.

The martial art is a go-to choice for self-defense enthusiasts and is thus easily accessible. The fast-paced surprise attacks catch the assailants off guard and help you develop concentration levels and discipline, abilities that are no less than superpowers in modern times. It is, yet again, an effective combatant skill for women due to the focus on kicks.


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Created by Morihei Ueshiba as a mixture of his religious, philosophical, and combatant skills, Aikido can be considered a gentler form of self-defense martial art as it prevents causing harm to the attacker. It focuses on the true sense of self-defense that involves protecting ourselves than injuring the opponent.

As Aikido originates from an armed combatant form, many of its strikes mirror the movement of swords and knives. It includes grabs, face and chest thrusts, and strikes. Kicking is not a common attacking technique and allows defense against multiple attackers. Aikido impresses upon physical training with a special focus on breath control as well as mental training.


An acronym for Samozashchita Bez Oruzhiya (that’s a mouthful!), Sambo was changed into SOMBO for the initial name has a controversial racial connotation. An amalgamation of catch wrestling, judo, and jujutsu, SOMBO is a mixed martial art originated in the Soviet Union.

Despite being a sport, SOMBO is a combatant striking and grappling technique that includes kicking, punches, head butts, chokes, holds, and groin strikes. SOMBO is one of the best martial arts for self-defense due to the freestyle use of kicks and punches and hand-to-hand fighting style, making it fairly easy for an amateur (even called “amateur wrestling”).


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Created by Kano Jigoro, Judo is considered a modern form of martial arts focusing on grappling techniques accompanied by strikes, joint locks, and chokes. Unlike its literal meaning-gentle way- Judo actually aims at immobilizing or knocking down an opponent.

With technicalities like nagewaza (throwing), katamewaza (grappling), and atemiwaza (striking), Judo is a widely preferred form of martial arts for self-defense not only because it is accessible and popular due to being an Olympic sport but also because of the degree of injury it may inflict the attackers.



Like everything graceful and elegant about the French, the combative technique comprises graceful fighting tricks. Savate, devised by Michel Casseux, is essentially a safe self-defense martial art for amateurs as it includes just hand and foot fighting methods.

Although a fairly easy combatant skill, Savate is not a feasible self-defense art as it requires a special type of shoe, known as Savate, to deliver the kicks. However, the punches like– direct bras Avant, crochet, and uppercut- can come in handy in perilous situations.


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The good ol’ boxing never grows old! Boxing, specifically bare-knuckle boxing, is the most common and effective form of self-defense martial art. The time-tested martial art form is sure hit (no pun intended) among self-defense enthusiasts. Although brutal, boxing helps in inflicting serious injuries to the assailants if done right.

It is one of the purest forms of hand-to-hand combats and is the oldest sport to be a part of the Olympics since its founding in 688 B.C. The ancient combative technique is easily available for learning and primarily consists of punches and stances.

Mixed Martial Arts-

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Another most effective and truly inclusive form of martial art for self-defense is Mixed Martial Arts. It is a combat sport in the true sense with striking and grappling techniques. An amalgamation of almost all martial art forms is known, from Jujutsu, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo to Boxing, Wrestling, and Street Fighting; Mixed Martial Arts include ground fighting and clinch fighting.

It can be said that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is inspired by Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, also a form of mixed martial arts. This form of self=defense is effective but can be very brutal for amateurs and beginners in martial arts.

Musti Yuddha-

Musti Yuddha, or fist fighting, is an Indian self-defense martial art. It includes unarmed fighting aimed at attacking the opponent’s chest and head. Yet another form of hand-to-hand fighting, Musti Yuddha, is effective self-defense and easy for beginners. The combatant art form includes punches, kicking, and grabs, incorporating elbows and knees. Musti Yuddha allows practitioners to combat against one opponent or multiple opponents.


With a focus on grappling, Dumog is a style of wrestling originating in the Philippines. The martial art form focuses on wrestling and knocking the opponents down on the ground while remaining upright. Dumog involves pushes, grabs, joint locks, and chokes that throw the attacker off balance. T

he collisions with the objects around, like a lamppost, wall, etc., and immobilizing the assailants by attacking what is known as “nerve points” or “control points” make Dumog an effective combatant skill and easy to learn for beginners and amateurs.

Learning a martial art does not only help us to build ourselves physically but are also useful for well-rounded development. We need to take responsibility for our security into our own hands. Training in martial art forms for self-defense boosts our confidence to face any dangerous circumstance, for we learn to be in control of the situations.

Martial arts help in mental strengthening and controlled body movements. Increased self-awareness, concentration, agility, and physical strength are a few of the many pros of martial arts training. This list is just a few suggestions for martial arts that you would want to learn for self-defense.

If all these best martial arts for self-defense seem to be lack a certain quality, always know that the deadliest form of mental self-defense is at your disposal. It is none other than Unagi- “the state of total self-awareness,” the achievement of which can prepare you against any danger that may befall you!



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