If you’re considering picking up martial arts, then you probably already have a reason for doing so. Be it weight loss, strength building, improving your social life, or even just for the love of the activity itself.
But one thing martial arts can help all practitioners learn is effective at-home self-defense. If this isn’t something you’ve considered before, then stick around for today’s post, as the most effective martial arts for at-home self-defense are ranked.
So, if you still haven’t dedicated yourself to one yet, then perhaps the information you learn today can assist you. Ready to find out which martial arts are best for self-defense? Then read on below!
At the bottom of the Most Effective Martial Arts featured in today’s list is Western wrestling. This grappling-based martial art is great for self-defense because the primary focus is on grappling and takedowns.
In other words, it’s all about disrupting your opponent’s balance and keeping them in a held position for as long as you possibly can.
In self-defense terms, this is excellent for at-home use if you’re faced with an opponent because it equips you with the skills necessary to take them down quickly.
This is done in a variety of ways: footwork, throws, sweeps, and defensive counterattacks that can bring your opponent to the floor before they put you there.
Wrestling will teach you a lot of effective moves for self-defense, but no wrestling gym will teach you striking moves like some of the other martial arts on this list, because wrestling doesn’t feature striking moves.
That is why it sits at the bottom of this list of most effective martial arts. Takedowns are useful to know, but if you’re not in a position to hold your opponent in a real self-defense situation (i.e. because they have friends) then you won’t be prepared to fight where necessary.
4. Muay Thai
Muay Thai (also known as Thai boxing) is a martial art developed in Thailand as a self-defense martial art designed to train you in close-quarter combat.
In other words, it literally prepares you for defending yourself in at-home self-defense scenarios, as there will always be close-quarter combat situations.
The focus here is on striking, with the aim being to remain on your feet, so no grappling takes place here, or takedowns that require both combatants to be on the floor.
Muay Thai is also known as Thai kickboxing because it focuses on teaching striking moves that involve every part of your limbs: fists, feet, knees, elbows, shins – you name it, there is a striking move you can learn at a Muay Thai gym that’ll pack a serious punch.
It’s this versatility and the strength training you’ll undergo whilst practicing this martial art that makes it so effective.
Despite being a close quarter combat sport, it teaches moves at close, mid, and long-range, so it will equip you with striking techniques at all distances so you’re prepared no matter where an opponent starts an attack from.
This is great martial art, but it isn’t something everyone can learn because it’s very difficult and requires a lot of perseverance to be at the top of your game. For this reason, it can’t rank higher on this list of most effective martial arts despite its value.
3. Krav Maga
Krav Maga is a martial art developed by Hungarian martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld as an intuitive and realistic approach to life and death situations.
That’s to say they designed it as a method of self-defense. In other martial arts, you’ll face a set of rules, and different parameters you must stay within so you can score points at competitions. Krav Maga couldn’t care less about that.
Rules are thrown out of the window, and groin strikes, foot stomps, and throat strikes are all actively encouraged in this martial art.
The aim is to take down your opponent aggressively as quickly as you can. Better yet, Krav Maga also teaches you how to defend yourself against weapons such as knives and guns, and how to use things in your environment as a weapon to defend yourself.
But perhaps the best thing about this martial art is that you’re taught how to verbally de-escalate a situation as your first port of call. If that fails, then you’re free to attack as a form of defense.
The reason it doesn’t make the top of the list is that no sparring is possible because of the aggressive nature of most effective martial arts, so you don’t get any practice in. You learn the techniques and skills, but the first time you’ll use them for real is in a dangerous situation – which is far from ideal.
MMA has to be near the top of the list because of the sheer range of skills you’ll learn. As MMA takes the best bits and pieces from the most effective martial arts out there and incorporates it into one event, the focus is on teaching practitioners to be the best fighters they can be.
As such, you’ll learn everything from striking, takedowns, grappling and everything in between to prepare you for any situation you face at home.
It basically gives you every skill and technique you could need to turn yourself into someone who can defend yourself in any situation. So then why isn’t this at number one?
Because again, this isn’t accessible for everybody. The steep learning curve feels insurmountable to some, and the amount you need to learn and remember to be a truly effective fighter turns some people away from the sport.
To be the best martial art for self-defense, it should be accessible to everybody – meeting people where they are at now, and training them to get better and better at the martial art until they feel confident to handle themselves.
MMA doesn’t do this for everybody, despite how effective it is in self-defense scenarios, so it can’t be number one.
Finally, the top spot. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) sits at the top of the list of most effective martial arts for a few reasons. First, it was created as a martial art that anyone can access: old, young, tall, small, strong, weak – it’s a martial art that meets you wherever you’re at, and turns you into an effective fighter.
It’s a ground-based grappling martial art that teaches you how to get your opponent on the floor and keep them there, much like Western wrestling, but the difference here is that you don’t need strength to do it like you do in wrestling.
Instead, you learn a range of techniques based on targeting different weak spots. You don’t know what your opponent’s weak spots will be in a real-life situation, so having an arsenal of techniques is necessary.
Once you find their weak spot, you can bring them to the ground effectively and hold them there with a submission hold.
You also learn throws and trips to easily get your opponent down, so you’re taught how to get the upper hand no matter who you’re up against. Strength isn’t important in this martial art – technique is, and this can be taught to anyone!
What puts this one on top, though, isn’t the offensive skills taught (although this helps) it’s the defensive ones.
Not only does BJJ teach you how to get your opponent to the floor, it teaches you how to reverse the situation if they get you to the ground first. BJJ teaches you how to get out of a dangerous situation and turn it to your advantage.
Better yet, you practice all these skills whilst rolling (otherwise known as sparring in other martial arts) so you get to practice these in a situation as close to a real-life one as possible.
Most Effective Martial Arts Near Me
All the martial arts covered today will help you in any self-defense scenario, but none more so than BJJ. As this martial art increases in popularity, more and more gyms are springing up all over, so look for a local one today and sign up to some free classes to get started!