What is the best martial art for self defense?
A lot of people ask me this question and I will try to answer it as logically as I can.
I compare self defense training to taking a first aid course, and martial arts to being a doctor. First aid is great for certain situations, and martial arts can help you answer the “what if” scenarios. First aid is better then nothing, deals with the most common issues and is relatively easy to learn. Being a doctor takes more time and training, and a doctor can diagnose an issue and possibly deal with situations that are not as common. In my years of martial arts and self defense training, here are some observations:
Here are the good things about self defense training:
- Develop awareness and observation skill of your immediate surroundings
- Target unsportsmanship areas ( groin, eyes, throat etc)
- Gross motor skills. Simple skills and techniques that work under stress
- Effectively deal with real life scenarios (edged weapons, firearm disarms, multiple attackers)
- Focused on the most common attacks (sucker punches, sucker tackles, hockey punching scenarios etc)
- Focused goal should be to escape safely
- Develop a fighters instinct. Develop a mind set to survive a violent situation
Here are some bad things about learning self defense only:
- Doesn’t train you to be athletic (within your age, past injuries, health conditions)
- Can not adapt and flow from one range to another or situation (you try to kick the guy in the groin, you miss, and now find yourself in a stand up fight against a bigger athletic attacker)
- The techniques are not performed enough to ingrain them in your nervous system. In other words they are not second nature
Here are the pros of the martial arts:
- Constant repetition of the proper techniques is an asset. Make the techniques second nature
- Makes you athletic. Stronger, faster, able to flow from one method of fighting to another
- Body is toughened to take strikes and impact against the ground. This is good so that when you are hit, you’re not shocked by the pain and can counter
- A broad selection of various techniques and tactics to choose from. This could be a problem though, if the martial artist does not train these techniques and tactics, over and over.
- Develop a fighters mindset, as long as they train and perform under stress
Here are some cons of the martial arts:
- Sometimes too much time is spent on complex and fine motor skills; techniques that just won’t work under stress
- Some martial arts do not practice under stress. Like Mike Tyson said “everyone has a plan until they get punched”
- Might not train for realistic scenarios. Knife attacks, gun disarms, multiple attackers, sucker punches. The martial art may have too many sports related techniques
- Ego. Most martial artists think that because they practice martial arts, that their opponent should tremble in fear and run away
- Stand and fight. Some martial artists think that a self defense situation is an honorable combat match between two people with rules. Sometimes it is better to run away. Especially if a weapon comes into play. And there are definitely no rules.
So what is the best martial art for self defense? I like how Sifu Burton Richardson once defined his approach to Jeet Kune Do, and I think that this is definition might help decide what is the best martial art:
“The ability to fight in all ranges (kicking, punching, clinch and grappling) with or without weapons, against one or many opponents”.
Take that definition plus the pros of self defense training, and you have the best martial art system for self defense.
For me personally, I feel that if you are interested in self defense, you must combine various martial arts with self defense training. Why? Because I personally don’t think that any one martial art had a monopoly on self defense; I personally do not feel that they follow Sifu Burton Richardson’s definition.
For me, I use Boxing, Muay Thai, Savate, Greco Roman wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Combat Submission Wrestling, Kali, Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do as my base for self defense. However I use the law enforcement training from PPCT Management System and Modern Warrior to educate me on technique selection, targeting, mind setting, helping develop observation and awareness skills, tactical application of techniques and how to effectively deal with more reality based scenarios.
I find that this approach helps me the best. Martial Arts, Martial Application and Martial Athlete.
If you are interested in self defense, please come by and try out our broad selection of martial arts. Come try a FREE WEEK of training: Martial Arts Mississauga
We are also hosting a FREE Intro to Women’s Self Defense Seminar. Please call 905.804.8158 or email us at [email protected] to register today for free.