There are many different reasons why people choose to take up self-defense lessons. Some look for classes following an attack or violent encounter. Others just want to improve their fitness and lose weight. The best martial art for you is a personal choice, and it’s important to consider what you want to achieve before making a decision.
A short course offering practical self-defense tips may be all you need if you’re worried about your safety. However, it will take years of practice and study if you want to master a martial art and achieve black belt status. Even then, using your martial arts skills in a real-life situation may not be the best course of action. Dealing with multiple attackers (especially if they’re armed) only works in Hollywood movies.
What’s the best martial art for street fights
This is a question that experts in the field often debate. Before considering possible answers, it’s worth examining some of the critical elements of an efficient street fighting system.
Natural stances and body positions
Street attacks are often unexpected and happen quickly. Fighting systems with complex stances aren’t useful in these types of situations. You must be ready to respond from a natural standing position when an attack comes.
Techniques that come naturally in high-stress conditions
Months of training in the controlled conditions of martial arts classes can’t prepare you for the stress of an unexpected assault on the streets. Most people experience an extreme adrenaline rush and go into shock. When the body enters a high-stress state, performing complex kicks and hand movements becomes difficult. The best martial arts for street self-defense use simple blocks and direct strikes.
Elements of ground fighting
Martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have become quite popular in recent years. Experts winning high profile mixed martial arts competitions have fuelled interest. Although Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is considered a sport, it includes effective techniques for street fighting. After an initial exchange of blows, fights often end up on the ground.
The best martial art for street fights should combine the elements above into a fighting system you can learn in a controlled environment. The range of different martial arts styles can be confusing, so it helps to understand what’s involved in some of the most popular forms.
One of the oldest and most well-known combat arts, Karate has been proven many times in street encounters. Anyone who has trained for a few years in Karate can punch and kick with serious power. One of the criticisms of this classic martial art is that its moves can be rigid and that there is a focus on blocking an initial attack. Some people argue that a more fluid system can be more effective in street fights.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
A relatively new fighting art, BJJ can be traced back to Japanese forms of Jiu-Jitsu. It looks similar to Aikido and other grappling and throwing skills and has been used to win international martial arts competitions in recent years. While BJJ may have limitations when dealing with multiple attackers in a street fight, it’s highly efficient in one on one situations.
Often thought of purely as a sport, Judo has its roots in fighting methods used by Samurai in feudal Japan. As well as teaching how to take an attacker off balance, Judo incorporates joint locks and holds which can be very useful in street attacks. Striking and kicking can make a situation worse, and being able to restrain an attacker is a helpful option. Top self-defense tips often include the use of joint locks in street fights.
Created and used by the Israeli military, Krav Maga is a hardcore fighting system. It focuses on efficient movements and brutal strikes and has proven in combat situations. Training in Krav Maga includes defending against weapons and dealing with multiple attackers.
The best martial art for street fights may not win competitions, but it should help you survive an unexpected assault. If you’re looking for self-defense tips, visit a local martial arts club and ask how their style will prepare you for street attacks.