Best Martial Arts For Women’s Self Defense

In a perfect world, women wouldn’t have to worry about self defense, but that’s not the real world. While most people are decent, there are a few that could put women in danger, and because of these bad apples, women need to learn some of the best martial arts out there for self defense.

Every self-defense martial art practice mentioned below will help you do one thing: defend yourself when it’s needed. Each of these practices will help you in different ways, and they’ll help you be honest about your situation.

The practices are listed from least street effective to the most street effective.


As a woman, you’re at a disadvantage and would most likely lose against a male attacker or a group of men. Recognizing this truth doesn’t lessen your value and is the first step to recognizing the need for martial art practices like taekwondo.

This is a Korean martial arts style of fighting, and it’s relatively new compared to some of its counterparts. The goal of this new way of fighting is to help folks deliver faster and stronger strikes to their opponents.

You’re probably thinking that this is something every teacher of martial arts says to their students, and you’re right. The reality is that each style is only as good as the student and their ability to master the style. Still, it seems obvious that some of the strikes, especially the kicks you learn in taekwondo, are pretty brutal and effective. A lot of folks in martial arts will say that the right kick can be more powerful than a hand strike.

Part of the reason taekwondo is being mentioned is that the style focuses on kicks more than anything else. Attackers know you’re going to fight back. They know you’re going to scratch or bite your way out of this attack, so they’re expecting this. They’re also expecting erratic punches and kicks, but without real power behind those strikes, the likelihood of you winning is low.

Most likely, you’ll tire yourself out before you’re able to do much damage. Taekwondo teaches you the element of surprise coupled with real power. It teaches you to throw a roundhouse kick to the liver; it’s the kind of strike that could leave someone breathless for some time.

It teaches you to kick the groin of your attacker so strongly that they might wonder if you’ve crushed their manhood. Taekwondo focuses on teaching you to use the element of surprise to deliver powerful and debilitating strikes to your opponent, and that’s what you need.


Everyone has heard of karate. It’s one of the most popular martial arts styles out there. It’s the reason people go to the movies or watch shows about martial arts. After its introduction to the world, it blew everyone’s minds and hasn’t stopped. All of this happened for reason. Karate is an impressive fighting style that could level the playing field between the attacker and victim when used correctly.

Some will tell you that taekwondo focuses too much on the legs, and that’s true. If you want to be powerful in other ways, then karate is for you. The style won’t focus too much on your legs but will spread the love a bit. The fighting style will turn each arm and leg into weapons during an attack. This is another style that attempts to teach you how to deliver explosive and powerful kicks and punches.

During an attack, you don’t have time to deliver a weak strike. You need to deliver something strong enough to disable your attacker so that you can run to safety. You should know that some karate styles are more effective than others, especially in the streets. Some styles are too formal, which probably won’t be good for you since you’re trying to learn self-defense techniques.

Explore karate styles that prioritize quickness, like Goju-Ryu and Kyokushin, just to name a few. Talk to your instructor, and tell them what you’re hoping for so that they can help you. They should be able to direct you to the karate fighting styles that will prove the most useful in the streets, but hopefully, you never have to use it. Karate is a popular fighting style, so you should find many instructors offering karate classes. Do your best to work with the person that best suits your needs.


You’ve probably heard of Jiu-Jitsu. While the style has a lot of flare, which makes it pretty cinematic, it’s also perfect for women who want to protect themselves. Sometimes, people attack others by surprise.

It’s definitely possible to use some of the techniques mentioned here to overcome a surprise attack, but this particular fighting style is perfect for those kinds of attacks. Jiu-Jitsu puts a lot of emphasis on fighting and overcoming grappling attacks.

These are times when your arms or body could be out of your control because the attacker has put you under his constraints using his strength and sometimes weight. If you study the practice of Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll notice that many of the attacks happen on the ground.

Somehow, the goal is to pull your opponent down to the ground, where you can deliver your strongest attacks. It may look great when Jiu-Jitsu experts are doing it, but when you’re attacked by someone, getting the attacker and yourself on the ground can put you in a compromising position if you fail.

It might be what the attacker wants, which puts you at risk.

If for some reason the attacker puts you on the ground, then Jiu-Jitsu can come in handy; it could become your last-ditch effort to defend yourself.

Perhaps this is the reason you should always consider pairing Jiu-Jitsu training with one of the other fighting styles mentioned here so that you’re better prepared. Of course, the hope should always be that you never have to use these skills.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai or kickboxing is one of the most brutal types of fighting styles out there. The kicks, the punches, the use of knees, and knuckles seem so brutal that the idea of women using them seems a little unorthodox. This isn’t true. While it might seem brutal when used correctly, anyone can use this to defend themselves.

When under attack, if you must be brutal, it’s one of the most empowering things you could do, and this fighting style allows you to do that. These ruthless attackers deserve a hit that reflects what you’re feeling in your heart.

At the moment of an attack, your heart is feeling overwhelmed and violated, so why not ensure your strikes reflect that? When attacked on the streets, the opponent isn’t going to go easy on you. They aren’t going to ‘pull their punches.’

When a self-defense teacher doesn’t acknowledge that reality, it’s the woman that loses. This fighting style may seem brutal. It may feel brutal, but at least it confronts the type of dangers women might face out in the real world. Muay Thai attempts to turn your body into a weapon. It helps you learn to use everything mentioned earlier and much more.

The fighting style teaches you to be powerful from afar but also if you happen to be close. It teaches you to be ready for any type of attack, and it teaches you to be brutal, if only for the short amount of time you need to be, because the goal should always be to debilitate long enough to run away.

Muay Thai relies on strength. This means women need to do their best to build theirs if want to learn this type of fighting style. It might feel strange to read that your goal is to run away after telling you that you can learn to be brutal, but the fact is that your attacker might not know how to fight like you, but their strikes might be too powerful. Be safe, strike, and do your best to get yourself somewhere safe.


Judo isn’t a popular fighting style, but it’s one of the oldest. The fighting style has been recorded throughout history for a long time, actually hundreds of years. This style teaches you to use grappling and throwing to your advantage. It teaches you to use momentum to destabilize the person attacking you.

Part of the reason this type of fighting style is so good for women who want to learn self defense is that it teaches you several effective techniques you can use in close quarters. The reality is that an assault usually occurs in close quarters. The attacker will attempt to find a way to pull you closer to him. Those long-range strikes might be great before you’re grabbed, but when you’re grabbed, you need to learn how to defend yourself in this new and terrifying position.

It’s a lot easier to throw a powerful kick or punch from afar but much harder when you’re close to your attacker. Judo will teach you to be effective, even in a scenario where your attacker is close to you. The close-range attacks you learn with Judo are useful for bigger opponents, which is great.

Women are usually smaller than men, so being able to learn a fighting technique that takes that into account is a big deal. Keep in mind that you have to practice a long time to master some of these techniques. Choosing to do this means committing to it fully so that you can say you’re ready if the situation ever arises.

The good thing is that this style has been around for so long that there are a lot of teachers out offering lessons. You can easily find an instructor that matches your specific needs, just like karate, because of its popularity. Look for an instructor with enough experience and comes highly recommended. Sadly, you can’t be that picky when looking for instructors of fighting styles that aren’t so popular. This fighting style has survived this long because of how effective it is, so choosing it isn’t a good idea.


MMA is a modern type of martial arts. It’s the one that everyone’s into because it’s pretty popular on TV. It may not be as big as boxing just yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t become that big at some point. A few movies have highlighted this style of fighting.

Some people may already be aware of this art, and if you are, then you probably know that it’s not just for men. Women can throw down with MMA and can become quite formidable.

You should know that MMA isn’t a specific style. It’s more of a hybrid. It is a sport that isn’t afraid to take a little of this and a little of that as long as the fighter can beat their opponent. All those fighting techniques mentioned earlier, and some that haven’t been mentioned, can be learned with MMA.

If you want to be the kind of fighter who learns from various fighting techniques, then this is for you. If you want to fight from afar, be an effective close-range fighter, or be a great fighter on the floor, then this is for you.

Learning so much is going to take you some time, so try to remember that. Some folks take ages mastering just one of these techniques, and MMA is asking you to master a number of them.

It’s virtually impossible to do all that, but you can get pretty good if you invest the time. If you’re taking MMA for self defense, be sure to say that so that your instructor helps you focus on techniques that’ll help you in a dangerous situation. You can learn some of the other techniques once you’ve mastered what’s important.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is one of the most deadly and powerful fighting styles out there; it’s a military combat-fighting style. The fighting style comes from the Israeli military, which tries its best to ensure every person in its army is ready to take on an opponent in hand-to-hand combat.

This is something they do because they don’t have an endless amount of weapons, like US armies. If they don’t have guns or bullets, they can still fight back, and it’s all because of Krav Maga.

The reason this particular fighting style is different is that it utilizes moves you probably don’t expect in other fighting styles, and that includes eye poking, groin strikes, throat strikes, and other types of strikes that could hurt your opponent. For most fighting styles, these moves are illegal and probably wouldn’t be taught. The thing is that defending yourself from an attack may involve various defending methods.

At that point, everything should be at your disposal, and if you must use some of these moves, you definitely should. You’re fighting for your freedom, your right to choose, and you’re fighting for your life, so if you must poke some eyes out, then that’s what you have to do.

Krav Maga wasn’t designed for the ring. It wasn’t created as a sport. It’s created to help folks survive a deadly situation. A woman under attack is in a lethal situation, making this the perfect fighting style. It’s going to be hard to find folks teaching Krav Maga, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find anyone. Look until you find someone who knows the style and can help you learn it.

As mentioned earlier, the reality is that it’s best to simply learn how to defend yourself using every technique so that you have all the tools you can use at your disposal. Hopefully, you never have to face an aggressor, but at least now you know you’re as prepared as you should be.

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