The Best Martial Art to Choose

choosing the right martial art for you

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Choosing which martial art that you would like to practice is best when you understand the pros and cons of each one. You may be bored of the same old gym routine and want to change it up. Or you may want to find a new sport for your kids to partake in, whatever it is, this is a great journey to embark on. We believe that it is a great choice. Frankly, there are too many martial arts to choose from so we selected a list of more common ones to break down. We will try our best to be objective here but understand we have a bias since this is a blog about jiu-jitsu and the life-changing benefits one experiences when deciding to do this. There are so many martial arts to choose from it would be hard to go through each one individually. The most important factor to consider when choosing a martial art is finding out what you are actually looking to experience and understanding what you want to get out of the training

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu are both forms of grappling. This is mainly groundwork techniques and positioning. In Jiu-Jitsu you work on submissions, chokes, and joint locks. This sport is very good for being able to de-escalate situations, learning how to submit attackers, or control attackers as you get to the ground.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ, is a modern form of grappling derived from the traditional Japanese discipline, “Ju-Jutsu,” and refined by the Gracie family in Brazil. Gaining its popularity in the 1990s through the creation of the UFC, BJJ is often taught as a competitive sport but has many advantages for self-defense.

martial art for self defense - best martial art

BJJ foundations emphasize gaining control of your opponent, isolating the part of the body you want to attack, and attacking with a joint lock (resulting in a bone break or tendon/ligament tear) or a choke (cutting off the blood supply to the brain, resulting in your opponent to pass out).

Jiu-Jitsu lacks in its ability to teach practitioners a strong stand-up game with takedowns or striking but these can be easily learned through the course of your journey.

In traditional BJJ, practitioners typically wear a gi, a conventional uniform consisting of a thick cotton jacket, drawstring pants, and a tie-around belt (differentiated by color to express rank). Practitioners then will learn how to use the gi to their advantage by grabbing it in different specified places.

Depending on what your attacker may be wearing, this can be an advantage or disadvantage in self-defense scenarios. If they are wearing a jacket and pants, you have an advantage because it is similar to a gi; however, if they are not wearing something similar to the gi, you may not be able to use all the techniques learned in a BJJ class. This is why “nogi” jiu-jitsu has since been created.

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Nogi jiu-jitsu uses many of the same techniques as traditional BJJ but has been adapted to eliminate the use of your opponent’s clothes. Therefore, in a street setting, you wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not your attacker has on a jacket. BJJ does not involve striking, so many consider that a disadvantage for self-defense.

However, BJJ is a close-contact martial art designed to eliminate the need for strikes, so if you can get onto the ground or in a close enough position to avoid any possible strike attacks from your opponent, BJJ is a perfect option for self-defense. 

  • Pros of Jiu-Jitsu:

    • Live rounds and simulated fighting (very important)

    • 1 on 1 sport with lots of opportunities to compete

    • Do not get punched in the face

    • Self-defense and Ground techniques

    • The likelihood of getting hurt is low with good partners

    • Lifestyle changes. Dieting and cardio are at

    • Philosophies in the sport are very applicable to life

  • Cons of Jiu-Jitsu:

    • Lacking takedown practice

    • No kicking practice

    • No Striking Practice

    • Increase in amounts of laundry

Boxing/Kick Boxing/MMA/Muay Thai

We started our journey into martial arts through boxing and believe that it is an excellent way to exercise, boost stamina, and increase confidence. The only issue we had with boxing was that we did not want to get hit in face (at this time in our life) and we did not get very many live practices to put our skills on the line.

Overall, if you plan on competing you can’t go wrong with any of these. They will all turn you into a machine. At the end of the day the UFC/MMA requires you to have a stand-up game and if you were to ever find yourself in a real-life situation the stand-up game is the first thing you would have to go to.

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Muay Thai (Kick Boxing)

Muay-Thai is an older martial art that originated in Thailand many centuries ago. Muay-thai is a striking-based martial art that emphasizes punching, kicking, knee, and elbow strikes. Similar to boxing, muay-thai teaches practitioners how to deliver speedy and powerful attacks while simultaneously defending from their opponent’s strikes.

Due to the powerful nature of muay-thai training, practitioners will gain a strong base of conditioning and endurance, which can help practitioners withstand physical stress in a fight. Since muay-thai is designed as more of a sport, some of the learned techniques may not be practical in street fighting due to their flashy nature.

self defense - boxing and muay thai

Boxing

Boxing is one of the oldest known martial arts, dating back to 688 BCE when it was accepted formally in the 23rd Olympiad. With a primary focus on punching techniques and footwork, boxing teaches practitioners to deliver powerful punches with precision and accuracy while also avoiding incoming attacks.

Boxing is an excellent option for self-defense because of its versatility. When you learn boxing techniques, you can use them in any order or form, making judgments based on your opponent’s moves instead of being restricted to specific movements due to choreographed techniques.

  • Pros:

    • Stand-up fighting – good for street situations

    • Great exercise & Stress relief

    • Effective punching and Kicking Techniques

    • Tons of places to train

    • Will force you to change up eating habits

    • Cardiovascular health becomes top-tier

  • Cons:

    • Punched in the face

    • Not very many sparring opportunities unless competing

    • More simulated then live practice

Krav Maga

Krav Maga was created for the Israeli military as a practical and effective martial art focusing on real-life situations. The easy-to-learn techniques and emphasis on practicality make it the most ideal martial art for self-defense.

Practitioners learn to be constantly aware of their surroundings and use everyday objects as weapons to escape their attackers. Even something as simple as a dollar bill can be used as a weapon and possibly be life-saving.

A downside of Krav Maga for self-defense and street fighting is that there typically isn’t any sparring. Sparring is pertinent to self-defense training and street fights because it is the closest thing to a ‘live’ situation and the only way to truly prepare for a real-life situation. Krav Maga is also known to create false confidence, which could result in serious injury.

Practitioners will learn hand-to-weapon techniques like disarming a gun or knife, which may not be the best response in every self-defense or street fight scenario. 

  • Pros:

    • excellent for stand-up game

    • all about wrist control, stand-up punching, and using pressure points

  • Cons:

    • many different trainers with different ways of training

    • Injury (Train smart with partners you trust)

krav maga choosing a martial art

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) The Best Martial Art

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that uses striking and grappling techniques from various other martial arts and combat sports.

We believe that from a general standpoint, a fighter should be well-rounded and able to master or at least be very competent in many forms of fighting. Then consider yourself a good fighter you have to be both good at stand-up and have a good ground game. Grappling skills and strikes are an integral part of being a well-rounded martial artist. Embracing different disciplines only adds to your skill level.

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Its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece’s combat sport of pankration and various traditional martial arts worldwide. However, modern MMA began in the United States in the 1990s with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a promotion that aimed to determine the most effective martial art for unarmed combat. MMA quickly gained popularity due to its thrilling and intense fights, showcasing the effectiveness of martial arts and combat sports against one another. 

MMA is a broad term that can technically involve any type of blended martial arts; however, MMA typically is one fighting style that consists of boxing, kickboxing, judo, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. It takes all of the most effective and practical techniques from these fighting disciplines and teaches practitioners how to adapt to every situation.

Since MMA is a blend of other arts of martial arts, close-quartered and range fighting, so it is easily considered the best form of self-defense, despite its prominent popularity in sports. Some may argue that street fighting is massively different than fighting in the cage, which is true due to the rules in the cage.

Still, any experienced fighter or practitioner can adapt to a street fight or self-defense scenario. The only drawback is that MMA may not adequately prepare practitioners for scenarios involving more than one attacker or weapons.

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The Approach For Self Defence: Why is it Good?

Several martial arts will claim that they have a combat system that is guaranteed to work on all people and we will not be one of those people who spew that kind of message. Nothing is really guaranteed to be 100% effective but we want to give you the best chance.

When you approach the idea of training a martial art for self-defense you need to understand that the only way you are going to be able to apply what you are learning is if you expose yourself to enough situations that it becomes second nature. It is great to know all the little techniques and pressure points that some martial arts will teach you but when your adrenaline is pumping at 1 million miles per hour and you have someone who is resisting with bad intentions they may not be your saving grace.

You need to expose yourself to live sparring sessions to build up that comfort level.

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Which martial art is best for real-life situations?

The best martial arts in real-life situations are ones that continue to give you live sparring sessions and get you accustomed to going against a resisting opponent. The only martial art that we know of that allows you to get this kind of training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

The sports are both pretty easy on the body in the fact that you are not getting hit in the face while training so it makes it easier to go all out in your practices and get used to fighting.

What fighting style is most useful in a street fight?

The best martial art that you can train for street fighting would have to be a tie between boxing (kickboxing) and grappling-based martial art like Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, or judo. It should be noted that street fighting techniques are much different than what you will experience when you are sport fighting like you are in these martial arts.

You should have both a good stand-up game and a good understanding of how to take people to the ground and control a situation. For that reason, we believe that striking techniques learned in boxing and groundwork learned in a grappling-based martial art will make you an all-around better street fighter.

So, What martial art is Best for Self Defence?

Krav Maga is ideally suited to self-protection situations since it is made just in such a manner. You are trained to target vulnerable vulnerabilities in attackers. Eye gouging, foot stomping and kicking in a leg are common and effective methods that can be applied in a self-defense scenario.

The biggest issue we have with just training krav maga is the fact that going live and getting to train against a resisting opponent is just not something you get exposed to very often. If you do not want to get in the face just for the sake of getting this much-needed experience we believe that you could not go wrong with choosing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other grappling-based martial arts as being crowned the best martial art you could choose.

When comparing martial arts and deciding which one to choose it is important to ask yourself what you want out of the exercise to begin with. Each one has its pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of which one you go with you will get a great new way to exercise, increase your confidence, learn to be more disciplined, and change your lifestyle. Krav maga, boxing, kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are in a league of their own and are deemed the most effective martial arts for self-defense.

We actively practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu with plans on implementing striking back into our game at some point, whether that is kickboxing, MMA, or Muay Thai has yet to be decided. We will keep you posted on when that happens! 

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