There are hundreds upon hundreds of martial arts that exist in the world.  Most of them are not well known, and while most of them can be practically used for self-defense, some are more practical than others. These 5 martial arts styles are perfect for teaching you what you need to know if you ever find yourself in a bad situation.

# 1 BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ, is excellent for self-defense due to the fact that size doesn’t matter. Among the founders of the system, one Helio Gracie was frail and small. Jealous of his bigger and stronger siblings’ fighting abilities, he sought out to develop his own fighting style that uses leverage over pure strength.  

Do not be deceived by the standard Gis worn by BJJ fighters- this isn’t one of those martial arts that was destined to remain in the gym. It’s a battle sport, and very beneficial when it comes to battling on the street. Although it focuses mainly on ground methods, you find out how to take an opponent to the ground using takedowns and trips.

You discover what to do if you end up on the ground. You learn a range of submissions and chokes. Armbars, neck chokes, and ankle-locks are only a few of the submissions taught to students.

You also learn how to get yourself out of bad situations by using sweeps and rolls. Through physics and leverage, you can turn a bad position into an advantage. Trapping the legs and arms of a challenger can put them off balance and move you from being pinned on the floor to being on top and in charge.

# 2 Judo

Judo is a full-body grappling based sport and martial art. In truth, combat always starts from a standing position. Very few fights stay that way.  Judo is a highly effective martial art and self-defense that subdues or removes the threat to your person not only through the similar techniques applied in BJJ, but by devastating throws too.  The only sure method to get a fight to the ground is through the use of takedowns and throws, and that’s where Judo dominates the field. Judo not just teaches one to handle a conflict from a standing position, judo also consists of controlling and pinning opponents. 

In addition to the devastating throws in Judo, you also learn techniques most commonly thought to be of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu origin, such as all variety of joint locks and choking techniques. These techniques were established in Judo before BJJ was formed. Judo is thought to be a more well rounded martial art since it focuses on stand-up fighting, grappling, throwing, subduing, pinning, and, if required, breaking bones and choking an opponent out. 

Judo is an aggressive sport that teaches you defense against all body styles, strong, weak, big, or small.  When applied properly Judo has the ability to protect you against any body type.  As such it has actually risen to popularity as an Olympic sport.  In addition to Tae Kwon Do, Judo is the only other martial art in the Olympics.  For a full body exercise and a terrific self defense for adults and children, Judo is an excellent choice.

# 3 Muay Thai Kickboxing

Another combat martial art, Muay Thai, is known as “The Art of Eight Limbs.” Using elbows, fists, knees, and legs, trainees find out how to strike a challenger. Unlike BJJ, it focuses more on standing strategies than ground techniques.

The striking methods taught in Muay Thai are devastatingly effective. All strikes start at the ground- even punches utilize power from the hips to generate more power. The roundhouse kick is considered one of the most powerful kicks of martial arts- you can use it to take out the legs of an attacker without letting him get too close.

Muay Thai is mainly about striking, although you do find out how to use some trips and tosses to knock an enemy to the ground. With the Thai clinch, you hold an opponent close and pound their face and head with a barrage of knee kicks. Properly used, what’s known as the Thai Plum can control the movement of an opponent, even if he is larger than you.

Sparring is one of the ways you can practice your skills, and it prepares you for what could occur on the street. You discover what it feels like to have somebody coming at you, and even learn what it feels like to take a punch. Injuries aren’t all that frequent due to the fact that trainees are taught to spar gently and with appropriate safety gear until they are better trained and prepared for full intensity.

Muay Thai can seem less of an intimidating martial art, because it’s fairly loosely structured, there is no formal uniform and (usually) no belt system. You can just start at the beginning and work you way up at your own pace. In addition to useful methods, you also get a sense of confidence– and that goes a long way to improving self-esteem and physical strength.

# 4 Krav Maga

Israel doesn’t mess around when it comes to fighting. That’s why you shouldn’t take Krav Maga gently– it was developed specifically for the Israeli armed forces. The creator of this type of combat based it upon lots of other martial arts techniques. He obtained strategies from jiu-jitsu, boxing, and other proven combat martial arts.

Eye gouging, foot stomps, and kicks to the groin are all practiced (and efficient) techniques. Unlike some martial arts that invest time teaching trainees how to get points in competitors, the only goal of Krav Maga is to safeguard yourself.

Weapons training is also emphasized in Krav Maga. You find out how to utilize anything in your environment as a weapon and how to safeguard against knives, guns, and other weapons that may be used against you. Krav Maga can help if you’re ever stuck in a bad circumstance.

# 5 for Self Defense MMA

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts— it’s a mix of numerous martial arts styles all integrated to form one difficult sport. If you want to find out a little about everything, it’s great. You can learn how to protect yourself on the ground, standing up, and you get useful experience.

A lot of MMA health clubs concentrate on BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, and Taekwondo. And though it borrows from other arts, it is its own sport as these obtained techniques come together as one.

In MMA you’ll find out techniques for taking down an opponent, standing up and striking, and submitting them on the ground. You never understand where a battle will happen, and this prepares you for anything. Training includes sparring, so you discover how to use the strategies in a more realistic scenario.

The only thing missing from MMA for self-defense is weapons training. Even without that, MMA is really useful for self-defense.

In the end, what kind of gym you select isn’t what matters most, but the self-confidence and abilities you’ll get from self-defense lessons that can genuinely make a substantial distinction. If you want high-level training with a proven and ongoing reputation of producing local, state, regional, and national champions, take a look at Tri-City Judo.