Martial Arts Styles for Self Defense

Elvis Elvis

When considering choosing martial arts styles for self defense, you should ask yourself two main questions: “Are the techniques I will learn effective for self defense?” and, “Will the techniques that I learn be effective against multiple attackers?” All martial arts styles have techniques that are designed for defense against a single attacker, but certain systems also teach fundamentals which aid in defending yourself against multiple assailants.

My personal opinion is that if you’re going to take the time to study martial arts for self defense you’re going to want to study techniques that will be the most effective in the worst possible scenarios. Since you really don’t know what scenario you may encounter, it is best to be trained and prepared for anything.

That being said, any technique, in the hands of a skilled practitioner, can be an effective self defense tool. In this day and age of much publicized mix martial arts competitions, many people are of the opinion that certain martial arts would never be good for self defense because they wouldn’t be successful in a competition setting. This is a foolish statement; however, because the rules that are present in a mixed martial arts competition are nowhere to be found in a true life and death self defense situation.

A quick jab to the eyes or throat can be very effective in stopping an assailant, but these techniques would get you disqualified in the ring. Self defense is about survival and mixed martial arts competitions, no matter what the announcers may say, are not. Also, knowing that your are going to be fighting someone is a lot different than being attacked without warning.

Martial Arts Styles for Self Defense

Another thing to think about is the concept of hard and soft styles of martial arts. Hard styles generally use techniques that are linear, crisp, and are designed to deliver power in a straight line. Soft styles use techniques that are circular, flowing, and are intended to deflect the power instead of meeting it head on. Hard styles typically deal with a target that is in front of or behind the defender while soft styles tend to be able to deal with attackers that are in various positions around the defender. A soft style’s ability to flow from one movement to another in a smooth motion lends itself to be a better candidate for self defense against multiple assailants.

Some common examples of hard martial arts styles are Shotokan Karate and Tae Kwon Do which employ most techniques on a linear or straight power path. General examples of soft styles are some forms of Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Aikido, and, Jujitsu. As you research the martial arts, you will find that not all sub-styles within a family of martial arts are hard or soft. The techniques vary based on the influences of the grandmasters that develeoped them. For example, it is inaccurate to think that all forms of Kung Fu are hard or soft. Kung Fu is so diverse in it’s form and function that you will find both hard and soft elements in its family.

Generally, a well rounded martial art that contains a balanced mix of punches, kicks, throws, joint locks, and grappling(groundwork) is going to best prepare you for the most situations. This type of art gives a good base or knowledge for all around trainingand martial arts that mix hard and soft elements give the pratictioner a wider set of tools for use.