What is the best self - defense martial art for the street?

What is the best self-defense martial art for the street?
What is the best self-defense martial art for the street?

1. Introduction

Martial arts is a structure-designed system that also depicts the traditional origin. It is taken by an individual as a hobby. It enhances the learning capabilities of an individual, to become a disciplined person. Martial arts improve mental and physical health, and more importantly, they increase fighting capabilities. Martial arts are majorly created for self-defense. With time, it has been transformed or turned into a sport.

Martial arts can be divided into two main categories: armed and the second is unarmed arts. The former includes the need for any weapon as the name indicates, and the latter involves the usage of hands and feet. The armed art has been originated in Japan, that involved the training of warriors with archery, spearmanship, and swordsmanship. On the other hand, unarmed martial arts originated in China, which emphasizes grappling or striking with hands and feet.

The significant constituent of any martial art is self-defense. However, it has taken the shape of sports with the efforts of great fighters, the top combats are honored with the medals and titles after the competition. Combat sports are practiced due to a number of factors that include: military and law enforcement, self-defense, mental, physical, and spiritual development, and for the preservation of the heritage and as per the individual interest. 

2. 10 Best Defensive Martial Arts For Street Fight

In this era martial arts is taken as an activity in leisure time, that helps to improve not only your fighting capabilities but also improves your lifestyle through many aspects. The various styles of martial arts emphasize the practical techniques that help the individual to defend themselves in real-life disputes or conflicts. In addition, more people are getting interested in learning martial arts, depending on personal inclinations.

The people frequently inquire about the best martial arts, to enhance their life defense skills and to stay safe around the streets. Each of the martial arts has its advantages and drawbacks, especially in the street fight context. Most of the combat arts would work in an octagon and may not be the best option when it is applied without rules. The martial arts is considered best on the basis of its practical application for fighting scenarios. Down below you can examine each of the martial arts. Some of them include the potential problem or implication issues in the personal situational space.

This article will help you to choose the most effective self-defense martial arts that works best on the streets. 

2.1. Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed martial art as the name suggests is based on the combination of combat sport. It is based on striking, grappling, and ground fighting. Mixed martial arts incorporates the various techniques and methods from a variety of combat sports. It does not have its own technicalities, as it is a combination of other martial arts. However, it is considered to be the most effective combination of self-defense that can be easily implicated in street fighting scenarios.

An MMA fighter demonstrates the chokes of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, uses the punches of a boxer and kicks of karate. Moreover, it is considered to be the best choice for self-defense, as it covers the bases of all major combat sports. Indeed it is a great approach to win a street fight with a balanced combination of skill sets. MMA depicts the philosophy of the ancient roots present in various cultures.

As indicated before mixed martial arts prioritize the effective techniques that can be easily utilized for street fights. MMA excels in this regard, over the tenure of thirty years, it has worked on the effectiveness of the techniques. Mixed martial arts will surely train you to handle any situation. The martial arts will equip you with the essential and operative street fighting methodologies.

Let us discuss some of the pros and cons of mixed martial arts:


  • It is a comprehensive and the most effective martial art.
  • It is extremely adaptable in every situation.
  • It works better in a realistic training environment.
  • It involves the use of various techniques.
  • It is not limited to the use of fists.
  • It promotes dedication and passion.


  • The intensity of techniques increases the risk of injury.
  • The injuries can have a long-term impact on health.
  • The opponent might go through chronic pain.
  • It can lead to severe joint damage
  • In some cases, the dislocation of the spine is also seen.

2.2. Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a highly effective art for self-defense, it has a specified skill set that is used in high-stress situations. This art improves the development of an individual, helps to build self-esteem, improves awareness, and enhances physical and mental well-being. It is a modern martial art as compared to the other styles. It is most effective in dealing with real-life scenarios. Krav Maga is considered an effective martial art and can be taken as a personal defense system.

In 1930, Imi Lichtenfeld was seeking a way to defend the Jewish people from anti-Semitic groups. In addition, he wanted to protect his community from the ruffians. For that purpose, he arranged a group of young individuals to reconnoiter the neighborhood. He figured out that the competition-level martial art is not effective in the real street battle. Lichtenfeild has designed self-defense techniques that are simple and effective at the same time. It employs the basic principle of defense and attack with redirected force. The martial art of Krav Maga emphasizes the sensitive areas, and pressure points on the body, so you can target the assailant effectively.

Krav Maga is the most compelling art, adopted by the Israeli Defensive Forces. The structure of the art is quite practical and can be grasped by the people of each age group. Krav Maga is specially designed to scatter the attacker at once and allows you to escape from the situation. Regardless, of the size and the strength of the fighter Krav Maga focuses on the momentum of the strikes and throws.

Unlike many martial arts, Krav Maga focuses on conditioning and strength. It is the only art that was designed to deal with real-life situations. It teaches valuable mental preparation lessons, that will help to avoid a rapid attack while staying calm for the next move. 


  • It is designed to face real-world situations.
  • Some of its techniques are illegal in sports gyms.
  • It puts the emphasis on self-protection.


  • It is a difficult skill to acquire.
  • It is a costly training.
  • Some of the skill set is considered unfit to employ in a community.

2.3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the third most effective martial art in the world. It has been designed for self-defense and is considered the most effective and popular art. Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches us a wide variety of submission and grappling techniques that include chokes and joint locks. It places less emphasis on the throws and takedowns that are used in the martial arts of Judo and wrestling.

When choosing the defensive art style for self-protection BJJ provides you with a wide range of techniques that a fighter can use without causing permanent damage to the opponent. The other martial arts come with a wide range of striking skills that can cause permanent physical injuries as well as brain damage.

However, Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches the methods and techniques that can keep you safe in an intense situation. You can employ the method of real neck choke and can easily neutralize your opponent to sleep. It comes with the major advantage that the fighter will stay safe without causing any permanent damage.

The art of Jiu-jitsu is extremely effective and applicable in the street fight scenario when you have to face only one person in front of you. Keep it in your concentration that there will be a gap for an individual who only learns the defensive approach of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. One of the major advantages of this martial art is that it teaches you the techniques that can make you capable of easily putting down a larger opponent.

BJJ is the advanced submission art that teaches you the method that gives a brief knowledge of ground fighting. The choking techniques in BJJ are exceptional, that can be used against multiple attackers. But there is a hindrance in the fighting scenario when a lot of people occupy you. You can also go through a lot of videos on the internet showing the effectiveness of BJJ in street fights. 


  • It is an art of exceptional ground fighting and submissions.
  • It is designed to beat a more massive opponent.
  • These techniques do not cause permanent damage.
  • It can be trained every day.
  • It allows muscle growth and keeps the body in shape.


  • It lacks the methods of striking.
  • It is not suitable to deal with multiple attackers.
  • Specific techniques cannot be used on the streets.

2.4. Muay Thai

The martial arts of Muay Thai come with the best fundamentals of striking. In this way, it makes Muay Thai the best choice for self-protection outside the ring. Its most effective fighting styles and variations include punches, kicks, and the use of elbows and knees during a fight. It signifies that you will be capable of hitting your opponent with multiple variations and with the use of different body parts.

Another aspect that makes this art the most effective and applicable is that it teaches the clinch work and trips. The other striking martial arts do not work on these skill sets. It generates multiple variations compared to the other striking arts. It teaches clinch work and trips that can be squared off multiple attackers at the same time. Muay Thai facilitates you with the long-range as well as close-quarters methods. 


  • It is the most powerful striking technique.
  • It improves the striking bases and develops the skill of clinch work.
  • In the other martial arts, there is less focus on striking methods.


  • It puts less focus on the self-defense.
  • It does not teach grappling techniques.
  • Some of the techniques will only work inside.

2.5. Wrestling

Wrestling is a martial art that includes the grappling method with the variation of throws and takedowns. It is the foundation of many fighting styles and works as an effective self-defense technique. It has the advantage of ending the street fight rapidly, with the use of brutal clams and takedowns. The wrestlers are known for their athleticism, conditioning, and explosiveness.

Moreover, the wrestlers have a great knowledge to use the leverage for takedown. On the hard surface of the streets, the wrestler can instantly put the assailant with a takedown. The wrestlers have an increased risk of getting hurt or injured, and certain techniques like suplexes are not considered the right choice for the street fight. The technique that works better is high-crotch takedown; in which the wrestler lifts the opponent and dumps him down rapidly. It has a limited tendency against multiple attackers. A wrestler goes extremely well against the untrained attacker or a jiu-jitsu player or judoka. The biggest disadvantage of wrestling is that it has fewer striking skills.


  • It puts a strong emphasis on grappling techniques.
  • It is the best for the conditioning and strength.
  • It is the most effective method in close-quarters combat.


  • It has no striking techniques.
  • It has a limited approach over multiple attackers.
  • Certain methods and tendencies of wrestlers are not suitable for street fighting.

2.6. Boxing

Boxing is also considered the most effective form of street fighting. It can be easily implemented in self-defense situations, as it emphasizes pure striking skills with the use of footwork and extreme punches. It is quite evident that the punches go well and are always considered a better choice for the street fighter.

There is an old saying of boxers that ‘’ hit and don't get a hit’’. It is great advice for the individual who is being surrounded by the fighting alley. Boxing enhances the punching power of an athlete, the boxers build the capacity to finish the fight quickly by targeting and hitting the crucial areas of the opponent. They have the tendency to move quickly with the quick movement of the footwork and avoid being hurt. It is an extremely effective defense art that can be used on multiple fighters at the same time. Additionally, it creates a large emphasis on defense, a quick jab-right cross can make the aggressor astound at once.

The major drawback of boxing is that, it is not related to ground fighting. The boxers will face difficulty in dealing with the jiu-jitsu players and the wrestlers. The other major concern is the use of the types of equipment, that is gloves and head protectors, it is something that is not available on the streets. Without being equipped with the safety measures the boxers might suffer from hand injury or even fracture.

Another major concern is the use of massive punches on the person who is far away from the martial arts. They can be knocked out in a way that gives them lifetime damage or even go to a permanent sleep.

Nevertheless, boxing is the most efficient martial art in real-life situations. It goes very well with the other martial arts techniques, a boxer with effective striking techniques, judo, jiu-jitsu, or wrestling, will be fully equipped to do well in street fights. 


  • The boxer puts the emphasis on the extreme defense.
  • It is an excellent cardiovascular training program.
  • It is a system of exceptional punches and footwork.


  • It has a lack of ground fighting.
  • This combat sport can cause severe brain injury.
  • It requires a lot of hard work.
  • You need to use the essential types of equipment.

2.7. Judo

Judo originated in Japan by the Jigoro Kano, this martial art is considered the first official martial art of Japan. Jigoro Kano reached the international level with the promotion of Judo in formal martial arts teaching centers. This art keeps the concentration on the locks, throws, sweeps, and everything related to grappling.

The martial art of judo known as the gentle art, its aim is to put the opponent down to the ground with the use of submission giving them a choke or a joint lock. It has a similarity with the origin of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Japanese jiu-jitsu. Judo is very effective as some of the top MMA contenders have a background in Judo.

The art of Judo is unidimensional, which works as its biggest asset and also acts as a disadvantage. Grappling is the fundamental base of the fighting, in which the fighter uses the arms and hands to grab the opponent, the striking is not involved in it.

Judo will work best in street fights, against untrained strikers or aggressors. You can also deal with the opponent's hits with the quick movement of your feet. Like other martial arts, judo doesn't deal with striking. It gives a quick and well-balanced approach to react actively in street fighting scenarios.

It is a considerable fact that the martial art of judo is taken as a sport and in various gyms it is being used. It is one of the martial arts that comes on the list to be the most effective against many attackers at the same time. It provides an emphasis on balancing art while attacking the offender. With a quick succession, you can slam or trip a number of adversities. Balance is known as a well-trained judoka. It is the quality that doesn't compress in any other martial arts athlete.

One of the biggest advantages of Judo martial arts is that with the increase in the balancing capacity the fighter can stay firm on his feet. It will enable the fighter to slam down the massive opponent. 


  • It has great throws and grappling techniques.
  • It emphasizes the off-balancing opponents.
  • It helps to build agility and coordination.
  • It boosts the self-esteem and builds confidence.


  • It has no striking techniques.
  • It provides limited ground control as compared to the other martial arts.
  • It carries a rule set that has a lesser tendency to act as a street fight.
  • The throws and takedown can induce severe injury.

2.8. Karate

Karate is several hundred years old and remains popular even today. It seems appealing and has become a part of several movies, which increases its emphasis. Karate helps to improve body posture, breathing, and heart health and increases coordination. In addition, it teaches mindfulness and matches perfectly with the lifestyle. Karate comes with a wide range of kicks, throws, and punches.

As a primarily striking skill set, karate is not based on grappling techniques or groundwork. It will work effectively in a standing fight, but if your opponent puts you down then karate will surely equip you with better techniques. The biggest downside of karate is that self-defense is not prioritized in it. You need to adjust the methods of self-defense and keep practicing it on your own. Purely training in the art of karate will make you an effective point fighter but you need to adjust the techniques in real fighting scenarios.


  • It has effective striking techniques.
  • It has excellent distance management.
  • The fighter can skip quickly.


  • There is the least focus on self-defense
  • It is taken as a sport.
  • It has limited groundwork.
  • Certain techniques work only in the gym.
  • It poses the risk of injury.

2.9. Combat Sambo

Combat Sambo originated in the early 1920s, it is a Russian martial art that was designed to train the Red Army. It improves hand-to-hand skills, teaching a variety of grappling, wrestling, and striking techniques. This art has taken the shape of national sports in Russia.

Sambo is the grappling combat art that is inspired by judo. Plenty of the sambists are at the peak of MMA. Let us figure out how the Sambo practitioners are able to dominate themself in a fighting cage. Sambo fighters learn a variety of skills that increase their control over their opponent. The fighters of the combat sambo learn judo throws, freestyle wrestling takedowns, and as well as Greco-roman. They spend most of the hours in grappling, attacking, and submissions on the ground. They learn the techniques of armbar, leglocks and kimuras that incorporate almost all aspects of basic grappling.

Combat sambo provides variations in the methods of ground fighting and on feet. Sambo has increased its popularity due to the success of the UFC contenders; Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov. In this way, it becomes the closest combat art for real fighting scenarios. Sambo closely resembles the MMA. Sambo provides an excellent base for street fighting as it covers all of the fundamentals. It teaches punches, kicks, knee submissions, and takedowns. In such a manner, it becomes the best choice for self-defense and street fighting.

It also carries some of the drawbacks due to its less availability outside Russia. It is often used to set up grappling techniques. Majorly, it has a sports element in it, that makes it useable in most of the gyms. Sombo has a rule set that may not translate into a direct street fight. The fighters of the Sambo are the most fearless ones on the ground, they have exceptional throws and takedowns. They can also control the attacks on the ground. Some rulesets make this art hard for the fighters as it was originally designed for military training. 


  • It teaches both striking and grappling techniques.
  • It makes you capable of dealing with combat scenarios.
  • It is quite effective in close quarters and at a distance.


  • Schools are only available in Russia.
  • Regulations might not apply in a street fight.
  • It usually prefers grappling over striking.

2.10. Taekwondo

Taekwondo has grown in popularity in the last few years, it is a single word in Korean. “Tae’’ means “Foot” or “Leg’’ or “To walk on” whereas Kwon means ‘’Fist” or “Battle’’ and last “Do” means “Discipline”. When we combine these three elements, we can demonstrate the critical concepts underlying taekwondo. The enlightening application of the words “Tae” and “Kwon” signifies the best use of fists and feet in a disciplined situation. It is the proper manner to apply the best techniques to stop the fight and help to contribute in making the world more peaceful.

The art of Taekwondo focuses on speed and accuracy, the main weapon is the use of legs to hit the body and head. In Taekwondo you have to deal with the art of blows and throws. It has the effective method of landing devastating head kicks with various methods, it acts as the primary weapon in Taekwondo. Only a single head kick can easily knock out the advancing attacker, and give you the space to escape. It teaches dynamic kicking and punching drills, core strengthening exercises, and stretches. Practicing the detailed defense and assault motion can benefit you to gain strength and stamina.

Taekwondo athletes possess high peak anaerobic power and flexibility, it provides high dynamic upper and lower body endurance. The study was conducted in 2014 which shows that Taekwondo is a sports medicine. Taekwondo can be effective in street fighting, but it is significant to understand that it is not designed for street fighting purposes. Taekwondo will not provide the same level of protection as other martial arts such as jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. Taekwondo includes the methods of evading and defending the attacks. 


  • It includes the dynamic kicking and punching methods.
  • It has detailed defense and assault patterns.
  • It increases the mobility of an athlete.
  • The athletes possess high anaerobic power.


  • It can cause severe head injury.
  • In Taekwondo bruising is prevalent.
  • The combat in the close quarters is tough.

3. Final Thoughts

Above all else, avoidance and awareness are great techniques for the street fight. The best way is to avoid the indulgence in a street fight. MMA is considered the most effective martial art for street fights. It will always keep you well-equipped to deal with every situation. In addition, any martial arts can be effective over the untrained opponent.

It has been suggested to train yourself as per your interest. The martial art that you will pursue will enhance your fundamentals, after that you can consider the other art to act as a supplement. For instance, jiu-jitsu is the art of grappling which acts as a core to enhance the skill set of an individual.

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