Author: Liam Resnekov
Which martial art is the best for self defence?
Do you want the short answer or the in-depth one?
The short answer:
Why? Because it’s very effective, easy to learn and can be used in a lethal AND non-lethal fashion (more on this later). Plus it’s so much fun, you are likely to continue to grow and develop.
The longer answer:
Every time there is violence in the news I get a dozen phone calls asking if we teach Krav Maga and how do they get started. In this case, I usually direct them to Boxing, MMA or Jiu Jitsu.
The reality is, if you live in Sydney, your martial arts skills will very rarely get put to the test in a lethal situation, instead it will be escorting drunk uncles from your Xmas BBQ, dealing with an aggressive Ex at a social function or the occasional angry drunk. If you are a female, the statistics for assault, particularly sexual assault, show that it’s overwhelmingly likely that the perpetrator will be somebody known to you, so non-lethal – control – skills are much more useful. As we grow up in a non-violent society, our willingness to utilise real violence in self defence if not instinctual, which is why Jiu Jitsu is so effective and intuitive for most people.
It’s highly unlikely if you are living a healthy lifestyle and your job isn’t security or law enforcement, that you will never face lethal violence in your lifetime. You will however have lots of times where you will need to stand your ground against people who don’t agree with your opinions and may use intimidation to try and enforce theirs. Jiu Jitsu gives you this confidence, fast.
Why not Boxing, Krav Maga or Muay Thai?
These are highly effective arts and absolutely contribute to having a proper self-defence toolbox. However, Jiu Jitsu builds confidence first through a highly effective system of controlling your opponent/attacker. Striking arts build on this to make a complete martial artist.
But what about weapons?
If your Jiu Jitsu program is authentic, basic weapon defences for blunt and sharp objects will be part of the program. Krav Maga has some excellent solutions for weapons too, but as most weapon defense skills involve learning to control the attackers limbs (and body) the base in grappling will make the Krav Maga skills much easier to learn and utilise.
But what about multiple attackers?
In this case, running is of course the best option. It’s not always an available option, so of course striking skills are a great way of dissuading people from trying their luck with you. The confidence that martial arts training gives people is often enough to make them look like a less likely victim.
Then there is the common criticism of Grappling based arts being ineffective against more than one person. There is validity in this argument, but even with striking skills from Boxing or Muay Thai, you will still need to AVOID going to the ground (or even more commonly, get back up from the ground); without this skillset, your vertical martial arts skills will quickly be rendered useless. So if you are convinced that you may be set on by more than one person, Krav Maga has some excellent solutions, as does MMA. But again, avoidance would be your first response.
Martial arts lifestyle is the best form of self defence; eating healthy, hanging out with positive people, staying away from drugs, bad crowds and not getting caught up in other people’s problems.
Jiu Jitsu is the easiest entry point if Self Defence is your main concern, then Krav Maga if it’s an ongoing threat to your existence. Most importantly, it’s important to realise that when most people discuss self defence, they are actually talking about WINNING a violent exchange, not actual self preservation; if you keep it in your mind that in any violent situation, going home is winning, the rest is best left for movies and the movies.
See you on the mats,
A Black Belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Karate, Pro MMA Athlete | Coach & Co-Founder of VT1mma Academy, Sydney