Best Martial Arts for Self Defense in the Streets
When choosing a martial art for self-defense, obviously, you want one that has practical application in the street and other situations in which real-life attacks occur. You want a system that takes into account a good range of scenarios and uses sound principles that are effective for keeping you safe from harm and that could save you in a real situation.
At the same time it is important to realize that no martial art is magic. It depends on how you apply your art and how well you train. Consistent training is important for burning technique into muscle memory and neural-pathways of the brain so that the moves become second-nature and so you are so used to doing them that you can execute them with speed and power. The way you train is the way the techniques will be executed. Know that from the outset.
Certain martial arts are particularly practical for self-defense and street application, taking into account scientific and logical principles of power generation and consideration related to what will actually work against a lively and resistant attacker. Simply put, you need something that will effectively deter and stop an attacker. More often than not, this means grabbing the adversary and/or using strikes and other immobilizing technique that totally cancels him and his attack.
I would like to note, also, that when dealing with multiple opponents, striking arts are the most efficient because time is scarce in such a situation and you need all of your weapons available readily when dealing with more than one person wanting to do you harm. An effective self-defense system must, at least, make use of some striking.
So, let's explore the most effective martial arts for street self-defense.
Kenpo Karate is a system of martial arts that applies scientific principles of motion and physics in addition to using common sense and logic. It is the study of what kind of natural laws and motion generate enough power in strikes to deter or stop an attacker from doing you harm. It also considers the angles and positions needed to execute these techniques effectively and how to check the opponent with use of grappling, control of the attacker's body and use of the position of yourself and the adversary to stop attacks.
Kenpo takes into account the myriad of real attacks that occur in the street and students are encouraged to examine the various possibilities in dealing with and stopping these attacks. Kenpo is designed for self-defense and the street.
Dan Zan Ryu includes:
- Japanese Jiu Jitsu
- Okinawan Karate
- Chinese Kung Fu
- Filipino Knife Fighting
Dan Zan Ryu Jiu Jitsu
Dan Zan Ryu was developed in Hawaii, as did Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate, by Professor Henry Okasaki. Many of the arts in Hawaii developed in an environment in which there was an exchange of information between the arts, even resulting in hybrid arts like Kajukenbo, which is a combination of boxing, Jiu Jitsu and Kenpo. I have personally known practitioners of Dan Zan Ryu who, while primarily grapplers, were skilled strikers too. Like Kenpo, Dan Zan Ryu breeds real fighters that use whatever is necessary. It's foundation is in Jiu Jitsu, grappling, and its techniques are very effective. But it's not unusual to see a Dan Zan Ryu fighter applying strikes. In fact, Dan Zan Ryu has elements of Karate, Kung Fu and Filipino knife fighting.
For this reason, generally, I consider this art to be street-effective because it encompasses more than a narrow field of knowledge and artists from this system understand the value of both grappling and striking techniques.
Which martial arts would you prefer for self-defense?
Boxing and Kickboxing
Boxing technique is efficient and strong. It is fast and makes use of effective body mechanics for generating power behind punches. It also makes use of multiple angles of attacking and defending. Simply put, people have been using boxing to defend themselves for many, many years.
Add kicks to those boxing techniques and you really will bewilder an attacker.
Training for speed and power is the essence of boxing, with rapid punches that use body weight and torque to knock out the opponent. Adding a vicious Muay Thai kick to the thigh nerve can only help your self-defense endeavors.
Boxing and Kickboxing also make good use of movement for defense. After all, the best defense is to not have the target available to be hit; making use of head and body movement to avoid getting hit is a boxing stand-by and very effective. You have to keep moving in a real self-defense situation.
Eskrima and the Filipino Martial Arts
Filipino martial arts, like Eskrima, are good for understanding the use of weapons. Many of these arts are rooted in the use of blades and sticks and translating the movement of those weapons into empty-handed self-defense techniques. In addition, the arts emphasize making use of what's available in the environment, making use of pipes and hair-brushes, if need be, to defend yourself. The Filipino arts are based in being open enough to understand that techniques can be translated across the board, whether you are using a stick, empty-hand or a soda bottle.
Eskrima encompasses a wide range of arts, including grappling, striking and weapons. If you study Eskrima you will get in-depth knowledge of disarms and use of weapons, knowledge which is very necessary when it comes to street self-defense.
Like Kenpo, the Filipino arts make use of checking (stopping or preventing the attacker's movement by grabbing him or positioning him or yourself so you can't be hit), angles and keeping yourself out of range of attack while putting yourself in a position to attack and defend yourself. It makes use of very logical and practical principles of self-defense.
Canete Showing Locks, Throws and Disarms
So, there you have it. These are the martial arts that emphasize power, control of the opponent, practical considerations for the street and logic and common sense. They are arts that are effective for street self-defense and real fighting.