BJJ Fighters

Art of Survival: Best Mixed Martial Arts to Learn for Self Defense

Whether it’s ourselves, our loved ones or people in our close proximity, our knowledge of self-defense can come in handy for more than just us. That’s why it’s crucial to know a thing or two about self-defense.  

We all know that when it comes to fighting, there is a large variety of styles and while none are better or lesser than the others, it all comes down to what’s being taught and how it’s being practiced. We all know of mixed martial arts. But who is teaching and what is being taught will determine how well off a learner is in such a teaching environment.  

At any good self-defense class, the first two things you’ll learn will be conflict de-escalation and situational awareness. Combined together, these two form the basis of a simple concept, knowing when and when not to engage in a conflict and knowing how to deescalate a situation to avoid a conflict.  

After that, you can start focusing on conflict situations in which you’re likely to engage in a physical altercation. Here, we can start looking at statistical facts that state that the majority of the altercations that erupt in the ‘streets’ are in a standing position.  

However, it’d be wrong to assume that majority of the fights end with one opponent standing over the other after exchanging a few strikes. Almost every other fight eventually takes to the ground where grappling skills and technique decide who’ll attain the dominant position and apply a submission or a beating.  

Since it’s impossible to refute the above analogies about how physical altercations play out, let’s dive into how we can prepare ourselves for both situations, i.e. fighting while standing and fighting while on the ground.  

Striking and Grappling Martial Arts 

We all know of Karate, boxing and other martial arts that focus on striking with our limbs like Muay Thai, Tae Kwan Do, etc. Although some may have heard of Judo, not a lot of people knew of grappling fighting styles other than pro wrestling.  

Recently, fighting styles like BJJ and Luta Livre have gained much-deserved recognition as these styles revolve around wrestling and grappling, or close-quarter combat that can occur in a standing clinch or on the ground as well.  

Since these styles teach you how to render your opponent or assailant immovable by getting them locked in a submission, they are best used to control situations without risking injuries to yourself or your assailant.  

Having said that, it’s just as important to learn how to defend yourself when engaging in a striking bout and throwing strikes of your own, which is why you should go for a striking martial art as well as a grappling one 

Here’s a list of both to help you get started:  

Striking Martial Arts 

Muay Thai 

One of the most preferred striking martial arts in the world of combat sports is Muay Thai, rivaled closely with kickboxing. Although boxing is definitely the biggest combat sport in the world, when it comes to actual self-defense, you’re not going to have just your hands to defend yourself.  

That’s why Muay Thai incorporates punches and even brutal elbows that can cause serious concussions and completely destroy an enemy when applied with precision and strength.  

While it’s certainly deadly, learning Muay Thai for self-defense will ensure you have an impeccable standing upright game with an arsenal of punches, elbows, kicks, and even knees to hurt your opponent.  

Think of Muay Thai as an amalgamation of boxing as well as kickboxing, with elbows and clinch exchange knowledge and techniques.  

Tae Kwon Do 

Although you can go for kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do specifically focuses on flexibility and utilizing your full range of motion.  

Tae Kwon Do has been regarded as one of the deadliest martial arts to learn because of the severe damages the attacks hold, as they’re applied with near-perfect precision, intensity and force.  

You can be sure that a Tae Kwon Do practitioner can kill someone with a kick to the head, although the chances they’ll get for doing it in a real fight may be low. However, you shouldn’t think of training in striking martial arts such as this to be purely for offensive purposes.  

Engaging in live sparring with other athletes and instructors will give you the prerequisite experience of being in a live combat situation without sustaining real injuries. 

Grappling Martial Arts 


Grappling martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have gained a lot of fame due to their effectiveness in the world of combat sports.  

Almost everyone now recognizes the need to incorporate an impeccable ground-based grappling game in order to emerge victorious in any combat that occurs on the ground or in close enough quarters to render strikes useless.  

Training in BJJ Gi as well as rashguards and shorts are required if you’re to gain experience in real-life combat situations. BJJ teaches you how to use regular clothing as well as your opponent’s body against them.  

That is why you need to train in the kimono that imitates traditional jackets and shirts, and rashguards for situations when clothing isn’t available.  


The only thing that BJJ lacks in the world of grappling combat is the focus on takedowns. BJJ practitioners always start their rolls in a gentle tussle as compared to the explosive battle that rages on in a traditional wrestling match.  

This is why you should incorporate wrestling sessions in your self-defense training because, in almost every fight, the chances of being in a takedown situation are very high. Whether you’re executing one or defending one, you need to have the proper knowledge as well as practice in order to perfect your defense against grapples.  

Going in for a few classes with wrestling singlets may seem like a silly thing to do, but you’ll understand how beneficial it is when you experience the strength you develop later on.  


Survival doesn’t imply learning self-defense and overpowering people. As always, only learn how to fight if you’re learning to defend yourself and your loved ones. Becoming self-confident and becoming someone to be feared are very different and needless to say, you don’t want to be the latter.  


Ann Edwards is the fully qualified personal trainer from Elite sports. She has been helping people in the field of bodybuilding and fitness from more than a decade. Her career in nutrition and physical therapy has made her a fine addition for our team.

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