Why you need to take up a martial art

Whether you’re just an average joe looking to get by or a hardcore survivalist with decades of experience living off the land, it’s vital that you learn how to defend yourself from an attacker.

The world is a harsh and unforgiving place for the unprepared and the comforts of modern living and societal norms have insulated us from much of it. Because of this most people tend to shy away from confrontation which in turn makes them an easy target for predators.

Before I continue any further, I wish to make it clear that I do not advocate fighting, hurting or killing people in any way or form. I only believe that basic self-defense is something that everyone should know.

Chances are good that you’ll likely never need to throw a punch or put someone in a lock at any point in your life. However, we live in an uncertain world and there are millions of people out there willing to take advantage of your weakness.

Imagine yourself in any of the following situations and try to see how you’d react:

  • You’re at the cinema with your wife and a man behind you is loudly talking on his cellphone. You politely tell him to keep it down, but he responds by shoving you and yelling “F**k you!” to your face. All attempts at de-escalation fail and he is out for blood.
  • As you and your significant other are about to load groceries into your car, a mugger appears out of nowhere and demands the keys to your car. Your hand them over but he insists that your wife goes along with him.
  • While you’re having a drink with some buddies, a drunk patron accuses you of touching his girlfriend. You try to walk away but he grabs you by the shirt.

The cinema. A local shopping mall. The bar. All the above situations could very possibly happen to you at any time. There will always be bullies and criminals who couldn’t give two hoots about fair play and societal norms.

Despite what we’ve been taught since kindergarten, sometimes violence is the only answer. Focused and overwhelming violence directed at a single threat. 

In this article, we take a look at some of the most effective martial arts for survival in today’s urban world. While there isn’t a single “best” discipline per say, I’ve listed martials arts in which real-life practitioners had the most success with.

1. MMA – Mixed Martial Arts

Not exactly a martial art, MMA is a literal mixture of disciplines distilled into an effective fighting system. Combining elements of boxing, kickboxing, Thai kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo just to name a few, MMA provides practitioners with just the right mix of ferocity and versatility.

From punches to elbow strikes and submission holds, MMA’s effectiveness on the streets should not be underestimated. 

Given it’s sporting background, some have questioned its usefulness in self-defense as most MMA matches have a variety of rules that fighters must adhere to whereas on the streets, anything goes.

If you intend to take up MMA, you should ideally train for the streets where there are no rules and fights can break out at just about any moment. Besides, it helps you to go strength in your core, so soon you will be as strong as a stallion in the Kentucky Derby odds.

2. Krav Maga

Invented by Imi Lichtenfield, Krav Maga traces its origins back to Lichtenfield’s street fighting experience taking on fascist thugs in 1930s Czechoslovakia.

Like MMA, Krav Maga makes use of a variety of techniques from various martial arts with the exception that Lichtenfeld intended for Krav Maga to be used by IDF soldiers looking to quickly maim and kill their opponents with minimal effort.

Krav Maga techniques are easy-to-learn and extremely intuitive which makes them ideal for the average joe/jill looking to defend themselves.

However, it should be noted that true Krav Maga techniques focus on doing extreme amounts of damage to your opponent i.e. throat stabs and eye gouging which can make it impractical for usage on the street. After all, you can’t hardly be expected to gouge out someone’s eye because he spilled your drink.

3. Boxing

The sweet science of boxing is one of the most effective martial arts you can learn. Boxing isn’t just about burying your fists into another person’s face until they surrender.

It’s about conditioning, timing, accuracy and lining up the perfect shot. Often overlooked, the ability to throw a knockout jab or hook can be a real life-saver in dangerous situations.

Being such a popular sport, it is relatively easy for one to track down a reputable boxing gym where you can master the sweet science. As an added benefit, the immense amount of conditioning done by boxers will let you get ripped quickly. If you wish to try out this activity but are not yet quite sure about the strength of your hands, always remember shadow boxing bands are available on the market.

Fighting and hurting other people is neither glamorous nor something any of us should aspire to. However, it should not be construed as an excuse to not learn how to protect oneself. While this list is far from complete, it should get you on the right track.