What Are The Best Martial Arts For Self-Defense?

What Are The Best Martial Arts For Self-Defense?

While you might not think about martial arts as self-defense, there are some types of martial arts that will be able to get you out of sticky situations and possibly even save your life in the event of an attack.

How can martial arts improve your self-defense ability?

Martial arts improve your flexibility and balance while making your body stronger. All of these contribute to helping you become stronger so that you can ward off and deal with an attack. 

Not all martial arts are suitable for self-defense, though. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the best martial arts for self-defense that women should learn.

These will help you feel more confident and strong, while teaching you how to use your body to protect yourself. 


Top Martial Arts For Women’s Self-Defense 

#1 Taekwondo


This is a Korean martial arts style that’s focused on kicking moves. If you take the time to practice this craft, you’ll be able to throw off your attacker with some solid techniques.

Taekwondo is useful because it focuses on kicking, so if you can’t use your hands, such as because your attacker has grabbed them or restrained you, you’ll be able to take them by surprise with a foot strike to the groin.

While you might not think of using your feet and legs during an attack, it’s a good way to keep your attacker further away from you. However, if you’re still not convinced, karate might be a better fit for you. 

#2 Karate 


Karate is a popular type of martial arts, but you might not think about using it as a self-defense strategy.

However, it does make use of arm- and leg-focused attacks, so taking karate lessons will definitely help you to learn fast and forceful strikes.

Karate was designed to help you protect yourself, so it’s a great way to bolster your self-defense ability. One of the reasons for this is because of how it uses both hands and feet, but it favors hands a bit more.

This might make it slightly more appealing to you if you’re not confident about kicking your attacker. By focusing on your hands, you can feel more in control of situations in which you find yourself.

#3 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


This type of martial arts is focused on mat-based grappling. This might seem to make it less ideal for self-defense situations, but it’s actually one of the best types of martial arts to learn if you want to better protect yourself.

This is because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu allows you to gain control over someone who’s much larger than you.

While the thought of grappling might make you uncertain, the thing to remember about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it teaches you to control the other person, who might be stronger than you but doesn’t know how to use their body in the same way.

This is what gives you an advantage over them!

#4 Judo


One of the best things about Judo as a martial art is that anyone can practice it. There are few physical limitations involved, so you can learn its techniques if you’re young/old, an athlete/you don’t exercise, or you have mobility issues.

Everyone will be able to learn and enjoy it! Judo basically has maximum efficiency as one of its philosophies. This means that you can use the least amount of energy to throw off an opponent.

Another good thing about Judo for self-defense is that it will help you to anticipate your attacker’s hands coming towards you, so it will sharpen your reflexes and hand-eye coordination, helping to prevent you from being taken by surprise. 

#5 Aikido


If you’re a woman who doesn’t have a lot of physical strength, Aikido is another valuable type of martial arts that you’ll be able to incorporate into your self-defense strategy.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that makes use of the momentum and strength of your opponent, and it is focused on you using fewer hand strikes and no kicking.

Rather, you’ll learn turning motions and pushing movements, as well as joint locks, all of which can help you throw off an attacker and escape the situation.

The focus is also on trying to defend yourself without violence or hurting your attacker, so this can be useful if you don’t want to engage in an attack. 

#6 Krav Maga


Much has been said about how Krav Maga is a type of fighting that was developed for the Israeli Defense Force, but can it be used for self-defense? It definitely can!

This is because it makes use of techniques that you’ve probably learned in self-defense class: you have to focus on your attacker’s vulnerable areas, such as the groin and nose, in order to gain control and throw them off.

Krav Maga also encourages people to become more aware of their environment and use whatever’s in it to their advantage. Both of these ideas are central to self-defense.

For example, you will learn to notice items around you, such as a rock, your handbag, or branch, to throw at your attacker so that you can flee. You can also learn Krav Maga pretty quickly, which is a bonus. 

#7 Muay Thai


This type of martial arts is known as “The Art Of Eight Limbs,” which not only sounds cool but refers to how you can use various parts of your body to defend yourself, such as your shins, elbows, and fists.

Muay Thai teaches you valuable skills that will bolster your personal security, such as how to use footwork techniques to move attackers so that you gain an advantage over them, and how to flee a situation if you need to get away from a violent attacker.

Since moves that you’ll learn in Muay Thai are fast and explosive, these will help you to throw off your attacker, while training in this martial art will boost your body’s strength and power. The result?

You’ll definitely feel more confident when you’re alone in public. 

General Self-Defense Benefits Of Martial Arts 

General Self-Defense Benefits Of Martial Arts

What are some other benefits of martial arts training that can help you when you need to defend yourself?

Whether you take karate, Judo, or other martial arts classes, you can expect to gain some important benefits. These include the following: 

  • Martial arts make you more flexible. By helping to increase your flexibility through various moves, martial arts can help you to have better control of your body and during self-defense, this will translate in preventing injuries. 
  • Martial arts boost your reflexes. In a self-defense situation, you need to move quickly and think fast, both of which can be encouraged with martial arts training. By learning quick, repetitive moves, you’ll help to improve your reflexes. This is so important if you have to defend yourself because during an attack every second count. Faster reflexes can also help you in other life situations.
  • Martial arts improve your coordination. Being taken by surprise by an attacker can throw you off and make you stumble. Learning martial arts will help you to have better coordination as well as stability, both of which will make it easier for you to block your attacker and even avoid being attacked. 
  • Martial arts make you confident. As you know, attackers are attracted to potential victims who seem unsure of themselves, and this can be seen in the way they carry themselves as well as their body language. Martial arts take time to master, and it needs patience as well as the ability to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Both of these things will help you to improve your confidence, and how you carry yourself, especially when you master different techniques. 

Related Questions 

What is mixed martial arts?


Mixed martial arts is a combination of different martial arts, and it makes use of techniques from wrestling, judo, boxing, karate, Muay Thai, jujitsu, and other disciplines.

Is mixed martial arts good for self-defense?

Mixed martial arts can be a great way to learn self-defense because of how it incorporates different martial arts. It will teach you various fighting techniques, such as grappling and stand-up fighting, to keep you strong.


Although self-defense and martial arts are different in some ways, there are some types of martial arts that you can definitely use to bolster your self-defense strategies.

In this article, we’ve explored some of the best martial arts for self-defense, so maybe it’s time to sign up to one or more classes


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