Martial arts have been a staple in many societies for many centuries. Mainstream ideals of martial arts usually cause the average person to think of something like Karate or Kung Fu. However, fighting styles are not just relegated to a certain region. Places like Russia, France, India, Brazil, America…all have their own unique forms of martial arts. But, these art forms are more than just something to be taught in random schools. They offer practical ways to defend yourself against attackers of all sorts. So, with so many to choose from, which is best?
Welcome to Brutal TV and today, we will be counting down our top 7 picks for the most practical martial arts in terms of self-defense. If you’re new to the channel, be sure to hit the subscribe button. And if you’re on a mobile device, tap the notification bell to stay up to date with our new releases. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
Arguably the most popular martial art in the world, Taekwondo originated in Korea. Developed by a man named Choi Hong Hi, much of its philosophy has to do with optimizing the full potential for power that the human body has. Professional practitioners of the art today have amazing abilities to break through things as hard as concrete because they know how to draw power from every muscle. There are a couple things that make Taekwondo so effective. First, people usually start training as children. By doing so, many of the techniques become second nature to them by the time they are adults. Secondly, the striking ability of Taekwondo practitioners is second to none. They rely heavily on kicking which keeps the target at maximum range while still delivering hard shots. While it has some great defensive applications, there are a couple of drawbacks. Taekwondo does not have much of an application on the ground. Nearly everything is from a standing position. Also, much of the martial art has become more sport today than combat. Sports have rules and these rules could be a hindrance to protecting yourself in an arena where there are no rules.
Among martial arts practitioners, Ju-Jitsu is one of the most well-known and popular. Although the art form has been around for hundreds of years, it was made popular by the famous Gracie family in Brazil. They brought it to the world stage when a new sporting event was started in America called The Ultimate Fighting Championship. Here, fighters of all sizes and styles would compete in a no-rules tournament until one fighter came out on top. It was there that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu became a household name in the martial arts world. The objective of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to close the distance between you and your opponent, and forcing the fight to the ground. If it were in some sort of competitive arena, the fighters would be trying to put each other into submissions or to choke the other person out. In a self-defense situation though, a person would not wait for the other person to tap out, they would either choke them out or break a bone. The downside to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that when the fight is taken to the ground, there is no way to guard against other people that may decide to jump in. These days fights are rarely one-on-one. Everyone has a friend.
Going back to the country of Korea, Hapkido is literally translated to “the art of coordinated power”. Its history can be traced back to the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, when a group of Korean nationals took to developing practical self-defense techniques while under the watchful eye of the Japanese oppressors. Hapkido is actually a beautiful martial art that borrows some hard and soft principles from other art forms. Being Korean, there is an obvious similarity in hard styles with Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do due to the strikes that it utilizes. On the other side, the soft techniques are very similar to Japanese Ju-Jitsu and Aikido. Practitioners of Hapkido will kick and punch when needed in order to close distance. Once in close, they will utilize any of a number of joint locks and throws that are similar to Aikido and even Judo. However, these throws are meant to be incapacitating to the attacker. The martial art is known for using an attacker’s own momentum against them. Therein lies a bit of a problem. Trained attackers, which are becoming more and more regular in modern times, will know how to skillfully manage their power and balance, making it difficult for a Hapkido practitioner to be as effective.
Boxing has been one of the most popular sports in American history. But its history is not relegated to the United States. It actually has history that goes back to England and Ireland where bare-knuckle Boxing matches could sometimes go for 100 rounds. It was especially bloody and violent but was enjoyed by the masses. Today, even though it is mostly practiced as a sport, it is one of the most practical methods of self-defense that a person can use. For starters, it puts a lot of emphasis on staying physically fit and being able to keep a high endurance while controlling your adrenaline. Next, Boxing teaches balance while always moving. Finally, the hand-to-hand combat aspect tops it off as most street fights are done in this way. Anyone engaging in a fight with someone who knows how to box, would be at a big disadvantage. What does Boxing lack though? Two things: it does not employ any kicking and it does not teach any defense against a weapon. Two things that are essential for self-defense.
#3. Muay Thai/ Kickboxing
Making up for an area where Boxing lacks, Muay Thai and Kickboxing are Boxing martial arts that incorporate other strikes such as kicks, knee strikes and elbow strikes. Although they’re technically different, Muay Thai and Kickboxing are similar enough to be included in one entry. Muay Thai is actually older dating back hundreds of years. It is the national fighting style of Thailand. More recently, Kickboxing, also known as American Kickboxing, started around the 1970s and became a sport inspired by the Muay Thai martial art. The same principles for Boxing apply here. Muay Thai and Kickboxing promote having a strong endurance and throwing hard strikes. However, they take it a step further by incorporating kicks, elbows and knees. For Muay Thai, fighters usually start when they are very young, hardening their bones to the point where they can literally kick through trees. However, there is still no ground game with these arts. So if an attacker is able to get close and wrap them up, there may be a little trouble.
#2. Krav Maga
Throughout history, one of the most volatile areas ever was in Eastern Europe during the second World War. A Hungarian martial artist living in Czechoslovakia, Imi Lichtenfeld, wanted to develop a system that could help people survive the dire times. So, he developed Krav Maga, a military combat system that is designed to be able to neutralize threats as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is so effective that it is the chosen fighting system for the Israeli military. The effectiveness of Krav Maga comes from the fact that there are no rules. It was literally created during a time where everything was a matter of life or death. So you can be certain that this martial art will teach you everything you need to know about groin strikes, eye pokes and throat punches. In addition to this, Krav Maga teaches a number of verbal de-escalation techniques as well as other mental survival skills which could give a person a slight advantage in a fight. The only area that this martial art lacks in is the fact that there is no sparring. Sparring is one of the most useful training tools for any combat system. It builds confidence as well as an ability to improvise. This fact could hinder a person in a real life scenario.
#1. Mixed Martial Arts
Many times, martial arts start off as a useful combat system and then have some competitive aspects thrown in later. For Mixed Martial Arts, the opposite happened. It was a sport first but became an incredibly effective self-defense program. Today, you will not only see this style displayed in various sporting events such as UFC, there are gyms popping up all over the world that teach it as a way to keep yourself safe. In actuality, the concept is pretty simple. The martial art is a mixture of various other martial arts. It is a similar concept that Bruce Lee employed while developing Jeet Kune Do. Take the most essential things and combine them to create a well-rounded and effective system of fighting. Typically, fighters will have a general knowledge of Muay Thai which covers the stand-up game, Wrestling or Judo helping to take the opponent down, and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu which gives them ground control. Each essential element and combat zone is covered in this system of fighting. There is only one drawback to Mixed Martial Arts. As we said, it originated as a sport. If a person has been trained as a competitive fighter, it is possible that they may have some of the rules of the sport ingrained in their minds. When it comes to real-life self-defense, tap-outs do not happen.
What are some of your favorite martial arts? Let us know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to check out some of our other previous videos for more amazing content. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time.
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