The best 4 martial arts for practical self-defense

Training in the martial arts for self-defence is a valuable approach. There are many forms of this ancient practice of defence, so exploring the variety of methods is important in determining which style is best for you. Here are four of the most popular options.

The best 4 martial arts for practical self-defense

1. Jeet Kune Do Unlimited

Jeet Kune Do (JKD) was the end result of Bruce Lee's desire for a "style without a style."

In other words, JKD is engineered for realistic defence rather than formality.

What that means is that in general, only one stance is used to protect a practitioner from exposure to counter-attacks. Unlike other styles that rely on multiple stances or have you shift stances between key moves.

As if that's not enough, martial arts guru Burton Richardson created Jeet Kune Do Unlimited (JKDU) to add on to Bruce Lee's legacy. JKDU is a style purely intended for street defence.

That's where the name comes from, since JKDU is meant to expand the practice of JKD to "unlimited" realms. This also means that practitioners of this art train in four combat areas: Standing, Clinch (standing close-quartered), Ground and Weaponry.

2. Keysi fighting method

As brutal as it is visually stunning, Keysi was the perfect fighting style choice for Batman himself in Christopher Nolan's recent films.

Meaning "from the heart," Keysi is a style that does not emphasize techniques as much as instinct and reactions.

With very few kicks, Keysi instead uses strong punches, throws and constant protection of the head with the shoulders and fists in between attacks.

3. Muay Thai

The combat kickboxing style of Thailand, Muay Thai is an extremely effective technique for self-defence.

Known as "The Art of Eight Limbs," Muay Thai teaches a variety of strikes using fists, knees, elbows and shins. Stand-up combat and clinch fighting are both covered in this style.

Although Muay Thai is a sport combat technique, it can also be quite efficient as a street fighting method when used correctly and when a person is properly trained.

4. Krav Maga

Perhaps the most powerful martial art in the world, Krav Maga was originally created specifically for the Israeli military. This is a style that teaches kicks, punches and knees that are highly effective for quickly incapacitating attackers.

This martial arts style has numerous techniques for fighting several opponents at once and also specializes in defence against enemies with weapons ― particularly firearms.

To accomplish this kind of defence, Krav Maga trains a practitioner in moves and counter-moves and uses a variety of realistic training exercises to help a person prepare for any possible scenario.

While Krav Maga is probably not a "martial art" in the purest sense, it is a revolutionary defence method. There is a reason this style is the official hand-to-hand combat technique of the Israeli Defence Forces, and why militaries around the world, including that of the U.S., prefer it.

Everyday self-defence

Though there are hundreds of martial arts out there, these four are the ones that specialize in self-defence in everyday situations. So if you're looking for a quicker way to self-defence proficiency, give one of these four martial arts a try first.

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