Many people are concerned about learning self-defense for their own personal protection and the protection of loved ones. There are many forms of martial arts available that were either originally developed as a form of self-defense or that evolved to become a viable option for this purpose. There are five classical forms of martial arts that are all good choices for those wanting to learn self-defense.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
This form of martial arts is centered on the concept of strategically subduing an opponent without actually engaging that opponent in a way that requires size or strength. The lure of BJJ is that anyone of any size will be able to effectively defend themselves from an opponent that is much larger and heavier. This is done by teaching the student how to exploit the weaknesses of the joints. It is also done by teaching a series of holds that effectively immobilize the attacker without requiring an overwhelming amount of strength.
Judo is the original martial art that BJJ eventually emerged from. The practice of Judo involves economy of motion and adaptation to the movements of an opponent. It involves the same types of grappling, joint-locking and holds that appear in Jiu-Jitsu. The primary difference is that some of the techniques and throws are different. This is a good form of martial arts to learn for defense because it is applicable in a wide range of situations and does not escalate an encounter by providing direct offensive resistance.
This is a form of kickboxing that originated in Thailand. It is very popular in freeform fighting sports. Students of Muay Thai learn to use fists, elbows, knees and feet to aggressive combat an opponent. Unlike more passive forms of self-defense this type of kickboxing involves direct fighting that is intended to end with the opponent in a chokehold. This is a good choice for self-defense because it teaches students how to think quickly and how to respond forcefully to some of the more common types of attacks that could be seen during a mugging or other street crime.
Wrestling is a good choice for self-defense because it helps a person to develop strength while also teaching solid techniques for preventing personal injury and stopping an aggressor. Most of what wrestlers learn has to do with immobilizing the opponent until they are subdued, help arrives or escape is possible. It is so effective that it is regularly taught as part of military training in several countries around the world. The grappling techniques that are taught make this an excellent self-defense choice for individuals who already have some strength in the arms or legs.
Karate is possibly the most versatile form of self-defense that can be learned. It is also very time-consuming and potentially complex. This form of martial arts involves a wide range of different techniques from punches and kicks to maneuvers that can be used to escape common holds. Jumping, falling and weapon use are all included in the training depending on the level of the student and the variation that is being taught. This is a good choice for self-defense because it gives an individual the widest range of options available when responding to an opponent.