Top 5 Martial Arts You Should Learn to Protect Yourself

People are increasingly learning martial arts for both self-protection and to improve the state of their discipline in daily life. These time-honored styles of fighting can be learned by nearly anyone, as long as you are in generally good health, have the ability to stick with a program, and the drive to improve yourself. By learning one of the popular martial arts styles listed in this article, you can be confident that you can protect yourself should the need arise.

Before you begin to attempt to learn a martial arts program, whether casually or with your eye on advanced moves, make sure you’re in good shape and exercise regularly, not only for your general health but your ability to protect yourself in any situation.

Beginner tips for learning martial arts

• Protect your head. Your head is incredibly important to protect from strikes, especially your eyes, ears, and nose. Always make sure your head is protected. Also, make sure to guard your neck against strikes or from muscle strain.
• Practice correct form. Most (but not all) types of martial arts emphasize proper form and technique to their moves. Make sure you understand the safe and correct way to perform a move before you attempt it and that you practice until you get the technique down right.
• Know your limits and don’t strain yourself. Learning martial arts is just like any other strenuous exercise program. Don’t attempt to advance the moves too quickly. Always warm up and stretch your muscles before practicing. If you find yourself in any pain, rest that area of your body and don’t try any moves until you recover.

Of the many types of martial arts practiced around the world, the following 5 are some of the most popular and well-regarded.

Type 1: Karate

Karate, a Japanese form of martial arts, involves a system of counterattacks and defenses. Karate also has themes of self-discipline interwoven throughout its teachings. The development of a strong character and control of one’s actions is central to Karate. Hard, diligent work is held up as a basic tenet, and you are expected to only use the techniques to defend yourself against attack after other options have been exhausted. With this martial art, you never strike first. However, strikes such as punches and kicks make up most of the moves.

Karate can be self-taught, but most people find themselves interested in enrolling in a school that is taught by professional instructors. That way you learn correct techniques and how specifically to improve. Before you can move up the ladder to more advanced techniques, it’s important to learn all of the basic karate stances. Proper balance and form are also essential.

Because the central theme of karate is based on self-discipline, it’s important to keep this in mind at all times. Don’t show off your moves or use them to be aggressive.

Type 2: Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a Chinese form of martial art, most recently popularized by the movie Ip Man. It was originally created by a Buddhist nun who had already trained in other forms of martial arts. Nearly anyone regardless of strength or body type can learn it. Wing Chun was originally created for densely populated cities, and so it utilizes a form of fighting where you conserve your space and energy. It relies on a person using the timing of counterattacks and defenses instead of brute force and strength. You conserve your space and energy and work with the opponent’s moves.

Most people who attempt to master Wing Chun can do so in only a few years, a stark contrast to many other forms of martial arts, such as karate, which can take ten years or more to fully master. It is an excellent type for a beginner who wants to learn to protect themselves.

Type 3: Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a combat system originally created for the Israeli Defense Forces. There are many mixed martial arts combined, they form not only a strong style of combat but also of self-defense. It was created by combining mixed techniques from other styles into one style of simple, effective attacks and defenses.

The main goal of Krav Maga is to neutralize whoever is threatening you as fast as you can. This carries through the entire system. It is a brutal, no-frills style that is very effective. Krav Maga can be best viewed as quick, efficient, and ruthless, a burst of energy in which you keep moving. While your attacker is reacting to your moves, you continue to strike, attacking and defending at the same time, until they are incapacitated.

Unlike techniques like Karate and Wing Chun, Krav Maga encourages developing trained aggression to utilize in the fight in order to increase your ability to successfully persevere and render your opponent ineffective. Krav Maga is a good technique to learn if you’re in excellent physical shape and looking for something modern and strength-based.

Type 4: Jujutsu

Jujutsu is another Japanese martial art, one of close combat. Somewhat like Wing Chun, Jujutsu is based on techniques that use an opponent’s attacks and energy against them, preserving your own energy. Some schools of jujutsu also use weapons that can aid in striking an opponent, such as long staffs.

Jujutsu moves involve combat, including punches and various kicks, as well as defensive moves, like blocking and ways to throw the opponent off-balance or confused. However, more emphasis is made on moves like throwing and pinning the opponent, instead of striking. The idea is to yield to the opponent’s moves to prevent further damage to oneself.

Type 5: Aikido

This final martial art was also founded in Japan. It has seen recent popularity due to its use in the TV show, “The Walking Dead.” Similar to Jujutsu, Aikido is a gentle style of martial art in which the goal is mutual peace for both you and the opponent, if possible. A more complicated system, which also involves pinning and throwing techniques, Aikido is one of the most practiced forms of martial arts in the world. Like the other forms, it strongly emphasizes the development of self-discipline, control, and controlling aggression in the least violent way possible.

No matter the style of martial arts you choose to learn, self-discipline and conservation of your energy always play a part. Learning one of these techniques can not only keep you safe but also improve your control of your body and mind in your everyday life. Improving your ability to control and manage your behavior and moods can greatly improve your character and confidence in knowing you can defend yourself.

5 Safety Tips for Women When Walking Alone At Night

Most women will find themselves having to walk alone at night at one time or another. Even in suburban and rural areas, the rising costs of car maintenance and transportation has increased the number of women resorting to traveling on foot. There are many reasons that you might find yourself walking at night, including emergencies, temporary loss of transportation, and last-minute schedule changes. This article will provide you with 5 basic safety tips to help you protect yourself.

Staying alert and aware of danger signs can help you prevent becoming the victim of an attack or other crime. Before you start out to your destination, make sure to text or call a close friend or family member so that they know that you are going. This is a good way of ensuring that someone knows where you are in case something unexpected happens.

If walking will be a long-term arrangement, consider investing in some self-defense classes, especially those targeted toward women. You can learn a few basic, easy moves to help yourself in case you are attacked on the street. In the short-term, read on to learn specific ways to keep safe.

Tip 1: Attempt to find an alternate way to your destination

Before you try walking alone, attempt to arrange something safer. Consider your options—ask friends, family members, or trusted coworkers for a ride. You can also look into your local public transportation options. If you can afford it, hiring a cab is a great investment. If those options don’t work, try asking a friend or coworker to walk with you. There truly is safety in numbers—a potential criminal is less likely to target a pair or group than an individual.

Tip 2: Stay alert and appear engaged

If you do have to walk, make yourself less of a potential target. Keep your head lifted and your eyes forward, occasionally scanning from side to side to catch what is going on around you. Don’t spend too much time staring at your phone. You want to be very aware of who and what is around you at all times, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.

Even though you may be tempted, an important part of being aware is being able to hear what is going on. So keep your headphones off until you reach your destination. If you know beforehand that you will be walking home, bring comfortable running shoes or sneakers that you can change into. The last thing you want to do is jog or run in high heels.

Tip 3: Stay on busy streets and avoid questionable places

Whenever possible, stay around crowds on the main streets and trails. By staying in heavily frequented areas you reduce your risk of crime. Most criminals prefer dark alleyways and hidden places so that they won’t be seen. Plan out the path you’re going to take, using a directions app if your phone has one so that you can avoid questionable locations. Be especially wary in places like parking lots at night, because even though these are heavily used during the day, criminals often hang out at night there to wait for victims and make a quick getaway.

Before you go around a corner, step out further from the building so that you can peer around the side and make sure there are no dangers lurking ahead, like a predator. If you’re in a location without sidewalks, walk along the side of the road in the opposite direction of the traffic. Try to stay away from areas with dense trees, no streetlights, or dirt paths instead of paved roads.

Tip 4: Always trust your gut instincts

Suppose during your journey, you get the feeling something isn’t quite right. You may tell yourself that you’re just being paranoid, but it’s always better to trust your instincts than to be the victim of a crime. If you pick up signs of fishy behavior, like an unfamiliar car that keeps circling the block around you or someone suspicious, you should immediately divert from your planned route. Head to the busiest area you can find. If you are really worried, either call the police immediately or find someone at the nearest gas station or other open business who can do it.

Another scenario is discovering that you’re being followed. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to be aware of the people around you. Scan the faces of travelers that you pass. If you keep seeing the same person even after you change streets, that could be a sign. They might walk ahead of you or off to the side instead of behind you, but if they keep reappearing over a significant walk, that’s a red flag. Another potential danger sign is a car that slows down and follows a few paces behind you.

When you become aware of these signs, stay calm. Keep your pace brisk and steady, and don’t let on that you know you’re being followed. Don’t start jogging or running. Most importantly, change your course instead of heading home. You don’t want the person to know where you live. Instead, head for the most occupied place you can find. Stay there and call the police, and don’t leave until they’ve arrived and checked the situation.

Tip 5: If your night travel is frequent, bring some helpful items along

If you’re going to be walking at night on numerous occasions, consider bringing a few handy items to aid in keeping you safe. The most important is a flashlight. You can find one in pocket size and some even fit on a keychain. Even in well-lit cities, a flashlight can guide you through unexpected dark areas like alleys. It can also be used to momentarily blind would-be attackers or to signal for help. For high-traffic areas, a bright vest with reflective strips can keep you safe because oncoming cars will see you. Consider purchasing some pepper spray if it’s legal where you live, especially if there is a high crime rate.

Walking home can be worrisome for any woman, no matter your age or the area in which you live. However, with these tips, you can minimize many dangers, stay alert, and increase your chances of arriving home safely.