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: KarateKarate

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 ChunWing 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 MagaKrav 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: JujutsuJujutsu

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: AikidoAikido

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.

Some Basic Self-Defense Moves Anyone Can Learn

You hope it will never happen, but hope offers no protection. Anyone can be a victim of an attack in our increasingly dangerous world, whether you live in the city or the suburbs, and learning a few basic self-defense moves is an easy, excellent preventative measure. This is especially true if you’re female. All women have experienced the vulnerable moment of walking alone at night or being alone with a stranger. This article will provide some helpful tips and a set of basic moves that nearly everyone can learn and use to defend themselves if they find themselves confronted by an attacker.

Simple tips to protect yourself

In any situation, you want to prevent an attack or diffuse a rough situation before it leads to physical violence. Always stay in well-lit areas, avoid walking alone at night if you can especially in unfamiliar areas, and be aware of your surroundings. But sometimes, especially in the case of a surprise attack, that’s not possible.

The best way to fend off an opponent is to go for their weak points. Regardless of size, the human body’s universal weak points are the eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, and the legs, especially the knees. Go to whichever area you can most readily hit.

If your attacker grabs you, make sure to move with their movements instead of trying to struggle or yank away and create resistance. Think of an old finger trap puzzle—pulling your fingers apart tightens the trap, but when you move your fingers together, the strap loosens. The same applies to trying to get away from someone holding you—the tighter you pull, the less strength and area of motion you have to work with.

Use what you have available

If you can, you can also use something on your person as a weapon. Holding your car keys in the spaces between your fingers makes a very good improvised weapon to jab with. Anything with a pointed end, like a pen or pencil, can be used to hit the attacker’s vulnerable parts, such as their eyes, nose, and neck. It may be unpleasant to think about, but you have to make use of what you have. Don’t forget one thing you carry around all the time—your fingernails.

If you ever find yourself in an attack, these moves may come in handy to free you. Make sure to not only read but practice them to fully retain how to do them. You want proper defense moves to become as instinctive as possibly—because when the time comes, you won’t have much time to think or react.

Basic punch

A closed-fist punch is a basic move to learn before advancing. Aim to hit square with the center of your fist and drive your fist forward using the full weight of your body. Make sure your wrist isn’t loose and that you don’t catch your target with the sides of your hand.

Straight groin kickStraight groin kick

If you’re standing facing your attacker, kick your leg upwards like you’re trying to bring your foot up the attacker’s body toward their head. If this knocks them to the ground, you can either get away or punch one of the weak targets mentioned previously on the head. This can be used against female attackers as well—it is a vulnerable part of everyone’s body.

Go limp to get out of a bear hug

A bear hug involves the attacker (usually male) grabbing the victim (usually a woman) from behind and holding their arms tightly against their body. The best way to get out of this hold is to let your body go as limp as possible, as dead weight is harder to hold onto. Once you begin to slide, wiggle and contort your body around in whatever space you have available. Another method you can try is to smash your feet against the tops of the assailant’s, especially if you are wearing footwear with a sharp or heavy heel.

Escape from a wrist grabEscape from a wrist grab

If an attacker grabs you by the wrist, to break free move your arm upward and out in a circular motion in order to free yourself. Rotate your wrist as you’re making a bigger circle with your entire arm, which will break the person’s grip.

Upward kick

Try to stay on your feet during an attack. Once you get knocked down, you are far more vulnerable to injury, and it’s difficult to get back up with someone trying to keep you on the ground. Especially if that person is much bigger and stronger than you are. If you do happen to end up on your back, kick both feet up and out at your attacker as hard as you can, lifting your bottom off the ground for extra force. This has the potential to knock them back so you can get up and run away.

Save yourself from a chokeholdSave yourself from a chokehold

If the attacker has their hands around your neck, ignore the natural urge to pull them off. Instead, jam the heel of your hand up into the person’s throat as hard as you can. This will make it hard for him to breath and should take him by surprise. Another method is to curve your hands and tug the attacker’s thumbs away from your neck, which will break their hold. Either way, you have to react very quickly in a situation where your air supply is cut off, as you risk passing out from oxygen deprivation.

Headbutt their nose

A headbutt is a move you need to use with caution, as you could injure your head. In a dangerous situation, however, it may be necessary to take that risk. If your attacker has you in a bear hug or other similar hold from behind, and nothing else is working, drop your head forward and then whip it back as hard as possible—without pulling your own neck. If you make contact with their nose, the pain should stun and distract them enough for them to release you.

Once you get your assailant off of you and down on the ground or otherwise incapacitated, your next step should be to run away. Don’t continue to hit them, even if you want to. Your goal is to get away from danger as fast as you can, preferably finding other people who can help.

By memorizing these basic self-defense moves and practicing until you are comfortable, you will greatly increase your ability to fend off a potential attacker. Practice is an essential component—you want to make a defensive reaction as natural as possible. Knowing that you could protect yourself if the situation does arrive will make you feel safer and more confident in your daily life.