The Top 4 Best Close Combat Self-Defense Martial Arts

Posted January 27, 2020 in Conditioning, Martial Arts No Comments »

The idea of paying money so you can go get beaten up someplace might sound insane. This is what martial arts are but the pain and exertion can be extremely beneficial. The benefits of martial arts go beyond just physical fitness. In everyday life, you would have to defend yourself and even your loved ones. But you cannot do that well enough if you are just fit. No matter how much you ignore or deny it, the only self-defense tool you will have with you all the time is your body. Plus, most of the real-life situations are close combat.  

close combat self defense

Some forms are better for self-defense while others are not, this is just how it is. It is time to turn your body into a weapon with the help of martial arts. Here is a list of the best self-defense close-combat martial arts from the best to our least favorite. But there are not the only options available, but the best ones to protect yourself in my belief. Keep in mind that even the last listed option is the last of the best, so you can’t go wrong no matter which discipline you choose.

What is KRAV MAGA?

Literally translating to battle contact, this martial art form was developed for real-life combat situations and teaches how to disarm and get control of your opponent, in addition to punches and kicks.

The expectations:

In Krav Maga training you will be doing lots of drills as well as intense workouts. It will really take you to the level where you can give your best even when the body is completely tired out. You will be learning how to quickly disarm someone so be ready to practice with rubber knives and guns. One of the best things is that you will learn pressure points, kicks to the groin, pokes eyes, throat punches, and break some joints too which is prohibited in other martial arts.

Is it for you?

Real-life situations don’t have referees and rules, most probably the attacker will also not follow any rules so why should you. When it comes to self-defense you should be ready and willing to do everything. This is what Krav Maga is. Along with great self-defense, it is great for strengthening the upper body and works on your lower body too. However, there are no tournaments for this sport.

What is MMA?

Watching many UFC fights, fighters in their MMA gloves, shiny shorts, and a towel on the shoulders is very intimidating. In the beginning, it was just some fighters from strict backgrounds facing off each other in a blood sport fight is now a mature and proper martial art style. The mix of different martial art forms is what MMA is.  

close combat MMA

The expectations:

MMA training includes different elements like stand-up, grappling, and ground-based attacks and defenses. Apart from self-defense it makes a really great workout program and works on the complete body. you will be learning different martial arts too.

Is it for you? 

Because of different aspects, learning MMA requires more time, money, and commitment than any other martial art. It is an intense workout program too because of so much and hard training. You would have to accept bruises and pain too. If you aren’t afraid of getting hit and want to excel in standup and ground-based fighting then this is one of the best self-defense programs. Otherwise, you might just want to see people wearing shorts fighting in a cage for a belt. 


This is a Chinese martial art form with a rich traditional history and prime focus on balance. It teaches close hand-to-hand combat and fighting with different weapons. After the success of movies like Ip Man, the popularity of Wing Chun Kung Fu blew up! Fans loved the continuous rapid punching technique, which by the way can really rip your shoulders and lats to shreds.

wing chun kung fu

The expectations:

Don’t expect to start straight away learning how to fight. The initial stage of Wing Chun training includes lots of visualization and maintaining body balance. It will take quite some time for a beginner to reach the level when you can perform rapid strikes and fast continuous punches.

Is it for you? 

If you are ready to give it the proper time and wait until you can really fight or perform good self-defense then it is for you. Your personal space would be invaded, legs aren’t used very much, slow reflexes won’t do any good. Don’t worry if you are dedicated enough you will learn with time. 

What is MUAY THAI?

This standing martial art from Thailand involves fists, feet, knees, and elbow strikes as well as clinching techniques.

muay thai self defense

The expectations:

Muay Thai is one of the toughest martial arts because of its grueling cardiovascular demands and sparring especially. The training will strengthen your lower body and core immensely. 

Is it for you? 

It is lower on the list because it lacks any ground-based fight training. For stand-up combat and general fitness, Muay Thai sure does make your body a powerful tool. It stands in the middle from a self-defense point of view. 

I personally practiced Muay Thai kickboxing for several years with a qualified black belt instructor. Granted, it was for the conditioning a self-defense aspects, not professional or competitive, but I personally believe it was one of the best paths I ever took in fitness, and still do this day I try to get in some form of kickboxing and fight training for a period of each year.

Final Thoughts

Don’t think of any of the martial arts as inferior to the others. There is no inferior and superior martial art it is just the practitioners who are better or worse. It’s all about your goals, your body, your mind, and your spirit. Try one or try them all. Maybe cardio kickboxing is what’s right for you. Any way you put it, practicing martial arts can take everything about your levels of fitness and strength of mind, to the next level.

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