Effective Martial Arts in Real Life [Top 5]


There are lots of different styles to be used in Martial Arts and all of them are for sure effective to use in a real life fight. There are however some fighting styles that are better than others when it comes to fighting in real life. We’ll share our take on the absolute best Martial arts styles if you ever happen to get into a situation if you’d need to use it. This is my take on the most effective Martial arts in real life.

5. Kyokushin Karate

Effective Martial arts in real life - Kyokushin Karate

This specific form of karate came to in 1957. It is a very aggressive and raw form of karate where you practice full contact sparring on a regular basis. Me myself doesn´t have any experience first hand with this Martial art. But I have seen the effect it has inside of the octagon (MMA cage). With known profiles such as Bas Rutten and Georges st Pierre practicing it, there is no dispute on its effectiveness.

Kyokushin is a Martial art with a lot of rules and discipline. Practitioners use both hands and feet with blunt force to cause harm to their opponent. I think people often get the perception of Karate a little bit wrong because there are so many different forms. And some of them are basically just a dance. But don’t be fooled Kyokushin is fighting in its purest form and definitely NOT a dance!

4. Boxing

Effective Martial arts in real life - Boxing

We all have seen Mike Tyson knocking out a guy with lightspeed, or Muhammad Ali dancing around his opponents. “Float like a butterfly sting like a bee, you can´t hit what you can´t see”. A phrase commonly used by the vibrant and cocky Muhammad Ali. We all know about the sport of boxing and it´s colorful athletes have somewhat become a household name.

But what use would you have of boxing in a self-defense situation? The answer is plenty! Practitioners of this discipline spend long hours working on lightning-fast reflexes, different punch combinations, head movement and fast twitching muscles. After years of training, the routines will just sit in your spine. That is sometimes the reason you hear about some old man beating up a pack of young thieves. Often times these old men used to be boxers.

Sadly many boxers get what is called “CTE”. Which is a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive blows to the head. However, you can decide yourself how you want to train boxing and if you just want to learn how to defend yourself you won´t need to spar that hard or spar at all. I feel it’s impossible to leave boxing out when making a list of the most effective Martial art in real life. The techniques of boxing are absolutely worth learning!

3. Muay Thai

Muay Thai or Thaiboxing is a Martial Art developed by the military. Widely practiced on a professional level all around Thailand this discipline teaches endurance, strength and extreme mental toughness. Young Thailanders are frequently sent around Thailand to compete in Muay Thai as a way of earning money for their families. It is probably the most effective way to learn how to fight with most of your limbs if you ask me.

I have some experience myself with this art and the training regime is just brutal. And i can´t think of a single better way to get in crazy shape, not just for the looks but also for performance. You spend hours and hours perfecting basic techniques which in time makes you execute them in an almost superhuman way.

In a pure self-defense situation, I think Muay Thai is optimal as you learn how to work with all of your body, you will know how to clinch someone if they get too close, and you can throw kicks to keep someone at a distance if they were to attack you with a knife for example. All in all Muay Thai is a lethal Martial art!

2. Effective Martial Arts in Real Life – Krav Maga

Used by the Israeli special forces krav maga was developed from a wide range of disciplines. Such as aikido, boxing, judo, wrestling and karate. The Hungarian Martial Artist Imi Lichtenfeld is the original founder and he put a lot of emphasis on it to work in real life. It is absolutely one of the most effective Martial arts in real life.

I have no personal experience with Krav Maga but I have seen it demonstrated and used in different sparring situations. The techniques are often executed in a very aggressive manner and practitioners tend to be experts in disarming their opponents of any potential weapons. I believe Krav Maga is optimal for pure self-defense based on the fact that it is developed just for practical use and you only practice techniques that will work in a real-life situation.

1. Effective Martial Arts in Real Life – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or Gracie Jiu-jitsu is a discipline developed from judo. Helio Gracie is the founder. Helio trained Judo but had trouble executing many of the techniques due to him being physically weak. Therefore he felt he needed to further develop the techniques so that a weak person could have a chance against a stronger opponent. And that is the principle of Jiu-jitsu that a smaller man/woman can have a chance against a bigger and stronger opponent.

I have some experience with this art myself and I cannot think of a single better discipline to train if you want to learn to defend. I often see small -65 kilo opponents defeating big opponents with a slick armbar or some crazy choke.

Not only is this a very good martial art for self-defense but the dojos tend to be very welcoming and friendly and you will almost certainly not feel that aggressive Martial art vibe that tends to be kinda stereotypical, at least not in the Western schools. So here you have it the number 1 pick if you were to choose one Martial art to train I would highly recommend Gracie Jiu-jitsu.

If you’re really into learning self-defense, check out my article on 5 basic self-defense moves to learn.

Eric Wennergren

My name is Eric and i'm 25 years old. Country of residence: Sweden. I'm very interested in different forms of Martial Arts, mainly MMA. And i Also compete myself in different Combat sports. Mainly I'm om a mission to educate people about Combat sports.

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