Imagine being confident that you could emerge victorious from an unarmed attack. This is what mastering a martial art can do for you.
Whether you want to feel safe on the streets or boost your military training, you won't regret learning martial arts techniques for offense, self-defense, or just to boost your confidence.
There are many different forms of martial arts. You could spend years training in any of them.
It is therefore important to know what are the best martial arts for you, and to understand that not all forms of martial arts will help you fend off an attacker or win in a combat situation.
After years of military training and hand-to-hand combat, here is my take on the best martial arts to learn, broken down into two categories of moves/techniques:
Strike: when you seek to strike an opponent using punches, kicks, knees or elbows.
Grappling: when you use certain grips and keys to slow down combat.
And in my experience, from a military perspective, here are the best martial arts that will best cover the above two categories:
- muay thai
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Not only will these four arts improve your discipline, which you can use in any competition (MMA for example), but they also have practices that are unquestionably applicable in real-world self-defense situations.
Before going into the details of each art, I first want to talk about the most important considerations to take into account before delving into the world of martial arts:
Have the right mindset when choosing a martial art
Always remember: it's not enough to know the moves, you also have to have the head for the fight.
It will do you no good to ask yourself: "What is the best martial art in the world?" There is no answer to this question. Every practice is invaluable, but not every discipline will help you in combat. Instead of picking the best, you'll want to find the best martial arts to learn for your goals.
It's fine to learn a martial art as a hobby, or for tournaments, or even to master your art to the point of being able to participate in major sporting events like the Olympics.
However, it is important to recognize that not all forms of martial arts will be useful in the real world. For example, learning taekwondo is great for learning discipline, getting in shape, and mastering a skill, but it won't do you any good in a close combat situation.
If you are in the military, you must choose a discipline that will help you in real combat situations. This is an essential point to keep in mind when choosing a martial art.
To help you choose, ask yourself the following questions:
- What martial arts will strengthen my weaknesses? What techniques will develop my strengths?
- What will be most effective if I am attacked in the street?
- Why do I want to fight? Competition, leisure, or preparation for a real combat situation?
- What are the martial arts that suit me best as a soldier?
Not everyone interested in learning martial arts has a desire to fight - but when you're in the military, learning to fight is essential to keeping you safe.
Unfortunately, learning the best martial arts for self-defense won't always help you in a dangerous situation like when you're on the battlefield during a military deployment.
That's why it's essential to know what you need to get out of a martial arts practice, and which ones will help you achieve those goals.
So what are the best martial arts in the world? Now that we've covered what to look for in a martial art, I want to share my top four martial arts from a military perspective.
These four arts have real-world applications, will help you win a fight, and ultimately keep you safe in military situations. These are
Boxing is a traditional form of martial arts, and in a nutshell, it is very useful when you need to hit an attacker in combat situations. This form of combat sport has been around for thousands of years, proving its effectiveness.
Wondering what are the best martial arts for street fighting? Boxing techniques are very well suited to street fighting and are therefore an excellent choice if your goal is to become a good fighter. With this martial art, you will learn to stay on your feet and hit an opponent with all your might.
All of this makes it an excellent choice of martial art for military personnel, but of course it has many other advantages.
The benefits of boxing
The main benefits of boxing are that it can strengthen the whole body, improve balance and hand-eye coordination. Having good balance and stance in any fight is crucial and will give you a huge advantage over your opponent. If you can hold a balanced stance in a fight, your punches will be more powerful and effective. Footwork is also an essential part of being a good boxer.
Below I will go over the benefits of these teachings and other important and useful things you will learn during boxing training.
You will learn to keep your balance by adopting a good position, so that if you are struck during a fight, you will not be thrown off balance and fall.
Your trainer will teach you the best way to stand, but basically your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent to promote lightness in your feet. This way you can move quickly when needed.
This brings us to footwork. Boxing teaches you how to move quickly, which is essential in fights so you can get out of the way of punches without falling.
Drills like jump rope are used outside of the boxing ring to improve your speed, so that in the ring (or in real fight situations) you can get to safety quickly.
The punch is the main mode of attack in boxing. Master boxers can knock out their opponents with a single punch, meaning those who master this martial art can win multiple fights without expending too much energy.
This is essential for soldiers and military personnel: if you tire on the battlefield, you risk losing a fight and putting yourself in danger. A boxing trainer will show you how to throw powerful punches and how to strike with determination.
Uses in real combat situations
Boxing moves are extremely useful to anyone who might find themselves in real fights, making it a perfect martial art for military personnel.
There are four main punches that you will master as you learn to box. These are
- The Jab - a quick punch
- The straight - a straight punch
- The hook - a sideways, short punch
- The Uppercut - a short, upward punch.
It is important to learn when and how to use these punching moves.
Working with a knowledgeable trainer who can walk you through real sparring drills will give you the tools you need regarding this timing.
Punching is the primary real-life application you will learn as a boxer. Boxers, more than any other martial artist, are trained to strike with precision, speed and power.
If that's the main thing you want to learn from practicing martial arts, I can tell you, as a military veteran, boxing is the smartest way to go.
2) Muay Thai
Muay Thai is another of the best martial arts to learn for self-defense striking and for attacking an opponent when necessary. The martial art form of Muay Thai is basically Thai boxing. It uses different types of strikes, kicks and clashes to fight an opponent. This martial art uses the sharpest points of the body against an opponent - elbows, shins and knees.
His moves are categorized into "major" (Mae Mai) and "minor" (Luk Mai) strikes. Most of the moves in Muay Thai involve the use of the whole body, making it excellent training - for staying in shape for military duty - and for fighting or protecting yourself in combat.
The benefits of Muay Thai
Muay Thai strikes are incredibly effective and powerful, making it an excellent form of martial art to study from a military perspective. As with learning any type of martial art, it's best to work with a trainer to properly develop your moves, but there's no harm in educating yourself in the meantime.
In Muay Thai, a good stance is just as necessary as in boxing, but the stance in this discipline is a little different. The stance is square and forward, with the hands raised and in line with the forehead, and the elbows slightly out.
The hips are turned forward, unlike boxing where one foot leads. This stance allows for freedom and efficiency of movement when it comes to using kicking and striking techniques - which is not necessary in boxing, as kicking does not come into play .
If you want to add kicking to your offensive arsenal, I advise you to prefer Muay Thai to boxing.
As we have seen in boxing, it is important to learn how to strike correctly in order to eliminate your opponent quickly and effectively, without hurting yourself or tiring yourself out. Muay Thai will help you do this, as well as kicking, so you can use all four of your limbs in a sparring situation.
Develop your inner warrior
Muay Thai is highly recommended for those who expect to participate in real life fights. Not only do you learn to attack and defend yourself, but you also learn to think quickly and strategically, and to remain calm in the face of aggression.
Uses in real combat situations
To be effective in combat, it is essential to know that one has the power to think faster than his opponent and to use his whole body to deflect violence.
Muay Thai can give you all this and much more, which is why I advise all soldiers to learn this form of martial art. Learning to fight properly gives you confidence, and in the face of opponents, it could be the quality that allows you to win.
In the practice of Muay Thai, you will learn to master different types of punches. The main ones are:
- Kradot Nueng - a thrust
- Kradot Chok - the "punch of Superman".
- Mat Soi Dao - an uppercut shot
- Mat Wiang Klap - the back punch
- Mat Trong - a straight punch, reverse punch, cross punch, etc.
As you can see, these moves are very similar to western boxing strikes, so don't be put off thinking you won't understand these moves.
A good Muay Thai trainer will help you understand the meaning of each term and their usefulness in real fights.
Muay Thai kicks are fearsome when delivered correctly. Initially, the kicks may seem harsh and deter you from using them in an attacking situation, as they feel a little too "Chuck Norris" to you.
Still, they're easy to master once you get the hang of them, and are great to use as part of physical training, or even sparring.
The famous roundhouse kicks seen in many Asian films are taught in Muay Thai. They are more difficult to master, as they involve starting from a circular position and rotating the hips in the air, in the middle of the kick.
It is from this rotational force that power comes. Again, these moves are best learned under the watchful eye of a good trainer. This will help you avoid developing bad form and injury.
As I also mentioned, Muay Thai incorporates strikes with sharper points on the body, such as elbows and knees. It can be
- Khao Dot - a jumping knee strike in Muay Thai.
- Khao Chiang - the diagonal knee strike of Muay Thai
- Khao Loi - the flying knee strike.
- Sok Ngat: uppercut with the elbow.
- Sok Klap - a spinning strike with the elbow
- Sok Chieng: Diagonal elbow strike.
The elbow strike is actually the deathblow of Muay Thai martial arts. Muay Thai elbow strikes use the elbow as a weapon, as opposed to a clenched fist, and very effectively. They are considered the most dangerous blows of this martial art.
Elbow strikes are aimed at the opponent's eyebrow, the intent being that blood flow interferes with their vision. These punches are also most often used as a finishing technique as they can be powerful enough to knock out an opponent.
In summary, as you can guess, the techniques of Muay Thai are dangerous and very powerful. Masters of this art learn how to strike effectively to hurt, and put them at a disadvantage in combat.
If your goal is to be able to destroy your opponent's ability to keep fighting, Muay Thai is the discipline for you.
Traditional wrestling, one of the oldest forms of fighting, is a type of fighting activity that focuses on grappling movements to defeat an opponent.
These movements include clinches, joint locks, throws, drops, pins, and other types of holds.
The art of wrestling dates back approximately 15,000 years. Cave paintings from Egypt and Babylon show wrestlers in battle stances still used today.
This historical value makes wrestling one of the best martial arts to learn for self-defense. There are a variety of different styles and approaches to competitive wrestling. These include Greco-Roman wrestling, judo, sombo, folkstyle, and freestyle, among others. Many of these techniques have been adopted by other forms of martial arts as well as the military.
As with boxing and Muay Thai - or any other sport for that matter - developing a good starting position is crucial. A solid position allows you to ensure the success of all your other movements and techniques.
So let's look at the benefits of wrestling from a military perspective and how they apply to real-life situations.
The benefits of wrestling
There are many things you will learn by practicing wrestling, but arguably the most important is knowing how to overpower an opponent in close contact and, conversely, how to break free from an opponent's grasp.
These are the basic principles of grappling. Here are some of the things you will learn for combat situations through wrestling:
It is important to use your breathing correctly when practicing wrestling. The body needs a lot of oxygen to perform the intensive activity required by the movements of struggle.
Slow wrestling movements should be accompanied by slow breathing through the nose. Then an "explosive breath" can be performed before an attack. It involves inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling quickly.
This first allows the body to have enough oxygen and energy to engage in a fight, but also triggers the "fight or flight" response (in this case, the "fight" aspect ), allowing your innate instincts and quick thinking to aid you in combat.
If you are knocked down, the fight offers you methods to escape.
If you are blocked by your opponent's left foot, move the left foot to the right, while lifting the right knee and putting the right foot on the ground. Then lean towards the opponent pushing off on the right foot and trying to get back up.
Moves like this and others are extremely useful for the military, in case they get pinned down by an enemy.
Wrestling has some effective techniques to put your opponent on the ground. The most typical and effective moves are:
The penetrating kick – a low-angle movement by which an attack is advanced by first placing the lead foot between the opponent's legs.
Then, we go down on the mat with the front knee. At this point, the attacker can grab the opponent's legs and attempt to pull them down.
- Lifting - lifting the opponent as a means of bringing them down. From behind, wrap the arms around the opponent's waist, then lower them slowly to the ground.
- Take-down on one leg - can be used for opponents with a great defense strategy. Performed by pulling forward and grabbing the opponent's back leg, then tripping or spinning them down.
Uses in real combat situations
The fight is based on use in real situations where you are in close contact with an enemy who is unarmed. This can sometimes be the case in combat, and you need to know how to overpower someone without using a weapon.
I personally recommend wrestling for its emphasis on evasion methods. Unfortunately for military personnel, there is always a risk of being kidnapped or apprehended. Knowing how to escape the grip of an enemy can save your life.
Apart from methods of evasion, it also teaches methods for attacking and restraining enemies. This is useful if you need to apprehend someone yourself.
Apart from these unique characteristics of wrestling, becoming disciplined in its practice, developing strength and increasing athletic ability are also must-have outcomes for soldiers and military personnel. If you want to be sure that you can apprehend an enemy in combat, escape yourself, control your breathing, and grow stronger, I recommend wrestling as a form of martial art for you.
4) Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Finally, we have Brazilian jiu-jitsu. With techniques similar to Western-style wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a form of martial arts or combat sport that focuses on wrestling techniques.
Based on the original approaches of Jujutsu and Japanese Judo, it is characterized by ground combat and submission holds.
Many experts consider this form of Jiu-Jitsu to be the best because anyone can use it - children, adults and even the elderly. Loosely translated, Jiu-Jitsu means "the gentle way".
This martial art was created by and for short people around 1914. It gives small fighters the edge over taller opponents.
A potential downside is that there are so many different moves to learn, which means it takes a student longer to achieve black belt status. However, with a little time, anyone can learn to use the techniques well enough to defend themselves.
The Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Learning this form of martial arts has many benefits. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is quite different from the other forms I've discussed so far, so let's review some of its unique benefits.
Target weak points
A Jiu-Jitsu fight usually begins with the opponents controlling the distance. Then, when one fighter lets the other close, they grapple together using a series of moves to isolate the targeted body parts.
One of the fighters will eventually find the weak point of the other through a submission technique that the martial artist cannot undo, and he will then have to admit defeat.
Of course, you hope that in a real military combat situation, your opponent will not be fully trained in martial arts. This automatically gives you an advantage.
As a trained martial artist, it won't take long for you to isolate your opponent's weak spots and use them against them.
Way of life
This form of martial art has many benefits for anyone, whether military or ordinary citizen. Besides being a great workout, Brazilian jiu-jitsu helps develop personality traits and mental strengths that are useful on and off the battlefield. Here are a few :
- Physical, mental and emotional strength
- self discipline
- Improved concentration
- She teaches weight control
- It teaches peaceful yet powerful conflict resolution
- It helps develop goal setting skills
- Allows you to know how to use the exact amount of force to mitigate an aggressive situation
It offers a peaceful alternative for those who want to be able to defend themselves rather than using forceful measures like striking to defeat an attacker.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes these mental aspects of discipline and combat because it is designed for people of short stature. It is based on the fact that even if you are not able to attack people bigger than you in combat, you can defend yourself and escape trouble.
So, if you are a short person and worried about not being able to stand up to a combative opponent, this form of martial art is for you.
Uses in real combat situations
Even though it doesn't have many attack moves, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the best martial art for self-defense, includes some of the best techniques:
- the triangle choke
- Bow and arrow strangulation
- The American armbar
- The strangulation in the cuff
- Cross ankle lock
Some of these moves may not be legal in a jiu-jitsu competition, but they can save your life if attacked in the street.
It is good to learn as many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves as possible so that you have a diverse understanding of how to beat an attacker.
Every fighter is different, with different moves, counter moves, and strengths. The more you know, the safer you will be.
Proper jiu-jitsu training should teach you enough to put someone down at the first opportunity.
The only problem is that if you find yourself in a fight where your opponent doesn't give you many opportunities to put them down to grab them, you don't have a huge arsenal of moves that will allow you to do that.
Essentially, the more fit you are and the more educated you are in your chosen martial art, the safer you will be in the event of an attack. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best martial arts for people of small stature or stature, and one of the best martial arts for self-defense.
But for people of average or larger height and build, learning a martial art that teaches methods of attack may be better for you.
It's not just about fighting
In the end, I told you how to choose a martial arts discipline based on the ability it gives you in a combat situation. But it's also important to remember that picking the best martial arts just to win a fight is missing the point.
Martial arts can help learners develop other great skills and qualities that are especially useful to soldiers and military personnel.
Self-discipline, self-control and improved mental toughness are all results of learning a martial art. People who devote themselves to their study can improve their memory, concentration, focus, and willpower. The learning process also teaches respect, confidence and coordination.
Martial arts don't just teach fighting techniques or self-defense lessons, but they can be an opportunity to revamp your entire lifestyle.
These disciplines are based on ancient Chinese and Indian styles that advocated a hierarchical style of teaching, where more experienced learners taught and guided newcomers, creating a "family".
All learners looked out for each other, respected and helped each other, which fostered a closer bond between all students. This inevitably helps in combat situations, where no one is left to fight off attackers or fend for themselves.
Learning these arts has many benefits that will allow you to grow as a person and a soldier, not just a fighter.
Knowing the fighting moves will never be enough to master these arts. There is a lot of psychology behind combat, self-defense and training.
You need to develop the key traits I've talked about to have the strength and confidence to quickly weigh down your opponent, help your teammates, and win a fight.
Overall, becoming a martial artist gives you strength of mind and naturally builds your commitment, so you continue your education and become dedicated.
This, in turn, helps you become a better person, a better fighter, and a better soldier.
Committing to a program to become a martial artist will help you achieve your goals. Just like in military situations, you must learn to show up, rain or shine, for your martial arts classes.
This routine will not only develop your strength and technique, but also your self-discipline, perseverance and humility. Fortunately, as a soldier, you probably already have a certain sense of discipline, which will be reinforced by the practice of martial arts.
However, discipline does not guarantee victory. You must learn to control your emotions and not be anxious or angry during a fight.
Keeping a cool head will help you make the best decisions for your survival in the moment. Martial arts teaches you to think quickly and rationally and to make deliberate movements in combat.
These qualities make you a mentally strong person and a great fighter: a person who does not give up but who gives his all in all aspects of life. The discipline required - including training in the methods of jiu-jitsu - will help you develop these essential mental strengths, both on and off the battlefield.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the martial arts training methods and their benefits that I experienced during my military training.
This guide is only the tip of the iceberg; there are so many other aspects of martial arts that you will learn by doing, not by reading. So stop wondering "which martial arts are best for me" - and find yourself a trainer in one of the four I've highlighted above.
The best way to get the results you want is to work with a trainer or sparring coach who is very experienced in your chosen martial art method.
A coach will help you stay motivated and push you to work harder. To be an experienced trainer, he will need to respect the lifestyle aspects of these arts and can help you dive into them to reap the full benefits.
I wish you to choose the best martial arts for you, find a good trainer and enjoy all the benefits that mastering a martial art gives you.
Whether as a soldier or as a human being, you will not regret learning these disciplines that will prepare you for life, both on and off the battlefield.