Martial Arts for Self-Defense: The Honest Truth (REVEALED)

Martial Arts for Self-Defense

By Adam Williss

Here’s the hard reality about Martial Arts and Self-Defense:



Because different martial arts train for different purposes.


There are WAY too many people in martial arts… teachers, schools and practitioners who claim that their martial art is good self-defense.

This is particularly true some of the most popular martial arts today.

They say, “my martial art wins in competitions therefore it is the best for helping you in self-defense situations against an attacker”.

That’s like saying an apple is an orange. After all, they’re both fruit, right?

Apples and Oranges

Just like knowing the difference between types of fruit, you also need to know the difference between martial arts.

That’s why we said that different martial arts specialize in different purposes.


If you want to know which martial arts are best for self-defense. You need to know which martial arts teach self-defense oriented programs.

You need to learn no-nonsense knowledge… you know… the kind of information that actually saves you when it all hits the fan…

Not the type of martial art that will win you a trophy in a tournament.

You need to be very specific about the type of martial art you train.

Which Martial Arts are Best for Self-Defense?

In order to know which martial arts are best for self-defense, first you need to know which martial arts to stay away from. If practical self-defense is your goal for learning martial arts, then you need to keep it simple.

No Combat Sports

Its true. Combat sports, the most popular martial arts today, are not the best martial arts for self-defense. If a martial art focuses heavily and participates in competitions and tournaments, its current purpose is sports. Forget about what a martial art’s history may have been or how popular a martial art may be. If you want a martial art for self-defense, look at what they do now in order to find out what its current purpose is.

Some of the most popular combat sports today include:

  1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  2. Muay Thai
  3. Wrestling
  4. Boxing
  5. Mixed-Martial Arts
  6. Tae Kwon Do
  7. Judo

Remember that popularity doesn’t equal self-defense. It simply equals popularity.

Another disqualifier for a martial art is if they do alive training. This is why if you want to train a martial art for self-defense, you can’t train a “dead” martial art.

No Dead Martial Arts

Dead martial arts are those that don’t do “alive” training. In other words, they don’t do sparring of some kind with a live resistant partner. Therefore, dead martial arts (or martial arts schools that don’t practice alive training) don’t learn how to apply their martial arts’ concepts or techniques in real time against uncooperative partners. Sparring gives students an “alive” way of applying and pressure testing a martial art.

Sometimes a martial art which is usually good for self-defense can have schools which don’t have alive training. When choosing a martial art you should ask if it participates in sparring of some kind or some kind of alive pressure testing between uncooperative partners.

Some martial arts train for tradition’s sake, for meditative purposes or to preserve an art. While these are valid reasons to train martial arts, if this is their goal then they aren’t self-defense driven.

Martial Arts for Self-Defense

A few martial arts that train for self-defense include:

  1. Wing Chun
  2. Krav Maga
  3. Jeet Kune Do
  4. Escrima/Kali/Arnis

There are more, but these are the four that I’ve seen over the last 28 years of my martial arts training which I’d recommend.

Based upon my experience, Wing Chun is the number one martial art for self-defense. Unfortunately, there are also Wing Chun schools who don’t spar so you have to ask the individual school before starting.

Now you know the truth about martial arts for self-defense.

These simple truths aren’t rocket science.

The problem is when martial arts schools try to pawn themselves off as good for self-defense. They purposely confuse you by saying “our martial art is good for this, that and they other thing.”

This is when people with good honest intentions of learning a martial art for self-defense can get hurt or even killed.

I know full well how running a martial arts schools isn’t easy. I know what its like to fight hard to make enough of a profit to justify staying in business. That’s why so many of these martial arts schools throw everything they can at the wall trying to stay a float. They need all the help they can get.

But truth is still truth.

If a martial arts school spends most of their time training for something else than self-defense, stay away from it if self-defense is you goal.


If a martial art trains for tradition’s sake or to preserve an art or says they are too deadly for sparring, look somewhere else.

Whether they concentrate too much on tournaments, competition, making money by trying to be everything to everyone. or whatever, its taking too much time away from honest self-defense training.

That’s why, more than anything, you need self-defense concepts you can trust.

Here are 3 Self-Defense Concepts Everyone Should Know