11 Best Martial Arts for Self-Defense

11 Best Martial Arts for Self-Defense

7. Boxing

Boxing deserves a high placement in any self-defense article and is often not given its due respect. Western Boxing has origins that can be traced back thousands and thousands of years to ancient civilizations, and there was never a specific moment in time when boxing became mainstream.

It is one of the most “natural” aka instinctive ways for humans to fight, as they have done for millennia. Movies like Rocky sparked immense popularity among younger people towards boxing, but it never really suffered from a lack of spectators or fighters. 

Boxing, as most people know, is a punching-only martial art. Even the punching is limited to a given belt-line, which is usually somewhere around the middle-lower part of one’s abdomen. 

Again, what makes boxing incredibly effective is also its major setback: it is unidimensional. It focuses on striking to such an incredible extent, that it creates art around it, but in the process, also forgets about all the other parts and functions of the human body. 

Boxing is effective for self-defense since you learn a myriad of different skills to a very deep level, which will give you a general understanding of how fighting works and also how to knock someone out if need be. 

You don’t only practice punching bags and speed bags. Much of boxing is about footwork, which is arguably one of the hardest parts of it to master. It is what enables you to keep proper range, to switch stances, to “dance around your opponent” like Muhammad Ali. This footwork will make you incredibly agile and, well, quick on your feet (wonder where that saying came from…). 

Hand-eye-coordination, general fitness, cardiovascular health, and more are just a couple of the benefits you can get by training boxing, all of which can come in handy in self-defense scenarios. 

Another really important aspect of boxing is that it is quite stunning. Say, you get attacked by multiple attackers. You take on the first one, since you see no other way out, and realizing that they are completely untrained, you knock the first attacker out cold or perhaps just neutralize them with a strong hook. 

The rest of the attackers will definitely be more cautious in approaching you. This might not really be the case with grappling-based arts, since going to the ground might just be the last thing you want in a fight, and definitely so in multiple-attacker scenarios. 

The reason boxing isn’t higher up on the list is that it doesn’t use the legs, grappling, wrestling, takedowns, ground-and-pound, or basically anything aside from striking. However useful and effective that is, it is still not the absolute best option, exactly due to its one-dimensional approach. 

Nevertheless, if you train in boxing, you will be confident about your skills in 6 months to a year, and what is even better, it is probably the most widespread art in the Western world. You will struggle to find a more common art than boxing. 

Learning boxing is relatively easy at the basic levels, so the learning curve isn’t too steep, at least not until the professional level, which is more than enough for you to defend yourself. 

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