Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:November 27th, 2011 11:36 EST
The Best Martial-Arts for Self Defense

The Best Martial-Arts for Self Defense

By Ron G Anselm


As you walk along the top floor of the mall, your high-heels clinking on the hard linoleum floor like they were a hammer pounding repeatedly on a nail you notice the once crowded mall is now down to only a bare minimum of people. Most of those people are heading for the exits to call it a night since the mall is getting ready to close.

You approach the slow moving escalator and step on the next approaching step as it comes up slowly like a Ferris wheel revolving in a circular motion. You step on to that step with caution as to not trip on it as your stiletto high-heels plant firmly on the step waiting to take the slow ride down to the bottom floor of the mall. You notice there is now no one in the mall and then you hear the last page over the loud speaker that the mall is closing in ten minutes to make your final purchases.

As you hear that last page for the night you get that lonely feeling in your gut. You then get the uneasy feeling in your gut that something is possibly about to happen that will just ruin your perfectly fun day you just had. You try to ignore that nagging bad gut feeling because you are trying to put the icing on the cake for the night and go down for the rest of the night with the thought that you just had the most perfect day Christmas shopping which was full of maxing out your credit cards and sucking down that ninety-weight Starbucks coffee.

As you approach the exits that lead to the parking lot you notice the parking lot is not as lit up as bright as you think it should be. Your nagging bad feeling just invaded your gut again and now you are hearing that little voice telling you don`t go out there something is not right. You ignore your bad gut feeling once again and tell that annoying little voice to take a back seat and shut up!

You open the door of the mall and head out to the parking lot in route to your car. You pull out your keys and hit the disarm button to disarm your alarm. You hear the little beep telling you your car is ready to enter without setting off your car alarm.

You now step up your walk from a slow pace to a high brisk as you try to get to your car and in it which is now going to or would have turned out to be your safe zone. As you walk you get that bad gut feeling again but this time you can`t shake it. It keeps nagging at you like it was an old lady angry about getting her Chicken Nuggets order incorrect at the Drive Thru at McDonalds. You also hear what appears to be a rustling sound somewhere in the parking lot like someone was moving towards you wearing lightly fitted tennis shoes.

You finally see your car sitting there as if it was telling you to hurry and get in fast. As you come up to your car and get ready to put your key into the lock to unlock it and get in, suddenly from the front of it pops out something that looks like one of the characters off the old movie Halloween. You freeze in terror and ...

This is all so true and especially no days with the bad economy lots of people out of work and with little to no money. Also is the normal routine around the holidays. It is now a game of survival and there are lots of people out there that are doing desperate things to survive even if that means breaking the law.

The above scenario sounds like something out of a non-fiction mystery but I have seen it and heard about it so many times. Have you thought about what you would do if you ever caught yourself in this situation alone or even if you had your family with you? Most people don`t even think about this happening to them. Nowadays it seems like there is even a greater chance of you becoming a victim. The question is are you going to just sit back and let yourself become a victim? Or, are you going to look at how can you combat this situation if you are ever faced with it?

I have been into the Martial-Arts for over twenty years and have practiced different forms and styles throughout that time. I have also on a couple of occasions used it on the street to defend myself.  It does work if you practice it consistently and train as if you were really being attacked. The one main important aspect of being able to defend yourself in combat and in a fight is to be mentally prepared. You can lift weights 24/7 and practice your style 24/7 and if you are not mentally prepared you will be defeated. The mental aspect comes naturally with persistent practice in the Martial-Arts and with time.

 A lot of people who are interested in taking the Martial-Arts always ask what is the best style to take? This can go into many different answers but in my personal opinion the below styles are the best to practice for self-defense, for a great physical workout, a way to lose weight and for overall fitness benefits.

Western Boxing:

I have read about different opinions on Western Boxing on the Internet. Most opinions say that boxing is not a Martial-Art because it does not teach how to take down an attacker coming at you with a weapon and it does not show you how to take down attackers in general. Most people associate boxing as a spectator sport because that is mainly what it is and boxing is associated with past names like Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, etc. and all these fighters were a part of some of the greatest fights in boxing history. So, most people look at boxing as an everyday competition sport.

But for those of you that have ever taken boxing you know the power behind every punch and the speed and footwork that makes this style for self-defense a lethal entity. First off the late Bruce Lee did say boxing is a Martial-Art and it is. It is also known as the American Martial-Art. Boxers hit hard and most times will take you out with one punch. It also teaches you how to take a punch and speed in both punching and footwork. You can literally end up hitting someone ten to twelve times in a second or two if you are fast enough. Boxing workouts are also the best workouts for losing weight and getting in shape for all ages and body sizes. The next style is for those of you who like the brutality of defending yourself. 

Muay Thai Kickboxing:   

This style is known as the Art of eight limbs meaning in  Muay Thai Kickboxing you use your fists like boxing, your knees, your elbows, and your feet to defend yourself. This style of fighting is probably the most brutal way to defend yourself but does work very well in just about every self-defense situation. You see this style in the new sports craze known as the MMA (Mixed Martial-Arts) I like Muay Thai because it is relatively easy to learn and uses the knees for close range defense, the elbows again for close range defense and of course the power of punching. You can also add in the leg sweeps for take downs and clinching or grappling for an attacker who gets lucky and grabs a hold of you. You can pummel him with knees and elbows and when he decides he has had enough and wants to get away, nope! Ain`t happening. You can lock onto his neck with a grip so tight as if you were hanging from a tree limb a thousand feet in the air and you pound away at his ribs, head, and legs with your knee strikes with such power it`s like he was getting hit with a battering ram. You then throw those front elbow strikes to his head as if he was getting hit with a tree branch and then after he is just about dead you let go and POW! Connect to the side of his head with a right hook that sends him to the canvas, in this case the ground like he was just struck by a Muhammad Ali right hook. This style also has all the benefits of a great workout and a way to lose weight. The next style is one for those of you that like to throw a lot of high kicks to defend yourself.

Tae Kwon Do:

This style of fighting is known as Super Karate it focuses on throwing a lot of high kicks which in my opinion is good but is not for everyone. Tae Kwon Do has all the benefits of Karate and is an effective fighting style for overall self-defense. And it does have all the benefits for getting in shape and losing weight. The only thing about it is training to be an avid kicker in the Martial-arts takes a lot of time. And a lot of people who are not athletic may have a harder time when it comes to balance and coordination. Kicking takes a lot of balance and coordination to be able to place your kick anywhere on an attacker`s body with as little or great of force you want it. Also, in my opinion just kicking puts you in an awkward position because throwing high kicks puts your body off balance. Tae Kwon Do is a great style for overall self-defense it`s just not for me because I am more partial to upper body strikes, takedowns and punches. The next style is the basic complete puzzle for Martial-Arts style of Self-Defense.

Traditional Karate:

Traditional Karate to me is an all-around form that teaches kicks, takedowns, punches, back fists, elbows, knees, etc. and forms all of those weapons into an overall self-defense that can go up against any self-defense situation you may be faced with.

An example of how the techniques in Traditional Karate would work is in this scenario, an attacker confronts you with a gun held to your head from behind. You freeze for a few seconds trying to comprehend this life-threatening situation you are in and how are you going to be able to get out of it and be able to go home to play with your two kids who are waiting for you at home with their baseball gloves on and their little baseball hats turned backwards and all a glow watching the door for Daddy to walk in.

As the gutless punk holds the gun to your head he says in a loud yell, Give me your Wallet!!  You stand there for a second with many thoughts running through your head. Your first thought is survival. Yes, most of the time you want to just go ahead and give him your wallet and hope he will be on his way but you really don`t know if you do this is he going to just let you go? So, your mind kicks into the do or die phase and you go for it! You spin around with your left arm so fast it`s like you just saw a flash of lightening and tried to catch what direction the lightening came from which is virtually almost impossible. You connect with your left arm to his arm holding the gun. Two things can happen here. The first is you have to grab onto his arm that is holding the gun and pull it down away from you where the barrel of the gun is not pointing at you because more than likely the gun will go off. Second, you can hit his arm holding the gun with such force it knocks the gun out of his hand and away from you and him. In either case your main goal is to get control of the gun yourself and take it away from him.

After this is accomplished you throw a front-punch to the bridge of his nose with such force it breaks his nose and shatters his front teeth. You then connect to his mid-section with a front kick that hits with the force of a 747 taking off at 300 miles an hour. Your attackers will get the wind knocked out of him and no one that cannot breathe will be able to do much of anything let along try to hurt you. You then grab him and hit him with a front elbow strike and then sweep his leg and take him down. While your attacker is lying on the ground in pain and cannot breathe you of course call dial 911 and get the police there as soon as possible to put another piece of scum hopefully behind bars.

These are the types of moves Karate teaches and is also a good workout for getting in shape and building strength. I like to take different techniques and strikes from Traditional Karate and put them in my overall style I have developed. The next style uses an attacker`s body weight to your advantage.


Have you ever seen any one of Steven Seagull`s movies? In case you have ever wondered what form he is always using to fight off the bad guys that form is known as Aikido. Aikido is a good self-Defense because it uses moves like Judo does. It focuses on using your attacker`s body weight against him. That is why you see the many throws that Steven Seagull does when he is attacked by multiple attackers. The next style is a Bruce Lee original.

Jeet  Kune Do:

This style of fighting was developed by Bruce Lee who always said that in order for one to have a complete system for self-defense you need to have three basic elements. Kickboxing, wrestling, and boxing in it. Jeet Kune Do to me is almost like Kenpo Karate. It uses a lot of upper body techniques with speed and then adds in kicks. The kicks are not like the kicks used in Tae Kwon Do with the High Kick " philosophy, Jeet Kune Do focuses kicks on the legs and mid-section so you really are not off balance when throwing kicks in a self-defense situation.  The last style that incorporates techniques from the above forms and others is my own style.


My Own Style:   

I started out in Junior High School practicing boxing. I remember one day I was watching either ABC`s Wide World of Sports (used to be on television back then) or one of those channels from what was known as one of the first cable providers in Los Angeles, and that was On T.V. " which showed many sporting events especially big named fights. One fight I was watching was when Sugar Ray Leonard who turned out to be my favorite boxer was going up against one of the many fights he had with Roberto Duran. As I watched Sugar Ray slide around the ring and sting Duran with jabs, hooks, and straight rights I became intrigued with the art of boxing. The way the punches thrown by Leonard were almost like watching an art form. They were perfect in form and flowed into the next punch like water flows so smoothly in a rocky brook.

He also had some of the fastest hands I have ever seen. He would hit you with a flurry of straight rights and lefts and then connect with a left hook, a right hook and then knock you down with an upper cut. I Started trying to practice his style and then became very good in boxing.

After many years of boxing, I wanted to add to my style to make it an all-around fighting form. Back in the military I was stationed with guy who was an Karate instructor and was also the New Hampshire state Karate champion three straight times. This guy could kick you with a side kick and life you in the air a few feet and knock you back ten feet. If he threw one of his kicks and you tried to block it you surely would get your leg or arm broken.

I learned a lot from him and then started taking the moves he taught me and adding them into my own boxing style. I also took moves from Ju-Jitsu, Kenpo Karate, and Traditional Karate and added them into my more recent form of Muay Thai Kickboxing to form an all-around style for working out and self-defense. After about ten years in the Martial-Arts you tend to form your own fighting style and that is exactly what I did.

There are many different styles of Martial-Arts out there. When picking a style to practice will depend on what forms you may see yourself good in. Some examples you may want to consider if you are short and stalky are Judo or Ju-Jitsu, maybe Aikido. These forms again use an attacker`s body weight against him because you are using mostly throws when attacked. If you are short and stalky you will be able to take a firm stance in your center of gravity and use the attackers momentum against him or her if you are attacked.

Other forms include once again Tae Kwon Do if you like to kick and maybe are tall and skinny. Boxing or Muay Thai Kickboxing if you like to use your fists and knees and elbows to defend yourself. The choice is yours.

So, the next time you are out on that late night or Christmas shopping spree ask yourself, Are you confident enough to be able to handle a punk who tries to rob you? Or, are you going to be the next victim that loses and makes the statistics on the eleven O`clock news?