Best Martial Arts for Self-defense and Survival–Our Top Picks

Survivalists are people who prepare for possible negative future circumstances. While the survivalism movement prepares for disasters such as floods, bio-attack, the end of the world, and other possible circumstances, they also recognize that they must stay alive in the present to be able to survive future attacks. This is why most survivalists learn to handle various defensive weapons.

Knowing how to shoot or gun or use any other weapon is good, but you might not always have access to them in unique situations. That is why most survivalists also take self-defense classes. You might be effectively planning for a flood or a bio-attack, but the truth is that a bad situation such as a mugging or an armed robbery attack can end your life.

Survivalists highly value the knowledge of self-defense and martial arts, and if you intend to be one, you should pick a martial art that is uniquely suited to you and your abilities. This article has been put together to show you some of the best martial arts for self-defense and survival. Enjoy!

Best Martial Arts for Self-defense and Survival

Best Martial Arts for Self-defense and Survival

Below are some of the best martial arts you can choose to learn.

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

This is one of the oldest martial arts forms in Japanese history. It was developed for war in the later years of the 15th century, and it has become one of the most popular fighting styles in the world.

The popularity of this martial art in modern-day is largely due to the Brazilian style of Jiu-jitsu developed and perfected by the Gracie Brothers, hence the name “Brazilian Jit-Jitsu.”

This fighting style relies majorly on grappling, immobilizing your opponent, locking him in a series of perfected moves, and choking him out. MMA fighters have been known to use Brazilian jiu-jitsu tactics to make their opponents submit.


This one is quite popular, and it has been a popular sport for many decades now. Great boxers like Mike Tyson, Mohammed Ali, Anthony Joshua, and Floyd Mayweather have graced our grand arenas.

Historically, boxing is considered as old as humanity; recreational hand-to-hand combat dates back centuries ago. This form of fight mostly includes punching the “hell” out of your opponent.

However, there are still many skills that need to be learned before perfecting the art of boxing and using it to protect yourself when the need arises. Counter-punch, long-range jab, close-quarter punch, and so on.

Although this form of martial arts doesn’t have the flair and skills of other forms, it can be a powerful force if you have the patience to master it truly.


If you are looking for a martial art that allows you to disable bigger opponents with minimal effort, then judo is just right for you. Judo means the “gentle way” in Japanese, and it was developed by a young Japanese boy who wanted to avoid and disable bullies in school.

Kano Jigoro started his martial art form to reflect his calm nature, and this martial art form would later go on to be an Olympic sport.

Judo does not teach direct attack moves; it teaches you how to redirect attacks from opponents and disable them without exerting too much of yourself.


Another form of martial arts that teaches you how to protect yourself with minimum violence is Aikido. Aikido was developed in the 20th century, and it was introduced to Judo students in France in 1951.

This fighting style teaches you how to use a quick combination of grabs and throws to disarm your opponent. A well-trained Aikido student can effectively immobilize an enemy in a swift manner and without any blood or injuries. Aikido also teaches you how to fight with weapons.


Another fighting form that might pique your interest is the Sambo martial arts form. Sambo was developed in the defunct USSR, and it is translated as “self-defense without weapons.” There are three types of Sambo; the combat sambo, the sport sambo, and the freestyle sambo.

The combat sambo is the original Sambo that was taught to military men in USSR. The sport sambo is used in sports competitions while the American Sambo Association developed the freestyle sambo. Sambo combines moves from Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, and its form is more aggressive than most martial arts forms.

Muay Thai

If you are looking to learn a more aggressive or versatile form of fighting, you should consider learning Muay Thai. This fighting form is also known as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” It is a unique combination of boxing and kickboxing.

The practice of Muay Thai involves you striking your opponent with your hands, feet, elbows, and knees. Muay Thai is focused on the attack, not a defense, and it should be practiced only by experts and trained students.


If you are in great shape and you are looking to learn a simpler martial arts form. Taekwondo is a Korean fighting form that started in 1940, and it focuses on speed, long-range jabs, and kicks. These kicking techniques are mostly focused on your opponent’s head. Taekwondo is typically taught to younger children because they are in the right body shape to learn this martial art form.

Jeet Kune Do

Bruce Lee formed jeet Kune Do. This fighting style is a freestyle martial art form, and it stems from the philosophical views of Bruce lee. Mastering this art form is nearly impossible because the technicalities are not clear.

However, learning it means that you know various fighting forms and can apply your creativity to them in a real-life situation. In Jeet Kune Do, anything goes.

Learn more about self-defense HERE.


Learning how to defend yourself is an important skill, and it can save your life on more than one occasion. As a survivalist, you have to learn how to defend yourself physically first before adequately preparing for coming problems.

This article has outlined some of the best martial arts forms available today. You should do further research on these fighting forms and pick the one that best fits you.

For suggestions or queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.

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  • Isaac McMahon

    Isaac McMahon was born and raised in New Orleans, and after experiencing the destruction of his home by a flood, Isaac developed an interest in survival. His parents lacked the knowledge of preparation for a disaster such as a flood and struggled to survive. The tragic incident fueled his passion for survival and prepping. Then eventually, Isaac entered the law enforcement field and retired from it at a young age. After that, he opened up a store located on New Orleans’s outskirts, catering to the military and law enforcement. He ran it for a decade until he decided to retire. Today, Isaac is an empty nester and lives with his wife and two dogs. Besides contributing excellent content to Survival Straps, Isaac runs in the park with his two dogs and studies genealogy.

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