20131213-081545.jpgWhat’s the best martial art for self-defense that I can also learn over a short period of time?
Well you see, I can’t exactly give an answer to that question because there isn’t one. You just combined “martial arts” and “learn over a short period of time:” two things that just don’t belong in the same sentence without the words “cannot be” between them. While it is true that certain forms of martial arts take a shorter time to become somewhat proficient in, all forms of martial arts take years, even decades, to master. However, you also said that you also only want to learn for the purposes of self-defense. So, without further ado, I will go over the basic principles behind some of today’s most common martial art forms.
Four of the most common martial arts that are available to the general public are Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Karate, and Judo. Judo puts great focus on various throws and locks, Taekwondo and Karate both employ mostly linear strikes, and Kung Fu is made up of many different styles. For out purposes, the style of Kung Fu we will discuss is a subcategory of Wing Chun, one of the most commonly taught styles of Kung Fu in the U.S.
In the basics of Judo, one has to learn how to use their opponent’s strength against them to execute throws and locks. This method, however, requires extremely close proximity to your attacker. Because you aren’t going for extensive training, this will leave you extremely open to knives and such. The locks and throws themselves also take quite a bit of time to learn, so Judo probably isn’t right for you.
Karate and Taekwondo are probably the most common in the U.S., and the basic strikes are somewhat easy to learn compared to the movements of other martial art forms. Chances are though, that if your attacker does have experience in a martial art, it will be one of these two, so not only will they know exactly what’s coming from a beginner, but they’ll likely be better than you.
Wing Chun is a bit interesting. The form of Wing Chung that I will discuss incorporates short and powerful strikes in rapid succession. With punches, this is accomplished by keeping the elbows tucked in close to the ribcage. Kicking is reserved until perfect openings, as they are more open to blocking, but are also more powerful than punches. If you do manage to land a hit on your opponent, 7-12 strikes before they can react is not unheard of.
Honestly though, if you really don’t want to get into anything too complicated, just take kick boxing lessons. This is the most common form of “street fighting,” and is a very effective tool for defense for both advanced practitioners and beginners. What are the basic aspects? It’s all in the name: kicking and boxing. You may also come to learn various methods of grappling over time. Personally, I don’t consider kick boxing a martial art, but perhaps that’s better for you if you don’t want to go through extremely strict, rigorous, and intricate training.
The ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to defend yourself, though, is none of the above. The best way to defend yourself is to keep out of dangerous situations and don’t go looking for trouble. Yes, there is a very small chance that someday you will need to defend yourself, but as long as you play it safe you should be fine.

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