What is the best fighting style for self defense?

I’m 5’10” and around 160lbs. So I’m not small, but not large. I want to study a good self defense form of martial arts that can be applied in the real world (street fights). I’ve heard Kenpo karate is excellent for this. What do you guys say.
If it’s important I’m a Taosit.

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18 Responses to What is the best fighting style for self defense?

  1. Nechro says:

    I think the best defensive style is aikido.

  2. Alastair K says:

    no not karate or tae kwon o these are sports and are aggressive in nature and not really “self-defense” Aikido is excellent I’ve studied this yo-shinkin is best not that kie aikido crap it’s superb for knife attacks’ bottle attacks and soon there is no punching no kicking Steven Segal is the best example of Aikido may i also recommend what some regard as the best form Wing Chung Kung Fu

  3. theavatar says:


  4. tarmanarmos says:

    Any style that uses a opponent’s size and weight against them, Judo and Aikido, would work best for you!

  5. katana172 says:

    Please disregard what Alistair K says about karate and TKD, as he has absolutly no clue, and is obviously just relating what he has read on here in other answers.

    If it is the real Kenpo karate then yes it is an excellent style. Traditional karate and Tae Kwon Do are not aggressive in the least until after you have made the commitment or been forced to defend yourself. There is a difference between self defense and street fighting.

    A street fight is a clash of two ego’s that requires 2 willing participants. 99% of them can be avoided if 1 person refuses to fight and walks away. the other 1% is where self defense comes in and you have absolutly no choice but to defend yourself.

    Any style will work for this provided the following:

    1) You have agood instructor.

    2) Your school does realistic training with progressive resistance from your partners.

    3) You train hard and correctly.

    There are many answers on here about how to find a good school and instructor and what to avoid, just use the search.

    A style is just a tool, it is up to you to make sure it is used right, because styles don’t fight, people do.

  6. Miah says:

    any style should teach you how to defend yourself in a real threatening situation. no one style is superior, all have advantages and disadvantages. If there was a “superior” style, then people would just study that and nothing else. my best advice is look at what is available in your area, then read about those styles to see which you want. some, like TKD, will focus more on the sport aspect but you wiil still learn self defense and get in great shape. kenpo karate is very well rounded using a lot of striking. styles like judo or jiujitsu will use more close grappling techniques and have become very popular and effective in UFC because of the emphasis on ground fighting. get a good description of each style in your area and try a few classes to see which style you prefer. most offer free trials.

    aikido is a lot more gentle and gets a lot of crap for being fake and useless. a good aikido school wiill teach you self defense using throws and off balancing similar to judo and jj, however it wont be as physically demanding. It takes a long time to actually be useful, i wouldn’t recommend it for just starting out unless you have like a knee injury or something and can’t be as active. read a lot about aikido before trying it and make sure you have a real school and not one of those cult schools that teach mind techniques and other nonsense. they have nothing to do with real aikido and are giving it a really bad reputation.

    Edit: being “taosit” shouldn’t matter

  7. The Coach says:


  8. Mito Sensei says:

    Kenpo Karate is an excellent choice as are other styles of authentic Karate, especially the Okinawan versions. Krav Maga, Jujitsu, and Muay Thai are also good. I have also heard good things about Sambo and Hapkido.

    Most authentic martial arts taught correctly are better than no training at all. So find a school you are comfortable with and will fit your schedule.

  9. Bluto Blutarsky49 says:

    the best art is one trained REALISTICALLY.

    meaning you find a gym and teacher that trains you against resisting opponents.

    depending on where you live this might be harder to find than others. I suggest you check all the schools in your area, then cross the crap ones off the list (the ones that don’t train realistically) then go with the teacher you think is best, then use style as a marker after that.

    odds are unless you live in a big city, you won’t be picking between “styles” as there might not be that many options.

    if you don’t know what looks and is “realistic” go to a boxing or muai thai gym for striking arts, a judo dojo watch thier randori, bjj, sambo, etc. if you are unsure as to what is, generally a gym that trains a sportative art with realistic rules (this is why tkd doesn’t fit- the point sparring rules mimick a game of capture the flag more than a real fight) will train realistically even if the coach is a bad coach/teacher. a bad coach or teacher training realistically is better than a bad coach/teacher not training realistically (there is no such thing as a good coach who doesn’t train realistically- that is part of what makes them a good teacher/coach).

    if you are cherry picking for a particular style, then you can easily tell the diff, later.

    EDIT: that goes for hand to hand, keep in mind that any real self-defence situation is likely going to involve multiple attackers or a weapon in which case hand to hand is secondary (you need to know how to hold onto your weapon and pull it out- thats where unarmed fighting comes into play).
    Your best bet for REAL self-defence- where you are REALLY in danger and not just stroking your ego, then any small concealed weapon that you are PREPARED TO USE is best (which must still be trained realistically) with some unarmed training coming into play as it relates to use and deployment of that weapon. also as a back up if you are not carrying the weapon with you (depends on weapon and the state) you should learn some minimal unarmed and figure ways and objects that can be improvised versions of it.

    the first self-defence tool in ANY case is going to be awareness, training your observation skills might be something to do here.

  10. Your Mom says:

    krav maga probly

  11. mac1hull says:

    Chinese Kung Fu or Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.

    Okinawan Karate is good too.

  12. SonicS says:

    Judo Or Hand On Hand Combat Very Effective Can Break Bones And Hurt People Alot

  13. CM77 says:

    Many people will disagree with me, but I think the easiest thing to learn for self defense is boxing. My reasoning is simple: You learn to give and take punishment. Boxing also gets you in shape in case you need to run away. If your worried about being taken to the ground or multiple opponents, it’s easy to make creative adjustments to your training to prepare for those situations. No one art covers all the bases. Train smart, be careful and AVOID TROUBLE.

  14. Ben B says:

    I would recommend Aikido. It teaches you to defend from weapon attacks, (something that i believe is missing from karate, but please correct me if i’m wrong). It places emphasis on controlling your attacker and restraining him, rather than beating the living daylights out of him, which could land you in court!

    As it uses the attacker’s momentum against him, size and strength are not important.

    Alternatively, you could go in a completely different direction and try parkour. This is not a martial art, but a discipline which teaches you to find a route over obstacles etc., allowing you to flee from your attacker and avoid confrontation.

  15. Joseph says:

    Kenpo is good for self defence. If you are going to be the aggressor then I would not recommend kenpo.

  16. draygin says:

    American Kenpo Karate is by far the best STREET self defense in the US today. It incorporates Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing, wrestling and Chinese Kenpo. Ed Parker found that traditional training was unrealistic in it’s defense aspects. While everyone else is talking about cross training, they are still 50 years behind Kenpo.

    If you can find a school that has Frank Trejo in from time to time that’s even better. He does something they are calling Kenpo Fusion, taking Kenpo leaps and bounds again over other arts. It also is the best in it’s mutiple attacker training. I know from experience. 18 years worth.

    Kenpo DOES cover all the bases.

  17. J says:

    Your height and weight have nothing to do with your ability to defend yourself. If you’re looking for the most effective self-defense, then American Jiu Jitsu is for you. It covers virtually every possible scenario you could find yourself in. This is the system used by the FBI and virtually every local law enforcement agency in the NYC area.

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