Martial Arts

Best Martial Arts For Women’s Self Defense {Vs}

The best martial arts for women’s self defense is unfortunately neither form of martial art. They have tried to create martial arts specifically tailored for women’s self defense but realistically it can’t be done. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying martial arts don’t help to improve women’s self defence.

As long as there’s realistic sparring involved all martial arts will improve your self defense. Though this article isn’t about which martial arts improve women’s self defence but the most effective martial art for women’s self defence. Which frankly no singular martial art style has been capable of earning that title in my book.

In this article we’re going to understand why no martial art can realistically prepare a women on the street. Than decided a combination of 2 martial arts, that in my book can realistically classify as the best martial arts for women’s self defense.

Best Martial Arts For Women's Self Defense

Why No Martial Art Can Be Perfect For Women’s Self Defence

Firstly I’m going to start with the most obvious reason, I’m sure you’re already aware off. There simply isn’t a realistic environment in martial arts nor can you create it:

  • When you’re at the dojo, most likely all the people there, are your friends.
  • Clothes are practical to fight in.
  • There are martial art safety equipment such as: gloves, mats, headgear.
  • Supervision.
  • Basically a relaxed environment.

In a situation, where you’re going to need that women’s self defence training most likely:

  • You’re alone.
  • Cloths will most likely restrict your movement.
  • There’s no safety.
  • You’re going to be extremely scared.

Something I’d like to add to being scared is that, it’s ‘important’ to be scared. What I mean by this is basically, don’t be overconfident in these situations. If someone came to steal your purse, just give it to him it’s simply not worth it. I’m specifically pointing this out because, recently there have been some video’s praising woman after beating up muggers.

I don’t want to sound like some salty dude but it’s really giving a bad example, both for women and man alike. The only reason why your women’s self defence training should be used is when, your life or someone else’s is in danger. Though there’s a wide gray area when I suggested interfering for someone else’s life, it really depends on the situation. Anyways back on topic.

I know what I just said was pretty generic. Regardless it’s important to be aware of reality, don’t get sucked into this phantasy that martial arts make you some sort of super woman.

Women’s Self Defence Martial Arts Dojos Simply Can’t Have Aggressive Sparring Partners

Cutting out the previous reason why, women’s self defence martial arts can’t be fully realistic. Obviously we can’t nor would it be practical to fix the first issue. Though the second issue could be resolved by cross training. Which I will explain to further strengthen my argument, why no single martial art deserves the title of best martial arts for women’s self defense.

The issue with martial arts claiming to specify in women’s self defence is:

  • They will mostly contain women, I’m not implying other women can’t be a treat. Though men pose a bigger treat, than women in general. Therefore it would be more practical having a wide range of male fighters to spar against.
  • Fighter’s in these type of martial arts generally fight defensively. Which isn’t going to be the case in a scenario where you’re going to need your women’s self defence training.

Think about it, the purpose of women’s self defence is to either:

  • Be capable of escaping a hold and run.
  • Pinning down your attacker till help arrives.
  • Disarming an attacker’s weapon.

I’m sure that some of you will argue that most probably the attacker isn’t a trained fighter and your right. Regardless you never know what skills they’re going to have, martial arts are becoming more easily available and popular. I recently wrote an article about how you can learn martial arts online, that’s how easily accessible martial arts are nowadays.

What I was saying is, that these martial arts typically will teach you how to escape, pin or disarm an opponent. Though they don’t focus on how to properly control your opponent, escaping these pins or properly fighting with a weapon.

This creates fighters that aren’t capable of fighting aggressively. The common philosophy of women’s self defence martial arts is, not to win but to escape, are you understanding what I’m saying. So how can we fix this?

Cross Training Different Self Defence Martial Arts

The answer seems simple, we find a self defence martial art that has what our previous style lacks.

Aggressive fighters right?

This is where it gets a bit tricky. Unlike when we are choosing our women’s self defence class, which specifically revolves around self defence techniques women might be more potentially susceptible to.

When it comes to choosing a martial art style for the more aggressive aspect needed to stimulate a more realistic scenario. We might get confused because there are lots of aggressive self defence styles out there.

Though we need to choose an aggressive martial arts style, it needs to sort of resemble techniques that would be used by an attacker.

For example, I don’t think practicing kickboxing or a similar style as your primary women’s self defence aggressive martial art would be a great idea. The reason for this is that it’s highly unlikely someone’s going to come assault you by punching and kicking you. Most likely the attacker will want to grab hold of you so that you would not be able to escape and call for help.

So Which Aggressive Martial Arts Style Would I Recommend A Woman To Cross Train?

There happens to be 2 martial art styles that I strongly believe are capable of fulfilling this objective.

MMA and Krav Maga

Both of these styles have:

  • Aggressive fighters
  • Male and female fighters
  • Striking and grappling techniques

Even though I consider both these self defence styles to be the best at replicating a dangerous real life situation for women. They both lack a crucial component.


MMA lacks the use of weapons, this is an issue when your main priority is women’s self defence. Without weapon sparring you can not properly train to disarm weapons, use surrounding objects to their full potential or properly defend yourself with your weapon vs the attackers weapon.

Krav Maga

Krav maga lacks the use of competitions, this might not seem like a big issue to you. Well it kind of is, how will you know that your dojo is actually teaching you realistic techniques. Competitions drive athlete’s to become better at their sport, this is no different for martial arts. The absence of Competitions devoid you of different sparring partners. Sparring partners that better represent a real life treat because of:

  • The environment itself, at the dojo your more relaxed there’s less pressure. While at an event your more tense scared and pressured to win
  • You don’t know your opponents skill set. While training at a dojo you will most likely learn your colleges strengths and weakness. At an event you don’t know what that person is capable of, adding an element of surprise.

What’s The Best Martial Arts For Women’s Self Defense

As I said in the beginning of the article, there can’t be a best martial art style for women’s self defence. Though taking a women’s self defence class or joining a gracie jiu jitsu dojo that tailors for women’s self defence can teach you some great techniques. Than adding MMA or Krav Maga to the mixer can strengthen weakness generally found in these ‘women self defense classes’.



Best Martial Arts For Women's Self Defense {Vs}
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Best Martial Arts For Women's Self Defense {Vs}
The Best Martial Arts For Women's Self Defense Is *Drum Roll Please* {NEITHER}. Let's Understand Why No Martial Art Alone Can Truly Help Women In A Life Threatening Situation. Though Hope Is Not Lost, A Combination Of 2 Martial Arts Is All That's Needed To Have a Functioning Martial Arts Style For Women's Self Defense.
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Martial Arts Nerd
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5 thoughts on “Best Martial Arts For Women’s Self Defense {Vs}

  1. Good point – it is difficult to get “realistic”, especially when people are wary of hurting each other in the dojo. Then again, women I’ve trained with have been some of the fiercest fighters I’ve known!

  2. Wow… are you wrong. We teach Krav Maga Women’s Self Defense in a realistic atmosphere and it’s been proven time and time again to work. By teaching how to defend against the most common attacks, at least you will be prepared. More so if you take classes and not just a seminar. I know this from personal experience. KM isn’t meant to be used in competition… it’s meant to be used in REAL LIFE. Obviously you need to take a few classes to understand.

    1. Hey Nichole,

      Sorry If I sounded as if I’m mocking krav maga. Krav maga is a great martial art I even recommended it in this article as one of the best martial arts for women’s self defence. I’m really interested in learning how you ‘We teach Krav Maga Women’s Self Defense in a realistic atmosphere’.

      Maybe I could implement your teaching strategy into my dojo.

      Evarist Vella
      Martial arts Nerd

  3. “When you’re at the dojo, most likely all the people there, are your friends.
    Clothes are practical to fight in.
    There are martial art safety equipment such as: gloves, mats, headgear.
    Basically a relaxed environment.”

    “You’re alone.
    Cloths will most likely restrict your movement.
    There’s no safety.
    You’re going to be extremely scared.”

    So military training is worthless? Or does the fact they wear proper clothes make all the difference? Women aren’t always alone, and military personnel sometimes are.

    These arguments are absurd and based purely on shoddy logic and not on anything resembling empirical evidence. It’s strange to me that there’s such a huge push to spread this identical message.

  4. This is an informative post giving women better options to protect themselves. In this day and age, it’s important that women know how to do such as we can’t be so sure anymore with trusting everyone and all.

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