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Crime happens everywhere and doesn’t discriminate based on your age, location, or gender.
While everyone can be a victim, women are targeted more in sex-related crimes, domestic crimes, and random violent attacks than men, with females in the United States accounting for 81.7% of sex-related homicides.
The truth is that the average male attacker will be bigger, stronger, and faster than the average female, and it’s important to acknowledge this reality and prepare for these situations.
There are several courses of action women can take to better protect themselves.
Women can purchase self defense weapons such as guns, knives, pepper spray and self defense jewelry to stay safe and have greater peace of mind. If you'd like to consider arming yourself with an effective weapon, you can read through our list of Best Self Defense Weapons for Women to learn about the pros and cons of our top ten self defense weapons for women.
Women can also lift weights, run, go to the gym, and work on their physical fitness to increase their strength, size, and speed, which will help them fight off an attacker in a dangerous situation.
However, one of the best ways to defend themselves is for women to enroll in martial arts or self defense classes.
Martial arts, combat sports, and self defense classes are the most comprehensive approach for women to learn how to defend themselves.
Women will learn how to physically fight off an attacker with their arms, legs, and body. They will learn how to read and avoid dangerous situations, de-escalate a threat, and mentally prepare for self defense situations. Self defense classes will also be a grueling, intensive workout where women will improve their physical fitness, strength, and conditioning. Lastly, self defense classes empower students and increase their confidence, which can be one of the biggest deterrents in an attack.
What’s Important in a Self Defense Class for Women?
We’ve evaluated our top 10 best self defense classes for women based on several criteria we find most important for females including fighting style, class structure, training regime, accessibility, cost, and personal preference.
Practical Fighting Styles
Practicality and effectiveness of fighting style is the most important criteria for a self defense class for women.
We believe striking is the number one most important fighting technique for women learning practical self defense.
While fighting techniques like choke holds and arm bars can be useful, they are not as important as fighting styles that concentrate on striking.
For example, choke holds and arm bars are excellent fighting maneuvers but how practical and effective are they for women learning self defense for her everyday life? If there is a large assailant attacking you, is your first move going to be to try to take him to the ground and put him into a choke hold? It definitely should not be. The last thing you want to do while fighting a bigger and stronger attacker is go to the ground. In a dangerous situation, your first instinct should be to keep distance from the threat by striking him, so that you can run away and call for help.
Effective striking systems teach women how to strike using hands, arms, feet, legs, and sometimes elbows and knees. Striking allows a woman to quickly and powerfully impact an attacker from a distance, and disable him or at the very least stun him. After the attacker is immobilized from a strike, the victim can flee the scene and call for help. That’s why martial arts with an emphasis on striking rank high on our list.
Class Structure and Training Regime
How a class is taught impacts how good the class is.
An optimal class structure is one that prioritizes physical drills, sparring, training, conditioning, and real life situations. Other subjects like forms, breathing, meditation, philosophy, and culture are important for a holistic self defense education, but they should be taught as a second priority to the more practical areas of self defense.
Cost and Accessibility
Cost will always play a factor in people’s decisions.
While a self defense weapon for women will typically be a one-time cost, self defense classes will be an ongoing cost that must be factored into your monthly budget. It’s difficult to put a price on safety and peace of mind, but very few people would be able to afford several hundred dollars a month on a self defense class.
Your geographic location will play a factor in price, but typically classes should not cost more than $200 per month and ideally that number will be closer to $150.
Here’s our list of the 10 best self defense classes for women:
Judo lands at number 10 on our list of best self defense classes for women.
Judo is a modern Japanese martial art that focuses on grappling (which is close-range grabbing) and is an Olympic sport. It’s known as a “gentle” martial art that incorporates physical, mental, and moral philosophies into its teachings.
Judo can be a very effective martial art for women pursuing self defense. Judo emphasizes close range combat and maximum efficiency while fighting. Maximum efficiency means utilizing your opponent’s weight, gravity, timing, leverage, pressure, and balance, as opposed to brute force to defeat your opponent. These principles can be effective for women as they will typically be outweighed and outsized by an attacker, and Judo teaches its students how a smaller, lighter fighter can take down a larger, heavier opponent.
Judo techniques comprise throws, holds, pins, locks, bars, and other close-range moves to beat an opponent. Judo's exclusive focus on close-range combat can be beneficial for female self defense as many real life attacks are from a close range.
Here is a great visual resource that shows various Judo throws and techniques with detailed animations: https://www.judo-ch.jp/english/knowledge/technique/
As a woman, if you trained in Judo for personal protection, you would be mainly learning how to fight an attacker when he or she has already grabbed you. Your training would be focused on how to use the attacker’s own weight, along with gravity, leverage, and balance, to throw him or her to the ground after they've subdued you.
However, Judo’s main drawback is that it doesn’t involve the use of striking with the arms or legs. The absence of striking is the reason Judo comes in at number 10 for us. While Judo can be a very efficient and holistic martial art for self defense and personal improvement, we can’t ignore the fact that the most effective self defense styles for women will place a large emphasis on striking. Striking allows you to maintain distance from an attacker, and ideally allows you to disable him from a distance without having to engage in close-range combat. While close-range fighting techniques have their advantages, they are less effective when used on someone who is bigger, heavier, or stronger than you. Therefore striking is the best way to fight off an attacker who is larger than you so you can flee the scene and call for help.
Overall, Judo is an efficient martial art that seeks to use less energy and less force, and it can definitely be an effective self defense class for women. However, we would recommend enrolling in a martial art that emphasizes striking, or one that teaches a more comprehensive program that includes striking, like those classes higher on our list, to ensure that you are best prepared to fight off an attacker.
Taekwondo comes in at number 9 on our list of top self defense classes for women. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that emphasizes striking with the legs and feet, and is translated into English as “Kicking”, “Punching”, “The Art or Way of”.
Taekwondo can be a very effective martial art for women to protect themselves against an attacker with its emphasis and employment of kicking techniques. For female self defense, we recommend striking over close-combat as distance is vitally important in fighting off a bigger, stronger assailant. Taekwondo’s use of foot strikes allows you to protect yourself using your longest and strongest weapons - your legs. The martial art focuses on speed, mobility, agility and flexibility which are vitally important in a sudden, unpredictable attack. Taekwondo's best defensive moves would be groin and shin kicks to stun the attacker and run away, or powerful side and roundhouse kicks to the head to disable the aggressor.
If you're interested in learning more about Taekwondo, here's a great resource which goes into depth about Taekwondo:
Taekwondo lacks a few key factors as a self defense for women.
Due to its integration with sports, tournaments, and competitions, Taekwondo training focuses more on winning at these tournaments rather than teaching practical self defense.
Taekwondo includes punching and hand strikes in addition to kicks and foot strikes, but the martial art focuses much more on kicking and foot strikes. This is because Taekwondo is a tournament and Olympic sport, and in those competitions you can only use kicking and foot strikes. Therefore over the years, Taekwondo has evolved to conform and comply to these rules and most modern day Taekwondo schools heavily emphasize kicking. Improving your leg strikes to fight off an attacker is a great self defense strategy, but there are times when using a hand strike is more effective and practical. Additionally, Taekwondo doesn't teach grappling or ground fighting.
Taekwondo schools also place more importance on "breaking" than other martial arts, which means breaking boards or other hard surfaces with kicks. Breaking is important to improve the power, speed, and precision of your strikes, but real life sparring with a partner is more important for practical defense.
Overall, Taekwondo is a great martial art that will allow you to develop superior striking skills with your legs and feet. While the martial art lacks hand and arm strikes and close combat fighting, women who train in Taekwondo will surely be able to defend themselves using a vast array of powerful leg kicks and foot strikes.
8. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a martial art primarily based on ground fighting and submission holds. The art focuses on taking an opponent to the ground to neutralize minor size or strength differences, and utilizing positions, leverage, angles, and techniques to force an opponent into submission.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has boomed in popularity due to the UFC and other televised combat sports, and it’s one of the martial arts that most UFC fighters train in. The art uses joint locks, chokeholds and other submission techniques to beat an opponent. Its importance and effectiveness in the octagon is second to none and that’s why a lot of people are interested in BJJ.
Here is a great resource that shows various Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques in short video clips: https://www.grapplearts.com/the-16-most-important-techniques-for-the-bjj-beginner/
While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the best martial arts to learn for ground fighting, we have to think about whether this type of fighting would be good for women to take for self defense. While there are several benefits like learning how to control one’s body during a fight, training to fight from inferior positions, practicing various holds and locks to subdue an opponent, we have to ask ourselves if these should be the only techniques women to learn for a real life street attack.
In a real life attack, a woman will generally be much smaller than her opponent. Perpetrators tend to target weaker victims than themselves, so this is the nature of most attacks. In a sudden attack, would it be wise for a woman’s first instinct to be to take a larger and stronger assailant to the ground? We don’t think so.
The first fighting instinct and response should be to strike from a distance, fend off your attacker and flee the scene. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s first move would be to take the attacker to the ground which is the last thing we’d recommend you do.
We also have to acknowledge that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may be effective for two opponents of a similar size, weight and strength. The truth is that most of these techniques, holds and locks won’t be as effective on an attacker that is significantly bigger or stronger than you. He’ll simply be able to overpower his way out of a lot of holds and locks.
We also have to understand that BJJ is so popular in the UFC because it’s a closed environment with judges. In the UFC, you can't strike your opponent, flee the scene, and win the fight. You have to stay in the octagon and “defeat” your opponent. In real life, there’s no need for a victim to stay around to “defeat” her opponent. Once your opponent is down, your job is to flee the scene, not finish the job.
While street attacks may end up on the ground, there are steps leading up to the fight ending up on the ground. We’d prefer to train in a martial art that teaches defending yourself at every step of the way, or one that focuses on the initial steps of a confrontation so you can avoid going to the ground at all, where your chances of survival are much lower.
Overall, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the best martial arts for ground fighting and teaches students to use positions, angles, and locks, rather than brute force, to defeat their opponent. The idea that you can win a fight from a traditionally inferior position, like on your back, is remarkable. Real life self defense comprises many disciplines, and ground fighting is undoubtedly one of them. However, a martial art that focuses solely on ground fighting is not going to be the most effective for women. We would recommend taking BJJ with another martial art like Muay Thai that focuses on striking, or to take another comprehensive martial art that covers multiple self defense disciplines like Karate or Kung Fu.
Boxing lands at number 7 on our best martial arts classes, and is a combat sport that focuses on punching. The sport is typically performed with two competitors wearing gloves in a boxing ring, who throw punches at each other for set periods of time called rounds.
At the end of the day, Boxing is a sport, not a self defense class. However, Boxing’s techniques and training can certainly teach you to fight off an attacker and defend yourself in a real life situation.
Boxing is a widely popularized sport that draws international attention due to famous boxers such as Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, and Flloyd Mayweather, just to name a few famous boxers. Due to its notoriety and pedigree, many people will look at boxing to improve their self defense skills.
Boxing is a striking combat sport that focuses only on punching using a basic arsenal of the jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. Besides punching, the combat sport trains fighters in stances, footwork, conditioning, timing, and defensive maneuvers.
Boxing can provide very effective skills for self defense. We utilize our arms and hands more than our legs and feet, and becoming proficiently fast and powerful at striking an opponent with punches can be very effective at protecting ourselves. As harped on throughout this article, we strongly recommend learning striking for female self defense since striking keeps aggressors at a distance, and in a dangerous situation distance is your best friend. Additionally, striking can be fast and stunning to the opponent which will allow you to escape the situation quickly.
We like how Boxing classes are not spread thin between various topics. Boxing classes are pretty much all physical training, repetitive striking, and techniques, rather than other less practical areas of training. Boxing's consistent and intensive training regime will allow you to throw punches from muscle memory faster and stronger than you ever imagined. If a woman consistently trains with boxing, she will become very proficient at her hand strikes and that alone might be all she needs in a dangerous situation. Boxing also teaches you how to avoid being hit using defensive maneuvers and footwork.
Check out this detailed guide on Boxing to learn more about the sport and determine if it's a good fit for your self defense training: https://expertboxing.com/the-beginners-guide-to-boxing
The downside to Boxing for female self defense is it doesn’t involve any leg or foot strikes, close combat grappling, ground fighting, or survival techniques. This lack of an overall self defense curriculum shows that it was created mainly for a regulated sport, and therefore is not the best for female self defense.
Overall, while Boxing has a narrow focus in technique and style, we can’t negate the importance and effectiveness of that single style - punching. Like most of the other martial arts listed above, it’s important to learn a comprehensive self defense program since violent attacks are unpredictable. However, we can say that striking in our opinion is the most important skill to learn for women, and Boxing does a great job of teaching and training women how to punch powerfully and effectively.
Kickboxing comes in at number 6 on our list of best self defense classes for women. It ranks relatively high on our list due to its fighting style, training regime, and class environment.
It's obvious from its name that Kickboxing focuses on Kicking and Boxing for its fighting techniques. It ranks one spot ahead of Boxing for this reason; you can learn all of the Boxing punching techniques, plus a wide array of kicking techniques such as foot jabs and hook kicks.
Kickboxing will train you to deliver powerful, fast, and precise punches and kicks to an opponent. Training also teaches you how to defend against strikes, evade opponents’ attacks, and counter strike using stances, footwork, and blocks.
Many people take kickboxing classes for its intense cardio and conditioning. The training regime is straightforward and comprises of working on striking with a bag or a partner with pads. The sport's repetitive training program allows students to develop superior muscle memory which they can quickly access in a street fight.
You also won’t have to remember various forms, stances, terms, or styles before you learn how to strike. You’ll start off practicing a handful of punching and kicking strikes and repeat them till you are exhausted. Therefore in a sudden attack, your brain won’t have to process much more than punch here and kick there.
Another advantage of Kickboxing is their approachable and accessible class environment. Many self defense and combat sport schools can be male-dominated and intimidating. On the other hand, Kickboxing classes will be attended by many females looking for an intense workout and some basic fighting skills. Therefore the environment, the instructors, and the other students will create a more approachable environment for a beginner female student.
One disadvantage is Kickboxing doesn’t include any ground fighting, grappling, throws, locks, holds, or weapon usage. While we prioritize striking for female self defense, it would be remiss to leave out other valuable fighting techniques and situations.
We live in a fast-paced world where the majority of women who take a self defense class will want to learn how to defend themselves within a few months of starting. Very few other martial arts will train you to strike using your hands and feet as quickly and powerfully as Kickboxing does.
Overall, Kickboxing is an excellent class for women to learn self defense. It combines practical striking, an efficient training curriculum, and a welcoming environment for females to learn self defense.
Here's a link to a brief beginner's guide to Kickboxing styles and techniques so you can see if it's a good fit for you: https://www.infighting.ca/kickboxing/the-ultimate-beginners-guide-to-kickboxing/
5. Kung Fu
Kung Fu is a Chinese term that encompasses multiple Chinese martial arts, disciplines, and fighting styles. It includes popular martial arts such as Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Jeet Kun Do, Wushu, Shaolin, Qigong, and many more.
Kung Fu has been made famous by actors and martial artists such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen through entertainment and movies. Kung Fu is widely taught in martial schools all over the world due to its reputation of being a cool, distinguished, and powerful martial art.
Kung Fu specializes in striking and general fighting. The art comprises strikes with your hands, fists, fingers, open palms, elbows, knees, feet, and legs, incorporating any and all body parts into its self defense training.
It also encompasses blocks, defensive maneuvers, stances, locks, holds, ground fighting, and weapon usage. Besides fighting, Kung Fu also teaches forms, breathing and meditation, conditioning, breaking, philosophy, morals, and culture in its curriculum.
Kung Fu can be a very effective martial art for female self defense. Its focus is general fighting which includes attacking, defending, striking and blocking, and in various situations like from distance, close-range, and on the ground.
Kung Fu also teaches its students about practical applications of self defense in the real world. You learn groin kicks, eye gouges, bone-breaking blocks, and other techniques that would normally be considered “dirty fighting” but in a life or death situation can cripple an attacker and should be used.
The best Kung Fu schools will be ones that specialize in striking and self defense. Kung Fu Schools that teach everything are excellent for a comprehensive approach to learning self defense which includes both practical physical fighting, but also holistic areas such as character development, moral philosophy, confidence building, and spirituality. However, they will spread out all of their teachings and it might take a long time to reach a proficient level of practical self defense. This is the only knock on Kung Fu - there is so much to learn across so many disciplines, that some schools and classes will require several years before students can be comfortable defending themselves in a street attack. Your best bet is to learn about the specific Kung Fu class and style you're interested in, to determine if it focuses mainly on practical fighting training, or if it teaches all areas equally.
Overall, Kung Fu is one of the most well-respected martial arts out there and can be extremely effective for women learning self defense. The martial art focuses on hand and foot striking with training in other important areas of practical self defense. However it also includes some areas like philosophy that people may find gets in the way of how quickly they can learn more practical fighting techniques. If you have the time and are looking for a long-term self defense discipline with character building and overall personal development, then Kung Fu would be a great fit for you.
Read this list to learn about the various Kung Fu styles and if its the right fit for you: https://sportsaspire.com/kung-fu-fighting-styles
Karate is a Japanese martial art that comes in at number 4 on our list of best self defense classes for women. Karate ranks high on our list due to its powerful and comprehensive fighting style, practical application, and rigorous training regime.
Karate, meaning “empty hand” in Japanese, focuses on punching, kicking, striking, and blocking using your hands, arms, feet, and legs. Karate’s focus on striking is an ideal match for women looking to learn practical self defense. And it’s no surprise that Karate was invented for self defense instead of for sport or tournament fighting. It was created in early Japan as a practical way for people to defend themselves against foreign invaders using only their arms, legs, and body.
Karate teaches its students to deliver strikes with as much power and force at the point of impact as possible to disable an opponent as quickly as possible. Training involves repetitive striking of surfaces such as bags, padded surfaces, partners with pads, or hard natural surfaces like wood and stone. In addition to striking, Karate teaches stances, timing, blocks, defensive maneuvers, and some styles teach grappling, ground fighting, locks and holds, and weapons.
Karate teaches an expansive list of fighting techniques including roundhouse kicks, forearm strikes, backfist punches, and foot sweeps, just to name a few. A typical Karate class will include practicing strikes in the air, on bags or with partners, learning new moves and techniques with partners, and basic sparring.
Overall, we like Karate as a self defense martial art for women as it teaches a comprehensive striking program involving both punches and kicks fairly equally, as well as important training in blocking, defense, and general fighting maneuvers. The training regime of Karate mainly focuses on physical training and conditioning, as well as practical sparring and this makes it an ideal all-around martial art for women to learn for self defense.
Here's a cool video on Pinterest showing takedowns at a Karate tournament so you can get an idea of its fighting style: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/836402962032669802/
MMA or Mixed Martial Arts is one of the best types of combat sports women can take for self defense. Why is MMA one of the best combat sports for female self defense? It's a term that incorporates fighting techniques and styles from a wide range of combat sports and martial arts, which is why it’s one of the best self defense classes for women. MMA comprises striking, punching, kicking, grappling, ground fighting, throws, joints, locks, and submission moves, and defensive techniques derived from any combat sport you can think of including all the martial arts on this list.
MMA uses techniques from Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Judo, Taekwondo, Wrestling, and more. While Mixed Martial Arts is more of a term for a fight or tournament, there are several “MMA Schools” and classes that women can take.
Due to the popularity of UFC, MMA gyms might come with a slightly higher price tag than other martial art classes. If you’re willing to pay a bit more, MMA training will get you to the highest degree you can reach for defending yourself in a real life street attack.
MMA's advantage is also its disadvantage. A combat sport that incorporates techniques from every other martial art can be the best self defense class for women. However if the particular class or teacher chooses to focus only on one type of fighting like ground fighting, or spends too much time on certain disciplines, then the class won't be effective for female personal protection. Make sure to observe the class and ask the teacher what specific techniques and styles they teach, and get a breakdown of the various disciplines taught.
Overall, if you don’t mind paying more, and you know what you’re looking for, MMA is certainly one of the best combat sports for women to train for self defense.
2. Muay Thai
Muay Thai, our number 2 self defense class for women, means “the art of 8 limbs” and originated in Thailand. When we factor in fighting style, training regime, cost, accessibility, and practical application, Muay Thai ranks in the top 2 of our list for self defense for women.
Muay Thai is a powerful striking martial art which utilizes every part of your body: hands, elbows, feet, and knees, hence its meaning of “the art of 8 limbs”. Other martial arts like Boxing only teach striking with 2 limbs and even more comprehensive martial arts like Karate only teach striking with 4 limbs. Muay Thai on the other hand was created to fight and attack using any body tool available which is extremely important in a real life street attack. This shows that Muay Thai was created for practical self defense as opposed to Boxing, which was created more for controlled environments like tournaments.
Check out a long list of Muay Thai fighting techniques so you can get an idea for how much emphasis this martial art places on striking: https://www.muaythai-fighting.com/muay-thai-techniques.html
Muay Thai’s main fighting style is striking which teaches students how to fight against an attacker standing upright and from distance. Muay Thai also teaches students how to fight an opponent from the clinch meaning if the aggressor has grabbed you or is holding you - a typical real life scenario where the attacker has subdued you. In this clinch position, you’ll learn strikes, maneuvers and angles with which to attack your opponent and free yourself from his grasp.
Muay Thai’s training regime incorporates intense partner striking drills, bag work, and sparring sessions. Muay Thai classes are typically fast paced, and focus on what will be needed in a real life fight. Muay Thai gyms and schools can be found in most cities nowadays and the class costs make this martial art great for anyone looking to learn self defense as you won't break the bank on membership costs or equipment.
One potential downside to Muay Thai is their lack of ground fighting. Some disciplines and schools will teach ground fighting but it’s generally not taught in a typical western Muay Thai school.
Overall, Muay Thai is one of the best martial arts classes you can take for self defense as a woman. It equips students with an expansive and versatile striking arsenal, teaches practical fighting from distance and from the clinch, and has a training regime that will improve a student’s muscle memory, conditioning, and endurance.
1. Krav Maga
Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art developed for the Israel Defense Forces that comes in at number 1 on our list. Krav Maga is a relatively modern martial art developed in the 1950’s that focuses on real-life practical self defense and uses techniques adapted from several martial arts such as Karate, Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, and more.
Krav Maga classes are focused solely on modern day self defense, which is why it lands on our top spot. The art focuses on effective striking, but incorporates any aspect necessary for real life self defense such as clinch fighting and ground fighting.
Students will learn how to defend themselves in various situations including against multiple offenders and against perpetrators with weapons. Training also includes adopting self defense mindsets such as situational awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation.
Krav Maga is an efficient martial art for women to learn self defense. Each class will involve both physical training via repetitive striking on bags and padded partners, and real life scenarios where you’ll experience being punched, grabbed, choked, or attacked with a weapon.
One drawback of Krav Maga will be the cost of classes. Krav Maga is a specialized martial art, and therefore it’s not widely offered. In a large city, there may only be a few different schools or classes offered, and in a small city there might not be any Krav Maga classes.
Overall, Krav Maga is one of the best self defense classes for women. The modern martial art was created for practical self defense focusing on striking and combines the best techniques and styles of various other martial arts. As you progress, Krav Maga also teaches you about grappling, close-combat, ground fighting, and weapons. The discipline also includes important self defense mindsets into training such as situational awareness and de-escalation techniques.
Learn more about Krav Maga with an in-depth summary about the martial art here: https://www.kravmaga.com/what-is-krav-maga/
Enrolling in a martial art or combat sport is one of the best ways to defend yourself as a woman. Learning to use your arms, legs, and body to naturally and effectively fight off an attacker means that you can protect yourself wherever you go. Additionally, you'll learn how to identify dangerous situations and avoid them, verbally defend yourself, and increase your self confidence in everyday situations.
Unsurprisingly, once you learn martial arts and combat sports, you’ll realize that your self defense capabilities increase ten fold by also carrying a self defense weapon. For example, if you are an advanced karate student, and you also have pepper spray, you now have two levels of defense - the pepper spray that can be used at a 5 foot distance, and then your fighting skills learned via your self defense class. Similarly, arming yourself with a handheld weapon like a Kubaton or self defense ring will simply augment the strikes and fighting techniques you know. Striking an opponent with a normal punch can be effective. But when you’re wearing a ring knife on your fist, your punch is exponentially enhanced and is even more damaging to a predator.
Overall, the key elements to learning self defense is consistency and commitment. Training in any of the martial arts or combat sports above will prepare you both physically and mentally for a real life attack. While some arts will be more practical and effective than others, each discipline will teach you important techniques and fighting styles that can be used in self defense.