Martial Arts for Street Fighting

5 Best Martial Arts for Street Fighting (2023)

What are the best martial arts for street fighting?

Even though I highly advise you to stay away from street fights, sometimes they can not be avoided. In those unfortunate events, it would be good to know how to defend yourself.

These are some of the best martial arts for street fights, to help you defend yourself.

Let’s get started!

5. Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the most effective martial arts out there. The reason for this is, that BJJ uses a lot of leverage, where you can beat a larger and stronger opponent.

Even though beating a bigger opponent in a street fight is unlikely, having decent skills in BJJ can help you out, especially if the fight goes to the ground.

BJJ mainly focuses on ground fighting, and even though a lot of street fights end up on the ground, they typically start standing. BJJ does not really prepare you for a fistfight.

Pros of BJJ

  • A lot of fights end up on the ground
  • Helps you to keep your opponent on the ground and still
  • Might increase your chances against larger opponents
  • Fairly common so gyms are easy to find

Cons of BJJ

  • Does not prepare you for a stand-up fight
  • Fights can end before they end up on the ground
  • Ground is harder than the mat you practice BJJ, making some techniques really dangerous or difficult

Here is a post about BJJ for self-defense.

4. Boxing

Boxing is the complete opposite of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, where it only teaches striking and avoiding getting punched.

While it is true that a lot of street fights end up on the ground, they typically start from a standing point. That is where boxing can really be helpful.

Combining boxing with BJJ could be a good way to handle yourself in a street fight and help to defend yourself.

Or you could just pick some of the martial art options later in this post.

Pros of boxing

  • Prepares you for stand-up fighting
  • Teaches you to avoid getting punched

Cons of boxing

  • Punching someone in the street fight might cause long-term or permanent damage
  • Does not teach ground fighting where a lot of street fights end up on
martial arts

Here is a post about boxing for self-defense

3. Kickboxing / Muay Thai

Even though kickboxing and Muay Thai are two different martial arts, they are still somewhat similar.

From a street fight perspective, they both focus on the same strengths: punches and kicks.

Punches and kicks can be really common in street fights, and both of these martial arts will prepare you for those.

Kicks are what make these two more suitable for street fighting, compared to boxing.

Combining either one of these with BJJ, you are pretty nicely prepared to defend yourself in a street fight situation.

Pros of Muay Thai and kickboxing

  • They prepare you well for standup fighting
  • They teach you to defend yourself against punches and kicks

Cons of Muay Thai and kickboxing

  • They don’t teach a ground-fighting aspect
  • Punching or kicking someone in a street fight can cause long-term or permanent damage

2. Krav Maga

I know there are a lot of people who barely consider Krav Maga as a martial art, and claim it is not realistic, hear me out.

Even though some of the techniques Krav Maga teaches might be unrealistic and chances of succeeding in a real situation might be slim, that is better than nothing.

After all, Krav Maga is designed to help you to survive at all costs. If the situation looks terrible and your opponent is armed, Krav Maga might be helpful.

In a street fight, you will never know whether your opponent is armed. They might have a knife, a bat, or even a gun.

That is where Krav Maga prepares you the best since any other martial art on this list does not really teach you to face armed opponents.

Pros of Krav Maga

  • Can help you to defend yourself against armed opponents
  • Comprehensive self-defense system

Cons of Krav Maga

  • Even if you practice Krav Maga and are faced with an armed opponent, your chances are still really small.
  • Krav Maga schools can be difficult to find
boxing helmet

1. MMA

MMA which stands for Mixed Martial Arts is something that is closest to an unarmed street fight.

Of course, there are some rules in MMA, and pretty much none in the street fights, but MMA prepares you for all aspects of fighting.

Starting from stand-up fighting, MMA teaches punches and kicks. Followed by a takedown and ground fighting, MMA includes all of these. That is why MMA is in my opinion the best option for street fighting.

Another aspect that makes MMA a good option, is the amount of MMA gyms there are. MMA gyms are not a usual sight, and they can be found almost anywhere.

Pros of MMA

  • Prepares you for all aspects of fighting (Standup and ground fighting)
  • Gyms are easy to find
  • You can combine your previous martial arts experience

Cons of MMA

  • You will learn to fight in a ring with rules, in a street fight, there are no rules
  • Does not teach how to defend yourself against armed opponents

Here is a post about how well MMA works for self-defense.

The most important thing in a street fight

The element of surprise is one of the most important things in street fights. If one of the two people having a fight blindsides their opponent, the fight typically ends before it starts.

Here is a video about George St-Pierre talking about street fights. (I am not the creator of this video)

If you are not familiar with George St-Pierre, he is a UFC fighter, and one of my all-time favorites. Here is his Wikipedia page.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a martial art for street fighting

Even if a martial art is not listed here, that doesn’t mean it can not be used for self-defense.

No matter what martial art you decide to start training, it will almost without exception help you, if you end up in a situation where you have to defend yourself.

Another thing to notice is that there are seldom winners in street fights. Therefore, always try to talk yourself out of the situation if possible. Use your skill only to defend yourself.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, street fighting is always bad and even if you “won” the fight, you might end up getting hurt, or hurting your opponent really badly.

The best way to handle a street fight is to talk yourself out of it or avoid those situations in the first place. Running is also a great option, compared to permanent brain damage.

On the other hand, sometimes those situations are unavoidable. That is when it is good to have some knowledge about defending yourself, and martial arts are one option for that.

Pretty much any martial art you decide to practice, should prepare you in some way to defend yourself.

Read also: Which is better for self-defense, MMA or Muay Thai

I hope this was helpful, have a wonderful day.

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