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Is MMA Good for Self Defense?

Last Updated: 04.07.22


MMA is a great sport that helps your physical health, fitness, confidence, and mental health but it is just as good for self-defense. Whether you are at the gym in your MMA shorts, or at home just now considering pursuing this sport, this article will explore the reasons why and the different situations in which MMA can be beneficial in self-defense situations.

To give this subject a fair and balanced look, we’ll also explore some of the reasons why people say that this sport is not always good for self-defense. Thus, if you want to learn more, take a quick look at our comprehensive article.


Versatility and confidence

MMA as a sport is all about allowing the athlete to become a well-rounded fighter even when he or she is on the floor grappling or tussling for a dominant position. Whether the fight goes to the ground, stays in standing positions, or anywhere in between, MMA has so many techniques that use a wide variety of positions that you will be ready for anything.

There is also the fact that this sport is very demanding and will likely take you out of your comfort zone and help you do things that you would otherwise avoid entirely. This can give you a lot of confidence and help you grow as a person. In the case of self-defense, everything is not just about your ability to fight, but also the confidence that you show.

While training for MMA it is not unusual to fight with people that can punch harder and that are faster than you, and that makes it easier for you to handle a situation in which you are confronted by a person that may seem intimidating to you at first. MMA fighters have more confidence and in a fair fight that can decide who the winner will be.

Furthermore, confidence can also help you think clearer since you will no longer find the other person intimidating and that will allow you to keep your cool. You’ll be able to judge situations better and laugh off any punk that might be taunting you, knowing that you could handle him without a problem.

Knowing how to keep a cool head will also help you avoid situations that might be too dangerous for you to handle.




Best MMA fighting styles for self-defense

The best fighting style for self-defense should contain a good combination of grappling, striking, and clinching. Grappling and submission on the ground are extremely useful seeing as many fights can end up on the ground at some point and you don’t want to let that scare you.

Two of the main martial arts that you can focus on if you want to learn how to grapple are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling.

Having experience with wrestling can help you take people down to the ground and avoid going on the ground using takedown defense. Once you get on the ground, things can get a bit tricky and this is where Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can help you since it can teach you the skills to properly defend yourself even when you are down to the ground.

If you are looking to learn striking, you can start with Muay Thai or boxing since both are fighting styles that focus heavily on this aspect. Boxing is probably the most popular MMA fighting style and it can teach you how to move your head to avoid strikes from your opponent as well as proper footwork.

Muay Thai, on the other hand, offers a more comprehensive teaching tool since you will learn how to handle the range of your strikes and those of your opponent. Thai boxing involves kicks, knees, elbows, and punches.

Clinching is an excellent tool to have when you need to fight in the street because it allows you to control your opponent while standing up and in close range. Good clinching can be learned from wrestling, Muay Thai, and Judo.

Muay Thai, in particular, is known for its great clinch game thanks to the powerful elbows and knees that are used in the traditional form of this fighting style. Wrestling is also great since it can teach not only clinching techniques but also takedowns and how to protect yourself from getting taken down.

Judo shouldn’t be ignored either since it can also show you how to control your opponent and take him or her down to the ground.


MMA teaches you how to fight

While MMA is a sport at heart, it has the added benefit that it can also make you a very good fighter. At its core, this sport is a training ground of fighting techniques where only the ones that are most effective and practical are taught. Thus, MMA will teach you how to fight efficiently without nonsense or techniques that just don’t work.

This is quite opposite to other martial arts out there that teach you things that cannot always be applied to real-life situations. MMA teaches you ankle locks, punches, throws, and takedowns, and all can be used efficiently in the case of a self-defense or street fight situation.

As mentioned above, MMA can also help you learn many grappling techniques so that you can neutralize the opponent until the law-enforcement arrive. The ability to respond to a threat appropriately is very important and no other martial art gives you as many tools as MMA does.

There is also the fact that by practicing this sport you will get in shape, lose weight faster and build muscle. This can be very useful in a fight, not only because it makes you feel more prepared to handle it, but also because being in shape can help you avoid being a victim since aggressors will think twice before picking on you.



A street fight can be unpredictable

It’s also important to take a moment to talk about the situations in which you might not be prepared to handle a street fight even if you are the best MMA fighter. The main fault is that while the sport is very efficient in hand to hand unarmed combat, everything can change dramatically if someone has a weapon.

Seeing as MMA is a sport, it does not teach you how to handle yourself if you encounter an armed opponent, in which case a self-defense class can teach you weapon improvisation and de-escalation tactics to help you get out of these tricky situations.

Furthermore, things like hair pulling and eye gouging are fairly common in a street fight but are not allowed in a true MMA fight where there are many regulations and rules that one must follow.

With that said, it’s also possible for MMA fighters to use dirty tricks as well. While the opponent might resort to eye-gouge, groin kicks, or hair pulling, there is nothing stopping you from doing the same. In fact, you can probably use the techniques you already know to think up of new and dirty ways to use the environment in manners that might not be permitted in the ring or cage.

In the end, while MMA does not make you an unstoppable force ready to fight off any opponent, it does give you a definite advantage in a self-defense situation. Thus, if you are looking to pursue a combat sport that is also good for self-defense, then MMA is a choice that most people recommend.



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