Different Forms of Self Defense

If you are into staying active and healthy there are many options to choose from. This includes anything from general workouts at a gym, running outdoors, or many other things to do. One of these choices is learning different forms of self defense. There are many different forms of self defense or martial arts to choose from. Here we will make a general comparison of these different forms of self defense and martial arts that are offered.

Although these can be self taught to a certain point, you may want to make sure you can take actual classes. This may decrease your chances of injury to things such as the shoulder, knee, or other places. Many martial arts forms focus only on defense while others may look more at actually attacking and harming the intruder. Although the forms which focus more on the offensive side are effective, for it to be a true self defense course, there should be no intent to harm your enemy, but only to defend yourself from their actions through neutralizing the movement. Here is a general comparison of only some different forms of self defense and martial arts that exist.


This is probably the first and foremost thought of from the different forms of self defense and martial arts that one thinks of when the subject of martial arts is mentioned. Karate actually came from part of what is known as kung-fu which is the umbrella for many other different forms of self defense and martial arts. Part of the names’ means open hand.

  • Originated in China and was taken to Okinawa
  • Uses basic movements such as throws, strikes, punches, blocks, and restraints.
  • Has different levels of contact that are used.
  • Specific movements must be mastered to obtain specific ranks.
  • Used for forms of combat during Japanese war.

Kung Fu

The art of kung fu is thought to be the umbrella which many different forms of self defense and martial arts come from. Many different forms of self defense and martial arts have more to do with combative movements, while others are focused more on only defensive. Those focused on defensive movements do not have intent on harming the individual, while other forms have the goal of doing harm to the opponent. Some basic focuses include striking, throwing, and jumping.

  • Train both internally (meditation, heart, mind, spirit) and externally (hands, eyes, and body).
  • Meditation and use of Qi or inner force is also an important aspect.
  • Uses what is called hand-to-hand method which uses soft technique.
  • Some forms use weapons as an extension of the body after basic skills are learned.
  • Many moves that you see on television are not practical and are non combative such as high kicks.

Tai Kwan do

The art of tai kwan do is fairly new when compared to the many different forms of self defense that are seen. Tai kwan do began in South Korea as a part of military training. It came into being in the 1940s and 50s. One of the main focuses concerns both speed and power, which puts an emphasis on kicks, blocks, and strikes. You are trained to use it for combative purposes.

  • Some aspects are used in training such as relaxation, meditation, and breath control.
  • Mental aspects include discipline, justice, respect, and self-confidence.
  • Strikes, punches, holds, and grappling are used.
  • Is part of an Olympic sport.
  • Has numerous styles of training.


The martial art of aikido is fairly new. It came primarily from the other form known as jujitsu. It was started in the 1920s and 30s. One of the main focuses is to defend yourself while keeping the attacker from injury. This requires a harmonious spirit. A focus also involves using your opponents movements or momentum against them without harming them. By definition, it concerns the combination of forces. Ai: Joining Ki: spirit or energy, Do: the way.

  • Uses empty-handed throws, joint locking, as well as swordsmanship.
  • Focuses on different grabs, throws, and pins.
  • Both the attacker and receiver study the same basic principles.
  • Partners use pre arranged forms.
  • Strikes, grabs, and throws used, and pushing is more common than pulling.


Judo is another of the many different forms of self defense and martial arts seen as a more modern. It was developed for combative purposes. A focus of judo is to obtain maximum efficiency while using minimum effort. You are also taught to not resist because if you do so, defeat will occur. It is also seen as an international Olympic sport, so it is used for both combative and competitive purposes. A practitioner of judo is known as a judoka and a large part is based on jujitsu.

  • Focuses on movements such as throwing, grappling, and striking.
  • Falls are also practiced
  • Ten different basic techniques are used.
  • Uses different forms of free practice with a variety of different intensities.
  • Uses Kata which means forms. A variety or pre arranged patterns or techniques are taught through the basic principles.

Ju jit su

This is a form of Japanese martial art which focuses on closed combat. Although it focuses on combative purposes, is practiced on both armed and unarmed opponents. There are also many older and traditional as well as more recent modern forms that are used. Jujitsu has been used on the battlefield mainly to distract ones’ opponents through the use of striking techniques. Also, similar to some other arts, it uses your opponents energy against them.

  • A variety of disciplines and techniques used from old style jujitsu.
  • Works on throwing, pinning, and joint locking.
  • Focuses on neutralizing the attack
  • Other forms of martial arts derived from it include: bartitsu, judo, and aikido.
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The previous martial arts mentioned are only a few of many different forms of self defense and martial arts that exist. Some of these previously mentioned are even hard to find a place that focuses specifically on that art. Tae kwan do, as well as karate are probably the two main martial arts forms that you see schools for, while many of the others you have to look much harder to find a place to train. Although this is the case, in many ways, you may be able to learn multiple arts if you train for only one such as jujitsu or kungfu which many different forms of self defense and martial arts come from.

Depending on what your goal is, you have different forms of self defense to choose from. Whether it is combat in which you mean you opponent harm, defense in which you only want to neutralize the attack, or even competition, there are different forms of self defense for each of these. The previous forms described are only some of many that exist, all of which are effective if done correctly. I hope that this has given a basic understanding of the variety of martial arts, and can assist you in deciding which may be best for you.