What is The Best Martial Art?

By | November 15, 2013

A very common question most people who are new to fighting ask is what is the best martial art to study? And the truth is there is none. If I had to choose, I’d say JKD (but that’s not an actual art). Though some arts are much more practical than others, there are always situations in which you cayon find a counter argument/scenario for where certain arts, no matter how proven will not work.

I very often see videos comparing different arts. Titles such as “Wing Chun vs MMA” or “Krav Maga vs Karate” are all silly things to compare. This is because these arts are meant for different environments. You can’t compare an art developed for street fighting such as Wing Chun or Krav Maga and then expect it to work when you try to apply it into a cage fighting scenario where there are rules and the environment is controlled. Then 99% of everything flies out the window.

You can’t poke people in the eye. You can’t use weapons. You can’t hit them in the groin. So many elements and key factors those arts are based on will then not work and obviously the MMA fighter will win.

However if you switch it up and make the fight happen in a street fighting environment where everything goes, the outcome will be much different. I have seen more than a few real cases of MMA fighters getting ganged up on or just knocked out via a basic jab cross and even worse being destroyed by weapons attacks.

This is not to say MMA won’t work in these scenarios, but it’s unlikely because in spite of all the versatility MMA brings to the table, it still has limits. And those limits must be supplemented with other arts and styles that fix those holes, and vice versa.

This is where the philosophy of Jeet Kune Do (JKD) comes into play. In this approach to fighting which was developed by Bruce Lee, those who study martial arts must study as much as possible from various styles and then take what works and further develop that.

What exactly does this mean? Well it means you should learn the most basic arts which cover the following combat subjects:

  • Striking (boxing is good for this).
  • Kicking (Muay thai)
  • Grappling (Jiu Jitsu & wrestling)
  • Weaponry defense (kali)
  • Streetfighting (Kali, krav maga & wing chun)

In most cases if you know MMA and kali, you should have most of these covered. But that doesn’t mean if you possess a “black belt” in these arts that you’re good to go. You should always try to evolve further by learning more things from other arts and seeing what works for you.

And this leads me to another major flaw in asking what the best martial art is: There is no such thing because what works for 1 person may not work for the other. You are all individuals. You have different tastes, styles, methods and ways of understanding things. Certain moves which work for me will never work for you and vice versa.

One final thing you need to understand is adaptation. If you’re learning how to box and suddenly encounter a fighter who keeps kicking you and you don’t know how to stop it, what’s the answer? Learn how to block kicks!┬áIf you know how to punch, kick but are taken down and submitted, learn how to grapple! Evolve, adapt and become better.

Don’t look to one art as the answer to everything. That is a limiting belief and it can end up hurting you. Always look at various arts, study it and take what works for you and discard the rest as Bruce Lee would say (I am paraphrasing). You can also sign up to the free newsletter and get weekly tutorials on all practical methods of self defense listed above if you don’t have access to schools or training around your area.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please share your opinions in the comments section below!







So what exactly is the answer?



10 thoughts on “What is The Best Martial Art?

  1. Cogan

    Awesome, thanks for this article that clears a lot up, I have been trying to find the so-called “best” or “most effective” art and so thanks for clearing that up.

  2. Nathan

    Thank you! This is something that most people don’t know or understand. Your emails for Kali are pretty great, by the way! I do enjoy them! Maybe we could keep in touch somehow and talk about it. I absolutely love Kali! It’s exactly what I was looking for, so I started to train in it and then I found this sight! So thank you! It’s pretty great!

    1. Vitaliy Post author

      Glad you like it Nathan! You can always email me or post a comment/question on this site to stay in touch.

  3. Vince

    Very cool blog. I agree completely with you on this question. Unfortunately there are a lot of martial arts instructors who are very parochial and preach that their style is superior and no other style is worth learning. Some of their students drink the kool-aid. I’m very much the opposite and I follow the JKD philosophy.

    I like how you point out that being well-rounded and prepared for all the various scenarios is important. I remember training in BJJ back when the UFC was dominated by BJJ specialists and there weren’t many good strikers in the sport yet, and hearing some BJJ purists say, “Juijitsu is all you need since most fights go to the ground eventually.” My answer was, “Maybe so, but all fights START from your feet.”

    1. Vitaliy Post author

      Good points Vince. I’d also add in BJJ, if someone has a knife, the LAST thing you want to do is grapple with them. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have any ground game. As soon as they start stabbing, it’s over.

  4. Bob Reed

    Problems with Boxing classes and making a call of which is the best for me. Trust me, I’m very serious about this, and I trust you.Your help has been great, had I not contact you first I would have drop it.

  5. Bob Reed

    I am at this point have been unable to contact the boxing studio called Headhunters,I have left a message, no reply.
    Iv committed to this Vitaliy and will see it through reguardless of how long it takes. Their from time to time,Smokers. They are come about by way of a Junior Collage here in Twin Falls called C.S.I. and I not looked into it very much, but I will. Should I come up empty handed Ill contact you and go from their.

  6. Prashanth

    vitaliy thankssssssss have This doubt long tym, now I m clear mind.

  7. vivek

    great article vitaliy,

    please clear my following doubt.

    1. which of the arts you mentioned will give me muscle memory and make my moves second in nature within short period of time in training. Even though I love jason bourne!!

    2. I had thought lots of kung fu like wing chun and jkd and jiujitsu are complicated and take lots of training time to make it second in nature.

    3. kali also needs lots of training but i have adopted to stick fighting basics well from your training videos.

    4. I heard krav maga, 52 blocks, and keysi fighting method is based on natural reflex so it is easy deadly and requires less amount of training to be good in that. whats your opinion on that. can we also include these street fighting methods in our syllabus.



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