Is MMA Good for Self Defense? – Our Take!

Is MMA good for self defense our take

Many people think that MMA training alone is enough for self-defense. But is that really the case? Is MMA good for self-defense? Or are these people better off going to self-defense classes?

Is MMA Effective for Self Defense

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Is MMA Effective for Self Defense?

There are different arguments. Some people say you can use MMA in real life and most self-defense instructors say techniques are not ideal to fight, protect yourself in real life. Well, this is quite confusing as many people, who are looking into this information, are beginners and they want to decide whether they should learn MMA or not.

Here is the answer.

Many MMA techniques can be useful in real life and you can effectively protect yourself. But you simply can’t do every technique. For example, people don’t wear gis and wander the streets so how can you expect to do Gi chokes.

When you learn MMA striking techniques you will see that you can use some of them in real life. If it is a good gym, your MMA instructors explain the techniques, movements in detail even though it is not a self-defense class.

Also, you can get private lessons from an instructor and tell him/her to explain the overlapping techniques. For example, certain no-gi submission techniques are excellent for mma ideal for self defense

Keep in mind that MMA includes various types of martial arts that are kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, boxing, and so on and many combat styles can be used in real life. Thus MMA is considered the best choice for self-defense.

More About Street Fighting

You can use many MMA striking, grappling techniques in a street fight. However. you will not be confident when you are fighting with someone in real life for the first time so it is better to have some class experience. Thus you can have more chances to beat your opponent. Even though sparring is not a real fight and is not ideal at all it can still help you with that.

Let’s continue with the differences between a street fight and sparring.

When you spar you need to wear MMA headgear, gloves, wraps, and protective MMA gears. These gears provide protection. However, there are downsides to it. For example, your head is a bigger target so it is easier to punch while sparring. Also, your opponent probably will not go hard and will not perform illegal strikes including rabbit punches as your main goal is to learn and practice martial arts techniques.

With that being said, there is no rule in a street fight. If someone hits you in the groin area, the fight will continue. So you need to adjust defense techniques according to your situation during a street fight. Because your training habits can backfire here. Also, you may face multiple opponents and MMA training certainly doesn’t teach how to beat multiple opponents.

However, there are advantages of MMA training. For example, you learn to be out of reach of your opponent’s kicks, punches, and footwork tricks so here it helps big time.

Also, weight classes exist for a reason. If you are fighting with someone who is smaller than you, you instinctively feel better and confident. If your opponent does not know jiu-jitsu, stand-up fighting techniques you will have a serious advantage in a street fight.

What about the Opposite Situation?

If someone is 10 lb. heavier than you in MMA, he/she belongs to another weight class. So there will not be much strength difference between participants so we can watch more competitive matches.

However, there is not any regulation or rules in street fights so you better pay attention to BJJ techniques and learn to do them effectively so you can actually have a chance to beat your opponent.

Hand to Hand Combat (My Experiences)

If it is hand-to-hand combat and does not include knives, guns MMA training will be more than enough and you really don’t need to learn anything extra. Because after a couple of months of training, you will learn basics, have more experience and be fitter than almost anyone. So you can be quite confident while walking alone in the nighttime.

I lived abroad and had to fight a couple of times so I can keep my wallet. Even though I had fifty dollars in it I am not a guy to allow someone to intimidate me and get my things. I was able to protect myself however I had been training various martial arts, movements (judo takedowns, grappling, elbows) for a couple of years and worked as a boxing instructor. So needless to say I could land a few punches and defended myself.

Even after the second fight, I did not consider taking self-defense classes. But if I did I would feel more confident and know how to defend groin strikes, throat grabs.

Thanks to MMA training, you can get fitter and be more alert during a fight. On top of that, you have more than enough combat skills which are sufficient in real-life situations.

Shortly, MMA training provides you the necessary skills, techniques to protect you in real life and this is huge as we may need to protect ourselves, friends and this can come in handy. This is the main reason why I believe everyone should join an MMA gym.

I started traveling and have been in many cities in Asia and Europe. Let me just say that some parts of the world are not safe at all. However, when you know you can defend yourself, you can walk more comfortably in sketchy streets.

The Downsides of MMA training for Self-Defense

Many people go to MMA classes for various reasons including burning fat, improving flexibility… Some people learn MMA at home.downsides of MMA training for self defense

If the videos are made by good instructors, you can learn movements as long as you practice them a lot and get better at them. However, there are disadvantages to it.

Is your primary goal to protect yourself? It can help in most cases however, there are circumstances that MMA training might not be useful at all. For example, your opponent can have a knife, a weapon or you may face multiple opponents.

Is Boxing or MMA Better for Self-defense?

This question is asked a lot in the community. Shortly, MMA is better. You learn stand-up striking techniques, defense, groundwork, takedowns, and various other techniques in MMA. However, boxing includes only stand-up punching techniques and you generally do defense with gloves, which are 16 oz. and 18 oz., during sparring.

This also can’t be applied to real life. You simply can’t block your opponent’s punches, elbows with the back of your hands all the time as these bones are fragile.Is boxing or mma better for self defense

There is so much more than punching in street fights and MMA teaches you groundwork (jiu-jitsu) techniques, wrestling throws, elbows as well so you can be readier for a fight. Many of these techniques are also taught in self-defense classes. So basically MMA training is quite useful for self-defense.

You also learn defense techniques like defending yourself against submissions and these also provide an advantage over boxing.

To conclude, MMA is considered the first choice for self-defense.

See: Best Shin Guards for Mixed Martial Arts

About Self-Defense Forums

When you read posts on MMA forums, Reddit about this topic you will read a lot of different opinions. Some say wrestling takedowns are not powerful and it is useless. Some say you don’t need to learn to clinch and control the fight… Many of these people are simply wrong.

It is always good to read, learn more when it comes to mixed martial arts however keep in mind that some of these people don’t even have a year under their belt and probably have not learned most of the movements, striking techniques…mma and self defense forums

Thus while reading these comments, posts you should always take it with a grain of salt. Because you don’t want to be misinformed when it comes to fighting.

MMA Classes Vs. DVDs

Many MMA class instructors also teach self-defense and offer private classes. You can learn a lot from these instructors about hand-to-hand combat. Because they can provide tips for protecting yourself in a street fight during your session. The most common one is to get up as soon as possible if you are on the ground.

After you learn a few striking, grappling skills, the instructor can also teach you related moves that you can do in real life so you can use them in a fight effectively. This is a huge deal as you simply don’t have this opportunity if you choose to watch videos.

Also, having a good instructor can motivate you more.

Considering these you should train MMA with an expert or go to a gym.


There are also a lot of MMA DVDs that include self-defense tips. Many are quite solid and I actually bought one when I was living in the middle of nowhere and maybe you are in the same position or you may prefer learning it from videos.

If this is the case or you prefer learning more tips, different techniques from various instructors, MMA videos can come in handy for you.

I compiled these DVDs myself and some of them include tips for self-defense as well.

However, when you punch, kick, do defense techniques, takedowns there is no one to correct your technique and it is another disadvantage of learning from DVDs.

Final Words

You can use many MMA techniques for self-defense.

You learn various striking, defense techniques and some can be used in real-life… Your instructor can also show you movements, defense, and striking techniques that are more suitable for self-defense.

MMA also has other benefits like getting fit, improving cardiovascular health, being alert, and more. So you don’t only learn self-defense. And many of these help you protect yourself.

Do you have anything to add or do you disagree with some of the points above?

Please leave a comment below so we can discuss whether MMA is good for self-defense or not.

If you decide to join an MMA gym and learn how to defend yourself, have a look at the prices of MMA classes so you can adjust your budget.

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