The best combat sport for self-defense

Most combat sport disciplines grew up from martial arts. When we’re saying that combat sport training is helpful in self-defense and (real) combat preparedness, does it mean that any martial arts based sport combat (leaving aside non-martial art based styles like Greek-Roman Olympic Wrestling) as good as its precursor Art?

When talking about Judo four sport styles grew up from original Kodokan Judo of Dr. Kano: Olympic Judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Kosen Judo, and sport SAMBO.

As none of those styles should be used in self-defense and police or military combat as-is they all can be used as part of the training. However, they’re not equal at this.

As Brazilian jiu-jitsu (and Kosen Judo, but it’s limited to a few Japan universities and more subjected to Kodokan influence) concentrated on ground fighting (ne-wasa) as an effective way to achieve victory in sport fight, it’s leaving neglected (sure, depends on the individual clubs and instructors) standing techniques and throwing techniques in particular.

Not every sport technique effective (or even usable) in combat and not every combat technique is effective in self-defense. So, as much as Brazilian jiu-jitsu looks impressive in Mixed Martial Arts fights it’s not a good base for self-defense training.

Judo submission techniques (that are cornerstone of BJJ training) are must-have in police arsenal. So, using BJJ in police training is fully appropriate, but it always should be complemented by training in any other style that emphasize standing techniques, be it Olympic Judo, SAMBO, or any combat sport or Martial Art style that concentrates on standing (Karate, Muay-Thai, etc).

Olympic Judo or SAMBO are the best suitable combat sport styles to use for Judo-based self-defense training. Both of those styles providing critical base physical skills when SAMBO giving more attention to ground-fighting (but not on account of standing techniques).

Using Judo-based self-defense training can be effectively based on any Olympic or folk wrestling style (that gives enough attention to standing techniques) as well.

The same considerations (presence of self-defense related techniques) are valid when self-defense training is based on other martial arts.

One more word about Mixed Martial Arts: this is the worse(!) combat-sport-base for self-defense training. When it looks impressive and fearsome on the ring, it developing wrong triggering signals as real self-defense has nothing in common with “cage fight”.

Saying this I’m not implying that a good MMA master won’t be a tough target for an assault, but that (in absence of real self-defense awareness and training) using cage-fight technique in the wrong situation will bring more harm than benefits. The risk is amplified by common perception that MMA is a “real” fighting and its training doesn’t need to be supplemented by anything.

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