Best for self-defense
What is the best martial art or weapon for self-defense? Which is best depends upon five criteria:
- Can you legally have it with you at all times?
- Can it be deployed quickly?
- Can it be used effectively?
- Can you use it effectively?
- Do you have the will to use it?
Let’s consider these five criteria
Can you legally have it with you at all times?
You always have your martial arts skills with you at all times and it is always legal for you to possess them. However, not all weapons are legal for you to carry and no weapon is effective unless you have it with you.
A .44 magnum revolver is highly intimidating and very effective, but, even if you have a concealed carry permit, it is too bulky to carry with you in all situations and, even in states that permit concealed carry, you are limited as to where you can carry, and in many situations, it is not in your best interests to carry, such as at a business meeting with your boss. Therefore, while smaller firearms may not be as effective as larger ones, they are better for continuous carry since they are easily concealed and easier to carry which means you probably will be carrying it when needed, whereas the bigger weapons are not always there when you need them. The same holds for knives and any other weapon. The weapon must be legal for you to carry and you must have it with you at all times.
Can it be deployed quickly?
Your martial art skills may always be deployed quickly. Any circumstances that might prevent their quick deployment would also limit or prevent the deployment of any weapon. For a weapon to be effective, you must be able to deploy it quickly. If a weapon cannot be easily drawn or it must be opened to use, as with a folding knife, then it is not very effective for self-defense. Some say, “Any weapon is better than none at all,” but this is not necessarily true. It is better to have your hands and attention free to use for self-defense than it is to have them tied up fumbling to get a weapon deployed.
Can it be used effectively?
To be effective for self-defense, a martial art must be effective. This sounds simplistic but it is true. If you believe some death-touch, pressure point, no-touch, or other wacky martial art will help you in a self-defense situation, then you are an idiot, and idiots are self-limiting, means they tend to believe and do things that end in their demise. Any martial art you expect to use for self-defense better use punches, kicks, knees, elbows, head butts, locks, bars, chokes, strangles, hold-downs, and anything that may be used as a weapon. If your martial art is limited in its scope of usage, then it will be limited in its effectiveness for self-defense.
For a weapon to be effective for self-defense, it must be able to be used effectively and it must be able to deter or stop an attacker. While firearms can be effective in some circumstances, there are many circumstances in which they are not effective or it dangerous to the public to use them, such as in a crowded room since you may injure or kill innocent bystanders. Whereas, you have more precise control of a knife and will not injure bystanders.
Can you use it effectively?
No martial art or weapon is effective unless you can use it effectively. To use a martial art or a weapon effectively, you must train regularly in using it effectively.
Sparring is a good way to perfect your fighting skills, but self-defense training in real-life scenarios is better. Target shooting at a range is good for perfecting your weapon handling and shooting techniques, but combat style shooting is better.
Anyone may learn to use martial art techniques or to shoot a weapon under ordinary conditions; however, using them effectively when under attack or when being shot at is a different story. Stepping into an attack to stop it is different when you know that if you fail you might be seriously injured. Shooting at a person is different when they are shooting you and you know that to hit them you must expose yourself to getting shot. Whatever you do, you must have confidence in it being effective, or it will not be effective.
Do you have the will to use it?
Having martial art skills or a weapon and being able to use them effectively is different than having the will to use them. Knowing how to gouge the eyes or thrust a knife into the abdomen is different than actually having to do it. The slightest hesitation on your part could mean the difference between your life and death.
Along with developing the skills needed to use a martial art or weapon, you must also develop the willingness to use them when the time comes and face the consequences of your having used them, such as criminal charges or lawsuits, or collateral damage.