Is MMA Good for Self-Defence?

Loads of people are taking up MMA these days, but is it actually good for self defence? Let's find out!

Is MMA Good for Self-Defence?
Wade McElwain

Written by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2023-11-30

Is MMA Good for Self-Defence?Icon

When it comes to self-defence, the effectiveness of various martial arts disciplines is a subject of debate. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has gained significant popularity, showcasing a blend of striking and grappling techniques from diverse disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, and more. But does its prominence in sports translate to practicality in real-life self-defence scenarios? In short, is MMA good for self-defence? Oh yes it is!

Understanding MMA’s Approach to Self-Defence

Versatility and Adaptability
MMA’s core strength lies in its versatility. It integrates techniques from different martial arts, allowing practitioners to adapt to various combat situations. Its emphasis on both standing and ground fighting enables individuals to handle confrontations that might start on their feet but end up on the ground.

Realistic Training Environment
MMA training typically involves live sparring sessions, where practitioners test their skills against resisting opponents. This realism helps in developing the ability to perform under pressure, a crucial aspect in self-defence situations.

Assessing the Practicality for Self-Defence

Striking Techniques
MMA incorporates striking techniques like punches, kicks, and elbows. While these are effective, solely relying on striking may not be sufficient in real-life confrontations where multiple attackers or different environments are involved.

Ground Fighting
One of the distinguishing aspects of MMA is its proficiency in ground fighting. This skill can be invaluable if a self-defence situation leads to the ground, as many altercations do. However, it’s essential to note that in self-defence scenarios, staying on the ground for prolonged periods might pose risks, especially in unknown environments or against multiple assailants. Most fights end up on the ground, so knowing what to do can save your life. 

Female MMA Pose.jpg

The Mental and Physical Benefits

Self-Confidence and Mental Resilience
Training in MMA not only equips individuals with physical techniques but also instills mental resilience and self-confidence. These qualities are invaluable in deterring potential attackers and maintaining composure during high-stress situations. Being mentally tough and calm are key in potential physical situations, MMA will help with this. 

Physical Fitness and Conditioning
MMA training demands high levels of physical fitness. The rigorous workouts improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall conditioning, making practitioners more capable of defending themselves. It’s gruelling, tough, but you’ll feel better in the end for it. 

Supplementing MMA with Other Skills

Situational Awareness and Conflict Avoidance
While MMA provides essential skills, self-defence extends beyond physical techniques. Practitioners should also focus on situational awareness and conflict de-escalation strategies to avoid confrontations whenever possible. MMA is great for teaching you how and when to ‘walk away.’

Legal and Ethical Understanding
Understanding the legal and ethical aspects of self-defence is crucial. Simply having the skills doesn’t imply unrestricted use. Knowing when and how to use self-defence techniques within legal boundaries is equally important. You can’t just punch someone in the head, you need to reasonably defend yourself, as opposed to becoming a weapon yourself. 

Conclusion: Get Training Kids!

MMA undeniably offers valuable skills and attributes for self-defence. Its emphasis on versatility, realistic training, and mental fortitude can be instrumental in various situations. However, it’s essential to recognise its limitations and the need for a holistic approach to self-defence.
Individuals seeking to enhance their self-defence capabilities can benefit greatly from incorporating MMA techniques into their training regimen. Nevertheless, combining these skills with a comprehensive understanding of conflict avoidance, legal considerations, and other self-defence disciplines ensures a well-rounded and effective approach to personal safety.
In essence, while MMA serves as a potent tool in a self-defence toolkit, its true effectiveness lies in integration with a broader spectrum of self-defence strategies and knowledge.
So if you’re looking to up your self-defence game, starting with MMA is a good way to protect yourself.

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.

More articles by this author