Home LIFESTYLE Self Defence Vs. Sports Martial Arts

Self Defence Vs. Sports Martial Arts

Martial arts

Despite the widespread adoption of self-defence and sports martial arts, there is a wide gap between the training processes and abilities required for each platform. This post describes the difference between martial arts and self-defence.

What Is Self-Defence?

Self-defence involves using physical or non-physical techniques to protect yourself from harm. Staying vigilant and avoiding high-risk situations can often prevent the need for physical self-defence. These techniques include strikes such as punches or kicks, blocks, grappling, and throwing techniques.

In addition to physical techniques, self-defence includes verbal communication to de-escalate a situation. It may involve using strong body language to create boundaries and avoid physical confrontation.

Self-defence is not just about physical techniques or verbal communication. It also includes being mentally prepared for a dangerous situation. It means cultivating a mindset of confidence and assertiveness and learning how to manage fear and stress in a high-pressure situation.

What Is Martial Arts?

Martial arts refer to physical techniques and disciplines designed to train individuals for combat and self-defence. Martial arts disciplines include various techniques and practices, such as strikes, kicks, throws, grappling, joint locks, and weapons training.

Martial arts emphasise discipline, focus, mental fortitude, physical strength, and agility. Martial arts training typically involves regular practice drills, sparring, and partner exercises to develop muscle memory, reflexes, and stamina.

Martial arts can improve overall health and wellness by enhancing cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, and coordination. The practice can also provide a means of personal expression and self-discovery, helping practitioners to build greater self-confidence and resilience.

Martial arts practitioners can learn to remain calm and composed under pressure, control their emotions, and persevere in facing challenges. These skills can be applied in martial arts and all areas of life, including academics, relationships, and professional pursuits.

Martial Arts Versus Self-defence

Basic self-defence techniques are taught in classes for anyone – including the elderly and those with physical limitations – which is not always the case in martial arts. It is not a sport but an intense form of exercise. Yet, martial arts training has the potential to enhance one’s self-defence skills vastly.

Martial arts can be practised with or without weapons. The latter, which originated in China, emphasises attacks with the feet and hands or wrestling, whereas spearmanship and swordsmanship are examples of the former. Many automatically think of self-defence tactics used in and associated with Asian countries.

Main differences

  • Self-defence is for safety and last-minute situations, while martial arts are more for fitness and competition.
  • In contrast to martial arts, which require training and physical prowess, anyone can practice self-defence.
  • Unlike martial arts, which can include physical and armed forms, self-defence only consists of the physical form.
  • Self-defence has a practical purpose, while martial arts are generally recreational.


Understanding the distinction between martial arts and self-defence is crucial before committing to one or the other. Before taking up martial arts, educating yourself on both is a good idea.

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