In my world at least, being able to defend yourself when the moment arises with skills learnt from painting houses and waxing cars is somewhat a romantic notion. To simply bob and weave, while delivering viper fast counter attacks to a would-be ruffian is fantasy. The reality is far more likely to involve cowering, crying and an adoption of the foetal position. That is why the martial arts hold such a fascination, here’s five that really kick ass and I should consider learning…

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is actually the national sport of Thailand and can get pretty rough. Especially when you consider that its primary contact points included elbows and knees. This is stuff that’s really going to sting. Key to being a successful practitioner of the art is having rock solid shin bones. See Kickboxer for details, Jean-Claude shins a tree into submission. Ouch. Muay Thai is considered the most deadly form of kickboxing and is often a base component of any Mixed Martial Art competitor. If you do take this up at some point you’re going to receive a roundhouse kick to the noggin and when the shin connects it’s going to feel like you’ve been clouted with a crow bar.


Few see this as a martial art, but that isn’t fair. Boxing is old school, referenced by the ancient Greeks among others. If you’re a good boxer, when it comes to one on one combat you’re likely to be fine and dandy. The skill set of being fast and accurate with your Oliver Twist’s is likely to end any conflict before it’s begun. Hard and on target, just like Ali said, float like a butterfly sting like a breeze-block in the mush.

Jeet Kune Do

As it was founded by Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do isn’t just an effective martial art it’s also super cool. The literal meaning of Jeet Kune Do is Way of the Intercepting Fist and is essentially a hybrid style of fighting combining the most effective methods of punching, kicking, grappling and trapping. Across these four skills the requirement is to use minimal movement to maximum effect and while being quicker than a cheetah on roller skates. There’s a whole lot out there on this style in terms of the philosophy behind it, however that is largely by-the-by when it comes to deciding on the style’s merits as a destroyer of assailants. It destroys assailants, fact.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

This is a great discipline for the less than stacked stature. It relies entirely on grapples, chokes and limb locks all of which are based on technique rather than strength. The form is a derivative of Japanese judo. Its popularity increased massively during the early 90s and the first five years of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Royce Gracie was successful in the first four tournaments and drew the fifth utilising a style that was almost entirely Jiu-Jitsu. He overcame opponents significantly bigger than he was and altered the sport forever.

Right, I’m feeling enthused. If anyone asks for me I’ll be lifting some weights and doing some stretches in the garage…

Gordon Fletcher when not ordering from the back pages of martial arts magazines researches and writes on gifts for men at Find Me A Gift, the online novelty retailer.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This