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What Style MMA Do You Suggest?


Back in my home town in Ohio, I took several years of Karate and Kick-Boxing. I enjoyed it, but I'm looking for something different.

What do you guys recommend for learning some real street fighting? Something that would be practical for anything from a bar brawl to serious self-defense? I'm not looking for a Y class on how to trip somebody and run away, but rather something with some real contact, sweat, and grit.

What styles do you guys recommend?


Muay Thai.


I have done karate and "traditional" jujitsu - both were fine as long as you look at them in an open honest way. Anytime now i get a chance to train its wrestling,thai boxing and some ground based stuff - basically they all have you sparring and there's a good vibe from doing them - you know straight away where you're weak and what works/does'nt work. Most of all enjoy it and have fun.


Generally, look for training that relies on bag, pad, focus mits and continuous sparring as major tools. Be very wary of any place that has too much mysticism, techniques that are too deadly or spends more time doing forms/katas.

The instructor is more signifcant than the style. You can find very practical instruction in a style that most advice would lead you away from.

With all that said some styles that tend to have a higher percentage of what I mentioned above are

Striking based:
Muay Thai

Grappling based:

Less common
Kali and silat
Krav Maga (if the instructor is good)

Remember any of the sport styles will require some mods to be reasonable in a self defense situation.


As the old saying goes, "It isn't the style, its the fighter." Karate can be a wonderful style of street self-defense, but a lot of what you learn isn't something you can take out and use tonight...it takes time to develop. If you can find a real certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor, that is excellent. Chet Schemahorn in Lagrange, IN, which is not far from the Ohio-IN line up north. He has Rorion and Helio's signature on his certificates.

As far as kata goes, kata is wonderful for street self-defense, BUT not for something you can use tonight. They hold a lot of hidden type moves that can take years to unearth and train for use, it is rewarding, but not quick. So if you are only looking for something you can use tonight, I suggest against it. My advice is to train with Chet or another GJJ instructor for now...and start learning karate and its katas for later. That way you have a constant flow of knowledge for years and years to come.


I'm gonna say rolling around on the ground during a street fight is really dangerous, but that's just me. I'd say Krav Maga or boxing/muay thai.


I will agree with the above posters in that the instructor is more important than the art. You need to find a place with the emphasis on what you are looking for.

Some places offer a great workout, but not much in the way of practical self-defense training. Others are sport oriented. I currently train with Charlie's Combat Club, who use a Kenpo facility. Nothing these particular Kenpo guys do could be considered street-defense oriented.

Overall check out the instructors and schools in your area. I have had good experiences with Jeet Kune Do and kali/escrima. With Kali/Escrima make sure they teach actual Panantukan though, not Kenpo with sticks or something.



My current area is actually the Seattle area. Thanks for the great ideas so far.


First learn boxing, then learn muay thai--if you have the motivation and skill you will be a damn good fighter. if you want the full package--take grappling(ju-jitsu) too.


Take something that is grappling and throw based, because you already have skills in kicking and striking I'd say.

I'd recommend Jeet Kune Do, based on its trapping skills (trapping of opponents hands, very useful), and it has a bit of grappling too.

I am not so keen on Krav Maga because of what I have seen its techniques in real world are less than optimal, but that was years ago, it might have evolved, certainly it is a good idea to have real world oriented situational training ie getting choked, headlock, knife at throat etc.. .... also I don't know what sort of trainers are around in the USA for varying styles. KM does however aim to keep it real.

Basically you want to build up reflexes that will save you in a situation where you are attacked unexpectedly and you are drunk, tired etc.. and possibly weak, you want a response that is automatic, takes the opponent out with minimal effort. Imagine learning a system based on strength etc.., then getting mugged after a hard session at the gym, when you can hardly walk.

I'd also recommend Bas Rutten's survival or street defense dvd to look at, that is the sort of thing to look for regarding situational defense. I am not sure where you would learn that in the US, or what other styles might teach that sort of thing.

Note also that Pride and UFC are not completely realistic because too many real weapons are removed - headbutts, kicking people on the ground, biting etc.. so don't get carried away with anything you see on there.

And stay away from things that are based on groundfighting. It is good to have that skill, but going to the ground should NOT be your strongest skillset or preference in the real world. On the ground, your opponents' skillless mate can stomp on your head and end it for you in an instant. Also, the ground is dirty and you can pick up germs. Your ground skills should be based around getting OFF the ground ASAP.

Don't write off Kung Fu either, although there are many traditional styles that are a bit restricted, there are as many variations as there are instructors, some are more oriented to real world.

I think your best bet is JKD though. You'd come out of that with great kicking, striking, trapping, a bit of situational stuff. The trapping reflexes especially if someone throws a sucker punch out of the blue, very nice.


I would agree that rolling around on concrete or bar floor would be bad, especially when you are in the guard and getting kicked in the head by the dude's buddies.

The best skill to learn is how to avoid fights in the first place. Nobody wins in a fight. 2nd option is straight up knifing somebody.


Ah. If you are in the Seattle area give Northwest Kali and Jeet Kune Do a check out. Their site is www.nwkali.com . I highly reccomend them. They have classes in BJJ, JKD, Kali and Muay Thai. They are located in Federal Way though, so I hope that helps.



I don't know about which kind of fighting is best. But I know what kind I like to watch the most. Ultimate Surrender. I don't think you would be allowed to join.

www.ultimatesurrender.com (not safe for work, or kids, or if the GF or wife is close)


That is exactly why you should learn a grappling style first. In grappling arts during live sparring you practice everyday how to counter takedowns and how to get up out of bad positions. In striking based arts you don't learn to to prevent takedowns and if you do you don't spend much time training it against a live opponent. If you are in a fight how much good is Boxing or Muay Thai going to do you when you opponent takes you down and starts ground n' pounding you? The greatest thing about being able to grapple is that you can decide where the fight takes place not your opponent. So you can keep it standing or if you need to you can take him down and quickly finish him and get away.

Although I admit there is no "best" style I believe you should try to train in both a grappling and striking style to supplement eachother. Better yet find a gym that teaches a form of MMA or Pankration.

-Jayson Virissimo
ASU Pankration Club


For grappling its hard to beat Gracie's style and for stand up it hard to beat Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do.
After you get a couple black belts in each, you will have learned first hand that you want to avoid a fight if posible. Justwalk away and be the bigger man. If you still havent found what your looking for then buy now you will have met the requirement to study DIMMAK and providing its a legit teacher who will teach you(not to many left), you cant get any more dangerous then this.


Find a place that teaches everything at once... Sherdog.com has a pretty good database, MMA.TV is your best bet though.

Otherwise, I would progress in this order:

Muay Thai

--If so desired:

Dog Bros. Stickfighting

You learn some wilderness surivival skills and how to shoot, you're a damn Spartan.


If you have a "Straight Blast Gym", or any of their affiliates. You'll have the best training on earth imo.


I'm going to have to disagree with you on that.

Best thing for getting sucker punched is learning how to take a damn punch.

Myself and two other friends got jumped by 10 guys recently (long story), and I ended up getting sucker punched when everything jumped off...

Funny part is we're all pretty well trained fighters and fended them off, actually kicked their ass for the most part. But I have a fracture in my skull.

I feel the sooner you progress to actually full sparring the more prepared you are for a fight. Taking a punch with 22oz gloves is NOTHING like taking a real hit.


here are good choiecs: FMA, Jeet Kune do, Krav Maga.

However, the best thing to train are your instincts since you can forget everything you know in a real fight


Couple of blackbelts in each? Dude, it typically takes 8-10 years to get a BJJ blackbelt. Relson Gracie runs a school here in Hawaii, and he just gave a blackbelt out in November to a guy that has been with him for 16 yrs, pretty much the entire time he's been here...there're a few brownbelts with 10+ years in. It is a fairly lifelong commitment to the sport.