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Best Martial Arts For Women: 9 Forms Contemporary Gals Study

Karate Lady

Last Updated on July 17, 2024

For many people, men are the first thought that comes to mind upon hearing martial art. However, martial art is not an exclusive masculine activity.

Martial arts are excellent for building women's confidence as well as boosting their self-esteem. 

Women who'd like to lose weight more effectively find themselves curious about how a combat system can increase core strength.

If you probably wonder what's the best martial arts for women, check out our overview of the different martial arts and see what's best for you.

An Overview Of Women's Most Popular Martial Arts

Cultivating the right attitude is crucial if you consider getting into martial arts. Aside from protecting yourself and your loved ones, martial arts are also about many other things.

It can empower women and develop character through discipline. Therefore, partaking in such activity includes spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects.

But understanding each of the styles available is what it takes to come up with the right choice of what martial arts to learn first. So, before you begin your journey toward becoming a martial artist, let's find out the most recommended combat sports for women:

1. Jeet Kun Do

Jeet Kun Do

Jeet Kune Do is one of the eclectic styles popularized by Bruce Lee, a well-known martial artist and actor. Its rise to popularity began after Bruce Lee's death in 1973.

The art is all about defense by interception, which many individuals find helpful since more cases about women falling victims to street violence arise.

Jeet Kune Do is the best defense for women facing potentially dangerous situations, integrating the best techniques and strategies of karate, judo, and jujutsu. 

The style has no formal structure; you only practice the techniques through sparring sessions. Students learn the basic boxing punches first, hitting the attacker at close range, straight in the eyes using their fingers.

Likewise, you discover primitive fighting methods to prepare you to deal with attacks more efficiently. Besides, you can take advantage of the self-defense techniques, such as groin strikes, throat strikes, sidekicks, or back kicks.

2. Boxing


Boxing can be an effective combat sport that entails more than trading punches. Its objective includes hitting and knocking over your attacker with minimal injuries.

The main focus of boxing is learning how to avoid punches, allowing you to escape or counter the attack.

But to do this, it is imperative to master the appropriate footwork, stances, and timing. Nevertheless, this sport isn't all about fighting, contrary to the perception of some men and women. 

The body and mind can benefit dramatically from boxing, from relieving stress to losing excess fat, strengthening muscles, and improving endurance.

It is a physical activity consisting of consistent, repeated movements that can contribute to your cardiovascular health. Moreover, your fists are crucial weapons in boxing, so it's best to wear padded gloves to avoid fractures.

3. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Women can find themselves in dangerous situations. Such women are often victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at home rather than in street fights.

In such cases, these women benefit from self-defense methods to get them out of danger, and it's when martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu come in handy.

Today's competitive environment is why most schools offer classes like Brazillian JiuJitsu, initially Japanese martial art.

Its grappling techniques are similar to the logic and strategy in a chess game. Such combat style displays the considerable influence of Japanese wrestling. 

If boxing focuses on avoiding punches, BJJ's fighting style emphasizes overpowering the opponent even if the attack comes from behind you. Students learn by replicating real-life fighting conditions, wherein they knock out or choke the attacker.

Otherwise, as a martial artist, you get the opponent to submit, which is the real challenge in BJJ. Most attackers have considerable upper body strength, making them detrimental opponents. It's good that BJJ allows you to tackle and control your attacker to submission in a ground battle.

4. Karate


Like BJJ, karate also originates from Japan. Essentially, it entails a fighting style that is powerful and comprehensive, with practical application and a stringent training regimen.

Karate makes a suitable choice for women who prefer less contact with their training partners.

Some would often confuse karate with kung fu, but these are two different martial arts. Aside from the differences in their origins, kung fu focuses more on defense, while karate employs linear movements in attacking the opponent's weakness.

Karate takes advantage of fighting styles that highlight striking arts, joint locking, and ground fighting. While it's least common, throwing the opponent is part of karate's fighting strategies, practical if you prefer fighting on the ground to throwing blows.

Since karate is skill-reliant in overpowering brute force, an accurate blow at the right time is more effective than counting on physical presence alone. Such a combat sport resorts to skill utilization in overpowering strength, with footwork drills and progressive striking ranges.

5. Judo


Judo specializes in close-range grabbing techniques as a form of defense. If movements are executed correctly, petite women will find it handy in battling bigger opponents than them.

It significantly accentuates technique over strength, which goes a long way with all forms of martial arts.

Athletic movements relying on advantage and the right timing is how it works for judo than using brute force. Although in judo competitions, part of the rules prohibits you from grabbing your opponent from the waist down.

It offers versatility -- judo is suitable for many body types. Unlike other traditional combat styles, competition is an essential aspect of judo. You will likely notice participants throwing or pinning each other on the mat.

Judo differs from karate and tae kwon do since it relies more on grappling, throwing, and rigorous strategies than punches and kicks.

6. Muay Thai

Muay Thai

If you are interested in various kickboxing styles, then Muay Thai is a well-suited combat sport. It is famous for the fighting method that uses elbow and knee strikes, teaching short and long-range kicks.

One doesn't merely learn the core principle of Muay Thai overnight or in one sitting, as it could typically take years to master.

Women engaging in Muay Thai are now widely popular worldwide; some even join competitions. Despite its undesirable reputation due to violence, many Muya Thai practitioners can attest to its benefits to fitness and health.

The sport promotes lean muscle development, boosts mental health, and enhances confidence. Besides, it teaches clinch fighting, perfect for self-defense.

7. Taekwondo


Taekwondo is a Korean combat sport that consists of powerful punches and quick attacks. Unlike karate, which focuses more on hitting the middle and lower parts of the body, taekwondo involves high and jumping kicks.

The sport restricts hand attacks but allows arm movements for defense. You will learn push kicks, flying attacks, and spinning.

Taekwondo is an Olympic-style, hard-hitting sport where you will learn to kick fast and with precision. You will be comfortable with such restrictions of limited hand use if you have already experienced boxing and Muay Thai training.

You will use no weapon or grappling methods in taekwondo, although it will include some take-down techniques, joint locking, and vital point striking.

8. Krav Maga

Krav Maga

Illegal moves in subduing the opponent, such as throat strikes, groin strikes, and more, are not unlawful. It makes Krav Maga distinct from other combat sports, giving its practitioners more advantages than an MMA fighter.

Imi Lichtenfeld, an Israeli military, developed krav maga and referred to it as the official fighting art of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Nowadays, police forces worldwide find Krav Maga a reputable, easy-to-learn combat method that uses kicks, punches, and throws instead of defense.

Therefore, krav maga is one of the few fighting methods specifically developed for urban and battlefield combat. The art teaches its students to quickly and effectively deal with attacks and comes in two categories. 

The first one is the self-defense krav maga, which teaches how to prepare for defense in the most common attacks. This krav maga category uses the bear hug position to choke the opponents.

The second category is the combat krav maga, where a belt system is in place to grade the practitioners.

9. Wing Chun

Wing Chun

Yongchun is a Chinese fighting method, well-known for its Cantonese name, Wing Chun, when outside of Asia. Wing Chun was classified as part of a boxing system due to its striking techniques using the hands or feet.

It became popularized because of Yim Wing Chun, a legendary character and a talented student of Ng Mui, the founder of Wing Chun art.

This combat style uses more punches than kicks while teaching stable stances and close-range fighting that favors the hands. Practitioners distinguish Yongchun with its functional movements in action and defense.

Choosing The Right Martial Art For Women

Many women have their hearts set on learning a particular style. If you find yourself like that, I understand your willingness to go considerable distances to ensure that you do.

Nevertheless, check out these things you must likewise consider when choosing a suitable combat sport for you: 

Know Your Goals

You will have several options if you wish to engage in martial arts. But choosing which martial art is well-suited for you depends on personal goals and preferences. First, you must start with the right mindset.

Martial arts can never be an ordinary entertaining hobby, and as such, it would help identify your goal. Ask yourself what you wish to achieve, whether getting into shape, getting through self-defense situations, or gaining more confidence.

MMA teaches different fighting skills, and it's only practical to choose the martial art that gets you closer to achieving your specific goal.

Identify Your Limits

Besides familiarizing the fighting system each martial art class entails, understanding its background and the experiences of female martial artists from trying each style is necessary.

Different martial art styles have distinctive techniques and approaches. 

It's imperative to know your limitations before deciding what class to take. Each martial art style's speed, force, skill, and precision must suit your physical strength.

You can always pick other martial arts that are not physically demanding if you have already tried one that doesn't match your endurance based on your human anatomy

Studying combat sports helps you understand the natural functions of your human anatomy to identify your weak points. You can use your most vital points to deal with opponents and protect your vulnerable body parts more effectively.

Conduct A Research

Becoming proficient in all the fighting skills can sometimes take months or years. You will find it practical to invest time and effort before deciding what style to learn. It only makes sense to choose the right martial art for you, start from the beginning, and master it before trying another.

You can start by hitting the library or conducting online research. However, no books, articles, or videos can replace a martial arts class. You can learn the best footwork when doing a roundhouse kick with an instructor.

Knock-Out Point: At times, there are instances you need to have a side-arm (i.e. baton, short club, etc.) to act as your supplemental weapon. We prepared an article listing the top self-defense forms specifically for this topic. Proceed here -- Stick Fighting Martial Arts.

Watch This!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which combat sport is suitable for self-defense in females?

Many women feel most vulnerable in a dangerous place; hence, it benefits every female to learn effective techniques for self-defense.  Krav Maga and Muay Thai are best for women's self-defense.

However, we find that jiujitsu outperforms these two in learning self-defense for women. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is excellent for understanding grappling arts. It teaches women a close combat system for protection when an attacker grabs and throws them for a ground battle.

What is the most reputable martial art?

There are several best martial arts for women, and each one is reputable depending on every individual's need. MMA teaches women self-defense and a combat system that prepares them for situations that make them feel most vulnerable.

Krav Maga is best for street fighting techniques, and mixed martial arts is suitable for fitness goals. One of the most vigorous fighting skills is the striking techniques of Muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu is excellent for combating bigger and stronger opponents.

What is the martial art that is ideal for beginners?

Boxing is a straightforward martial art that a newbie might find comfortable, to begin with, and requires minimal physical strength. Brazilian jiujitsu is the best martial art that teaches beginners simple techniques helpful in a real fight.

Muay Thai is among the excellent martial arts for beginners, including kids, since it's the easiest to master. Lastly, aikido is the least violent martial art and is ideal for mastering discipline, while Jeet Kune Do teach beginners basic boxing punches and fighting quickly. 

What is the most recommended martial art for petite girls?

Mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, boxing, Wing Chun, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are among the best martial arts for women with petite figures. These sports help small women benefit from the attacker's force, like how their mobility allows better reach to their opponents in boxing. 

Wing Chun is beneficial to petite women for its short kicks and punches in close-range battles, while Muay Thai helps them neutralize their attacker's advances. Lastly, mixed martial arts is the reputable jack of all trades with integrated martial arts techniques suitable for short women.


You'll never know when you'll be in dangerous situations. Women's self-defense skills can come in handy at such desperate times.

Aside from self-defense purposes, deeper knowledge of the entire art teaches you discipline and gives you more confidence. However, to maximize the benefits of your experience, you need to choose the best martial arts for women.

Checking what martial arts classes are available near you might also come in handy. Once you pick on a martial art, see if its demands match your abilities.

Experts recommend it's best to master a skill before trying another instead of attempting different styles before picking what seems best.

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