What martial art is best for fitness

Expert creates ranking for BILD | The 10 most dangerous martial arts

“Take things as they come. Hit when you have to hit. Kick when you have to kick. "(Bruce Lee)

Martial arts have exerted a huge fascination on people for centuries. Almost as old is the question: which martial art is the most effective, the deadliest, the best?

Martial arts expert Andreas Leffler (43) created a ranking of the most effective types of fighting for BILD!

Leffler has been actively training martial arts since 1988. He has 14 dan awards in ninjitsu (a martial art that goes back to the ninjas). He was a martial arts expert for the German film distribution company "Transporter 3". Leffler has written dozens of books on the subject of martial arts, including the novel “Schlachtentänzer”, and he is the editor of the magazine “Warrior”. Here is his analysis.

Fighters vs. Martial Arts

There are a few things to keep in mind when making a list of the most dangerous martial arts.

Very important: there are always two people fighting against each other. The type of fight does not primarily determine the strength of a fighter. What matters is how much he has trained: how many years? How many days a week? How many hours a day?

Then it matters how good his coach was: How much does he know about real fighting? Did he fight himself? Does he know what he's talking about?

And it depends on the attitude with which you go into a fight. Fighting is at least 50 percent a matter of the mind.

If you want to go to the cinema with your girlfriend, then you may have “cinema” in your head. The attacker is aggressive and wants to fight. These settings meet in a second. The question is: can one mentally adapt and defend oneself quickly enough? Even people who have been training martial arts for years cannot always do it.

Further questions when it comes to “the best way of fighting”: What are the objectives? What type of fighting is best for a particular application?

In war you have to kill someone as quickly as possible. Security company employees are sued immediately if they treat someone too harshly. In a self-defense course, women learn how to keep a rapist at bay. And when I go into the ring, I have to fight particularly hard and effectively within certain rules.

So the question should be: What is the best type of fight for me and my goals?

The 10 most dangerous martial arts

The first four are types of combat that involve constant fighting. You fight how you train. And if you fight all the time in training, you also fight well in reality.

1. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) - the best of all martial arts

MMA is perhaps the most dangerous martial art right now. A good fighter can do the full range of punches, kicks and ground fighting.

If a fighter goes down, holds can be used there and the hit can be continued. If you want to achieve something, you have to fight in the ring - and that's a tough number.

The fighters are usually very tough opponents. Not only can they strike, but they can handle it if they are hit. It then comes down to things like: Am I falling over now? Can I still react reflexively? Will my head stay calm when I'm hit? You learn that at martial arts.

In addition, the fights are carried out in a metal cage - it looks impressive. When the metal ring closes behind you, you have to be pretty cool to stand your husband or wife in there.

2. Muay Thai - full contact with knees and elbows

Muay Thai and similar Southeast Asian combat systems are usually very tough. There is always full contact fighting, always full of attack and always full of men - a bit like MMA, only without a ground fight.

In contrast to kickboxing, knees and elbows are used in addition to hands and feet. An elbow in the face can decide a fight relatively quickly.

The use of the knee can also be decisive in a fight, especially if the fighters are of different sizes.

3. Kickboxing - full contact with hands and fists

Kickboxing involves kicking and punching with feet and fists. It's a pretty good martial art. I only put kickboxing in the third position because "only" is fighting with arms and legs in quotation marks. In contrast to Thai boxing, there are lighter contact variants.

Nevertheless, the same applies here: If you train constantly for the fight in the ring, you will probably also fight well on the street because you have already mastered the psychological side of the fight.

4. Boxing, wrestling - traditional European forms of fighting

Boxing and wrestling are far more dangerous than their reputation. They are often completely and wrongly forgotten in the course of modern self-defense courses and Asian types of combat.

Of course, boxers and wrestlers are essentially limited to one fighting distance. Yet they learn to fight extremely effectively in their discipline. It is not for nothing that the saying goes: don't box a boxer and don't wrestle a wrestler!

The next five are more or less classic styles that involve more or less fighting. But they have interesting, direct and realistic stylistic approaches. As there is a deluge of similar, novel, improved, or redesigned systems today, let them serve as examples for their respective category.

5. Jeet Kune Do - the mother of all hybrid systems

Jeet Kune Do is the fighting style developed by Bruce Lee. I took it as an example for the different hybrid systems.

After Bruce Lee's death, Jeet Kune Do became very popular. He had looked at various martial arts and developed his own martial art from them. The mixed martial arts later continued the same in extreme ways.

Back then it was much more difficult because you couldn't get to know the martial arts that easily. For example, if you really wanted to learn boxing, you either had to train with a boxer or, with a lot of luck, you might have found a book.

Today you go to the internet, do two clicks and you can look at any martial art. In addition, there are dozens of schools for different types of combat in every city - that was not the case in the past either.

For that time, the idea of ​​Jeet Kune Do and the associated development were groundbreaking. Then there was the extreme ambition of Bruce Lee, who basically spent his entire life training.

6. Filipino Martials Arts - Escrima, Kali, Arnis

Filipino martial arts like Escrima, Kali and Arnis are always very realistic, very direct and very hard. They are therefore very suitable for self-defense.

Actually, these methods are not a sport, but a combat system that the population used successfully against the Spanish conquerors in the past. Fighting is done with fighting sticks about 60 to 65 centimeters long.

But that's only the surface: It's also about fighting with knives and machetes or the unarmed application of the techniques.

If the stick fight is fought with full contact, as is usual in some schools, that's a pretty blatant number.

7. Krav Maga, Wing Tsun - quick and direct self-defense

In Israel soldiers are trained with Krav Maga for hand-to-hand combat. In this country, realistic self-defense systems such as Krav Maga or Wing Tsun are taught to people who do not want to be in the ring all the time.

In a condensed course or a longer training course, participants learn how to defend themselves if they are attacked on the street. This includes practical techniques, clever, economical movements and strokes.

This enables women to defend themselves against physically superior opponents - according to legend, Wing Tsun was invented by a woman. These systems are very effective and effective.

But I didn't write Krav Maga all the way up because people who are constantly in the ring simply have a completely different view of the nature of the fight.

The hand-to-hand combat training that you get from the Israeli army is, of course, a different matter - for soldiers it is a matter of life and death.

This is a good example, because you can train any combat system more or less intensively.

8. Kajukenbo - newer or renewed systems of survival on the street

Kajukenbo comes from the slums of Hawaii. It is a mixed system and consists of karate, judo, jiu jitsu, kenpo and Chinese boxing.

Back then, the streets were becoming increasingly unsafe because of the increase in crime. Several martial arts masters developed kajukenbo so their families could defend themselves.

Kajukenbo is made for the road, realistic and very tough - the road is tough in many regions.

Since there is a lot of interest in street self-defense in our country today, I have chosen this system as a substitute for many others, such as the Russian Systema or the modern Heiwa-Kenpo.

9. Tang Lang - traditional systems with alternative approaches to combat

I took Tang Lang, in German Praying Mantis Kung Fu, as a representative for the many traditional martial arts. It is still taught by the Chinese military today and is considered very dangerous there.

Kung Fu is often considered playful, but Tang Lang is based on quick and direct movements; especially fistfight, which is combined with grabbing and tearing at the opponent. The aim is to control the opponent's arms. The attacks are interrupted, he is grabbed and attacked.

Tang Lang is a good example of how the traditional is often very good and dangerous when properly learned.

Finally, a little outlier: Here you don't learn self-defense techniques, but pure fighting!

10. Historical Medieval Battle (HMB) - armored full contact sword fight

HMB is originally from Russia, but has now also spilled over to us. In short: people put on armor and hit each other with real swords and axes.

The weapons are not sharpened, but full contact is fought for! Individually and in a group. It takes a lot to compete here.

For self-defense on the street it is not very helpful at first, but very strong for the training of the combative spirit. And of course it's physically very strenuous and educational.

Because: Anyone who fights for the German championship on a warm summer's day in the open air while someone tries to hit them on the head with a sword all the time, will have to develop the fighting fitness and attitude quickly - or fail.

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