Striking vs Grappling: Which One Is Better For Self-defense

Striking vs Grappling: Which One Is Better for Self-defense

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If you are just starting your training in martial arts, you may be wondering which one is better for training and self-defense, striking, or grappling? In this article, we will give you an answer to this question through the benefits and disadvantages of both.

Even thou grappling and striking are great skills on their own, they work best combined in Mixed Martial Arts.

So let us show you what striking and grappling do best, and on the other hand, their weak sides.

What is Striking

Striking in martial arts is usually referred to stand up fighting, or more or less everything that’s not grappling (even though strikes can be executed on the ground as well). It is an often-used term in MMA circles, as MMA fighters often combine and use stand up fighting disciplines from different martial arts. Because of that, striking better encompasses what they do on their feet than terms like karate or Muay Thai.

Most Known Striking Martial Arts

There are many striking martial arts in the world, and below we are bringing you the most known ones, and you can also read here about the best striking martial arts in the world.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Striking and is it good for Self-Defense

The main benefit of striking techniques in martial arts is to teach practitioners how to defend themselves while in the upright position, through the use of punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and blocks.

Well executed punch or kick can make all the difference during a fight, in a training, ring, or for self-defense. It can disable your opponent in a second, so you can get a win, or defend yourself in a street fight.

On the other hand, learning only striking techniques, means you are not ready for a ground fight. We have seen how that goes for striking fighters in the early beginnings of the UFC. Some of the best kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters in the world came to fight in the UFC, where smaller and probably weaker in strength opponents welcomed them. They probably thought they would win easily, but fighters experienced in grappling techniques, such as BJJ, easily finished the fights with grappling techniques.

What is Grappling

Grappling, in hand-to-hand combat, is a technique that consists of gripping or seizing the opponent. Similarly to wrestling, grappling is used at close range to gain a physical advantage over an opponent such as imposing a position or to cause injury to the opponent.

Grappling covers techniques used in many disciplines, styles, and martial arts that are practiced both as combat sports and for self-defense. Grappling contests often involve takedowns and ground control and may end when a contestant concedes defeat, also known as a submission or tap out.

Most Known Grappling Martial Arts

There are many grappling martial arts in the world, and below we are bringing you the most known ones.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Grappling and is it good for Self-Defense

Training grappling is a great way to improve your physical strength and endurance. It requires the use of a wide range of muscle groups and focuses on utilizing them for maximum efficiency.

Not only does it build muscles, but it also offers great cardiovascular benefits, builds endurance, and improves mental focus, and these are all skills that are required for intense physical training, as well as to be ready in a street fight for self-defense.

When you’re facing a stronger opponent, in a ring or in a street fight, then going for the knock-out isn’t always the best option. Your opponent might be able to take a beating so you’d need to wear them down to win that fight. This is where grappling comes in.

There are many examples of this in Mixed Martial Arts, some of the best known are Khabib Nurmagomedov, Holly Holm, Nate Diaz, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, and many more.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of grappling are obvious. If you train only grappling you won’t be good at striking, and what is more important you want to be able to defend against hard striking attacks. Which can be deadly in a street fight.

Also, in a street fight, it is not a great way to use grappling for self-defense. You never know if your opponent has a friend, or there is no space or something like that, that can ruin your grappling actions. If that happens, you are almost helpless.

Which is harder to learn striking or grappling, and which should you learn first?

Striking is harder to learn then grappling, and you should learn striking first.

There are some people that no matter how much time they put in they never become great at striking and some need a very long time to become good at it.

On the other hand, if you spend your time training grappling, you can quite easily become good at it.

Even with great MMA fighters, they have an easier time if they are firstly strikers, they can much easily learn how to grapple, while fighters that first mastered grappling, have a much tougher time learning striking.

People mostly progress faster at grappling than striking and there is a real danger for beginners trying to learn MMA to completely give up on striking because they are getting better and quicker results with their grappling.

Some MMA gyms practice that philosophy to a level where they wouldn’t even let people grapple until they looked like they’ve started to progress in striking.

On the other hand, if you would like to teach young kids some martial arts, then it is probably better to first go for grappling. Kids already do grappling every day one with another, and it would not be a great way for your kid to be punched in the face early in its life. Then later they can go all-in on striking.

Conclusion – Striking vs Grappling: Which One Is Better For Self-defense

If we have to choose only one, we would choose striking for self-defense. It is better because you can solve a fight with one strike, disabling your opponent in a way you finish a fight with KO, or disabling him enough to run away or to discourage him enough so he quits trying to hurt you.

On the other hand, if you are a small person, maybe not so strong, then grappling, BJJ in particular, would probably be your better choice of martial art for self-defense.

We have written about is MMA good for self-defense in detail as well as the best martial arts for women self-defense.

Our suggestion to you would be to go for Mixed Martial Arts training, that way you will be at least accomplished in both striking and grappling, and what is more important, ready to defend against one of them, or both, in a street fight for self-defense.

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