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How to Utilize MMA for Self Defense

Let me start out by saying this: MMA is NOT a martial art focused on self-defense. If anything, it's one of the most aggressive, no-holds-barred martial arts designed to take down your opponent as quickly as possible. That being said, MMA is actually one of the best self-defense martial arts, simply because a good offense is the best defense!

Watch any MMA match and you'll see the fighters throwing powerful punches, striking at their opponent's legs, and grappling their opponent to the floor. All of these things can come in very handy when facing an attacker.

The Downsides to MMA

  • MMA teaches you to be aggressive and go on the attack, which is not the ideal way to approach potentially volatile situations. If you can avoid the fight, do so!
  • MMA uses a lot of one-on-one techniques. While many martial arts prepare you to face multiple combatants, MMA is all about taking down ONE person. You may end up in trouble in a real life situation.
  • MMA attacks are violent and designed to take down the opponent. However, it's often easy to hurt yourself while attacking.

How to Use MMA Skills in Self-Defense

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to defend yourself, here is how to do so using the skills you have learned in your MMA training:

  • Back off — Take a step back to get a broader view of the situation. Assess the threat or threats, and analyze your opponent's movements. Let them throw the first punch, and watch them for any tells, signaling, or weaknesses.
  • Stay on your feet — DO NOT GRAPPLE! Once you're on the floor, you are vulnerable to any of your opponent's friends who might step in. You can throw your opponent to the ground, but you need to stay on your feet. If you go down, get up as quickly as possible.
  • Be smart with punches — Don't throw overpowered blows that could shatter your knuckles as well as his jaw. Throw smart punches, using your training to control your movements and strength. A few quick jabs to his face followed by a solar plexus punch is usually enough to stop anyone.
  • Watch your kicks — High kicks may work in the ring, but not in real life. Never raise your foot above the level of your opponent's stomach. If you're going to kick, use them to attack his foundation — ergo, his knees.
  • End it quickly — Unless you want to get hauled off by the cops, a prolonged street fight is not in your best interest. If you can't take your opponent down with a few well-placed punches, use a joint lock to injure your opponent's main weapons. The faster you end the fight, the less risk of either of you getting hurt.
  • Control yourself — Your instinct may be to let loose on your opponent, but that can lead to serious problems. Control your temper, and let them throw the first punch. Once they do, you can step in and take them down, but without excessive force. DO NOT injure them permanently, but use techniques that will incapacitate without serious harm.

MMA may not be a martial art focused on self-defense, but if you're smart, you can use it to protect yourself in any situation.

[Image via Getty]

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