What's the Most Badass Martial Art?

3/16/10

What's the Most Badass Martial Art?

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By William Mac

Some people take martial arts for the enlightening disciplinary aspects, some people take it for self defense, some people take it for the cool outfits and still others take it for sporting reasons, but which one is the most badass? Hey, I'm all for reaching mental Nirvana with Tai Chi, but what happens when I need to defend my girlfriend from a menacing group of hobo ninjas at two in the morning? How do I easily put down a guy twice my size in a hectic situation? That's what I wanted to find out.

I've been taking some form of martial arts or another since I was seven years old. Yet, in my early twenties I found myself still unsatisfied with a variety of the disciplines. None of them really seemed applicable in any real life situation. If a crackhead was chasing me down with a knife I would be able to defend myself just fine if he decided to fight Taekwondo or Jiu Jitsu with me, but that's never going to be the case. I wanted to find a martial art that worked effectively in a REAL on-the-street situation, not in a dojo.

Let's weed through some of the more common martial arts styles people see in their local cookie-cutter suburban atmospheres and rate them on my newly invented Badassery Scale. 1 being "Candyass" and 10 being "One Badass Mofo". Got it? Good.

Taekwondo

Tae Kwan Do

BadAssery Scale - One out of Ten

For many people, including myself, Taekwondo was the first and perhaps only martial art they've every practiced. The sheer disgustingly overpopulated amount of Taekwondo dojos sprinkled throughout the United States has caused Taekwondo to be the most popular martial art in the world in terms of practitioners. This is because every beer-guzzling American Joe thinks reaching the level of black belt makes makes them an expert, so they open their own dojos and further the viral spread.

Taekwondo, loosely translated as "the way of kicking and punching," originated in Korea and after that the history gets pretty shrouded,  but it doesn't really matter. All Taekwondo is nowadays is a sport with virtually no real life use outside of the style. The style itself is accented with snapping high kicks, spin kicks and jump kicks. Blocking is performed primarily with the forearms and there is very little punching. It's hell on the joints, the style is not fluid and it's not ideal in close hand combat, which is the situation most people would find themselves in during a street fight.

Don't get me wrong, Taekwondo is a great place to start. Seriously, if you're a prepubescent kid that watches too many cheap karate movies go for it. I was keen on Power Rangers myself. But, if you're still serious about Taekwondo after the age of 15 then you've definitely earned a Candyass rating.

There are two other common variations of Taekwondo: Tang Soo Do and Karate. Tang Soo Do is basically the same except it attempts to boast a more fluid technique. It was developed not too long ago by a fellow that destroyed his joints through Taekwondo. Karate heavily influenced Taekwondo from the start and boasts much of the same technique. Both are still candyass.

Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu

Badassery Scale 3 out of 10

Jiu-Jitsu is just as well known as Taekwondo, but doesn't sport as many dojos. Whereas there would typically be three to four Taekwondo locations within a ten mile radius within any metro or suburban area the number of Jiu-Jitsu dojos would be significantly less, but they are still there.

Jiu-Jitsu is slightly more badass, especially since it was developed by samurai and everybody knows how friggin' cool samurai are. Because samurai commonly went to war in armor, striking the opponent would have no effect. Jiu-Jitsu was designed to use grappling, throwing and reversed leveraging techniques to defeat a stronger, armed or armored opponent.  Unlike Taekwondo, Karate or Tang Soo Do -- an effective martial art is one designed to use an opponent's own energy and leverage against them, allowing for a minimal use of force and energy on your own part. This also allows for smaller, weaker people to take down bigger, stronger attackers. Jiu-Jitsu literally means "art of softness" or "way of yielding".

The problem with Jiu-Jitsu, though, is that it's pretty much wrestling. It's all about submission. This poses a problem with how applicable it would be in any real situation. The LAST thing you want to do in a street fight is end up on the ground, especially if faced with more than one attacker. Jiu-Jitsu is one of those martial arts that are great for one-on-one, but when confronted with someone that's not going to play Jiu-Jitsu with you, it won't work.

Jiu-Jitsu gets a 3 on the Badassery Scale for "Hardass".

Muay Thai

Badassery Scale - 4 out of 10

It's fairly difficult to find a place to study Muay Thai, but there are a variety of similar styles such as Brazilian kickboxing and kickboxing in general that can be used to supplement a lack of Muay Thai training in your town. What makes Muay Thai badass is the pure viciousness of it all. The style spurns from Thailand and incorporates kicking and punching along with elbow and knee attacks -- ouch.

Muay Thai may be slightly useful in a street situation due to it's speed and power. However, in my humble opinion, styles primarily based around kicking and power as opposed to leverage and redistribution of power can be an epic fail. If you were faced with an opponent of similar size and strength Muay Thai would be useful. However, the amount of exertion on your part would quickly ware you down, which is not good in a hostile environment. Also, there is not much training on how to disarm a gun, knife or other weapon, nonetheless how to defeat an opponent with pressure points.

Muay Thai receives a 4 out of 10 on the Badassery scale for "kickass".

Kung Fu

Badassery Scale 7 out of 10

There are tons of variations of Kung Fu, all of which center around different animals and insects. However, the most well-rounded and most practiced form of Kung Fu is Wing Chun or "Wing Tsu" and it's totally badass.

Wing Chun kung fu is older than the hills. It's been present in China for thousands of years and was passed down from teacher to student orally and by practice only. There is barely any written origin of it. This was done to preserve its secrets. Intrigued? The classic legend of Wing Chun is that it was crafted for a young lady.

A local warlord wanted to marry a young girl named Yim Wing Chun, but she refused. He told her that if she could beat him in a martial art match he would rescind his proposal. Yim enlisted the help of a Shaolin Monk who crafted a special form of martial arts just for her. A martial art that would allow a weaker, smaller opponent to defeat a larger, stronger opponent using speed, limited exertion and leverage. Yim Wing Chun beat the warlord. Yim then married the man of dreams, taught him the style and he named it after her.

Kung Fu is one of the most applicable forms of martial art in any given situation. The most powerful fighting styles today have all taken their roots from Wing Chun Kung Fu. This style of fighting stresses relaxation, calmness and structure. In a fight, the person more relaxed with a strong, yet flexible stance (like bamboo) will win.

The best thing about Wing Chun is how realistic it is. It is perfect for close hand combat. When someone is throwing punches at you, or right in your face, This martial art will allow you to literally, without any significant strength or energy on your own part, thwart all oncoming attacks. Most people don't know how to fight. They use emotion and anger. If you learn Kung Fu, you'll learn the art of fighting, how to remain calm and use your opponent's own strength against him. You will also learn how to use pressure points to cripple your enemy with a flick of your wrist -- this is not an overexaggeration.

Wing Chun is definitely one my favorites. The only reason it's not the most badass form of martial arts is because there isn't a lot in place for disabling people with weapons. That's why it receives a 7 out of 10 on the badassery scale for "One Scaryass Dude".

Jeet Kune Do

Badassery Scale 8 out of 10

"Be like water, my friend." Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee's life's work. It is a form of martial arts that, as Bruce Lee would say is not a style at all, but a freedom from style. Bruce Lee spent his entire life trying to return martial arts to its most fluid, adjustable form. His initial idea was to get back to the roots of Wing Chun Kung Fu, but he also implemented the best of Jiu-Jitsu's grappling and throwing techniques a long with boxing techniques as well.

This "open hand" form of martial arts is also one of the most applicable. It beats out pure Wing Chun Kung Fu because it implements a variety of martial arts into one, fluid form. This makes the practitioner a lethal weapon in many respects. Knowing one amazing martial art well is great, but knowing a variety of the best all rolled into one as entirely formulated by the most badass dude ever? That's saying something.

Jeet Kune Do receives an 8 out of 10 on the Badassery scale for "Crazyass".

Krav Maga

Krav Maga
Even without the gun, he could still kick your ass.

Badassery Scale 10 out of 10

Krav Maga was developed in Israel. In fact, it's what the Israeli Defense forces are trained in. FBI, SWAT and NYPD are also being trained in this form of the martial arts. The best part is that it was actually developed out of street fighting. Translated, Krav Maga means "contact combat".

Over time Krav Maga has come to include many aspects of native asian martial arts to help balance out it's aggressive Jiu-Jitsu style to become a well-rounded form incorporating the leveraging, close hand techniques of Wing Chun kung fu. Krav Maga centers on redirecting an opponent's strength. Because every joint in the human body is designed to turn and bend a certain way, many of the attacks, defenses and disabling moves in Krav Maga are designed to bend joints the WRONG way effectively snapping them. Which, if you've ever delved into this martial art or Kung Fu, really doesn't take much effort.

Krav Maga is the most applicable form of martial arts in any street environment. If someone pulls a gun on you, you can easily disable. In fact, you can cause your opponent to shoot himself. If someone pulls a knife, throws a punch -- anything, Krav Maga will allow you to easily neutralize all threats and ignore the distractions that cause most people to delay reaction.

A person that trains seriously enough in the art of Krav Maga will be able to neutralize a group of up to 5 or 6 attackers wielding knives or other weapons single handedly. In fact, you will be trained, not in theory how to neutralize 5 or 6 attackers at once, you will actually be attacked by 5 to 6 Krav Maga professionals in order to progress to the final stage of training. If one of them is able to land a fake knife blow on you -- you're done. It's that intense.

Krav Maga receives a 10 out of 10 on the Badassery scale for "The Most Badass Martial Art".


Speaking of badass, we're proud to announce our sponsorship of Ryan 'The Real Deal' Ford in his fight on March 19th - check him out in action and see why:


William Mac is a delightfully eccentric pub crawler residing in America's beloved gold-capped southern jewel sitting on dubs more commonly referred to as Savannah, Georgia. When he's not picking up bikini-clad babes on the beach, William enjoys writing, watching horribly directed B Horror movies and reading sophisticated smelling old leather-bound books.

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