You don’t have to wait for the apocalypse to wind up somehow in a situation that could require you to defend yourself.

I certainly didn’t the night that I found myself confronting a man with a knife trying to take my wallet in a parking lot.


So what is the best martial art for the apocalypse? There is a massive selection, but I will tell you that the main ones to focus on would be Escrima, HEMA and if you can find an instructor that is actually legitimate, LINE.

I will discuss all three but first, let’s examine the nature of fighting.

I can already hear the people right now who are crying about their specific martial art. That is because they have devoted some amount of time in learning and practicing it.

Honestly, that is good, because there is no better work out than martial arts and the skills that are learned can be applied in a fight for survival. But in a real end of the world scenario, there are other factors to consider.

Those considerations being broken hands or teeth, multiple attackers and the need to quickly destroy an opponent.
A broken hand in a survival situation is an enormous stressor and drastically impacts your ability to survive. In a world where we can run to the emergency room, this is not a massive problem.

In a world where medical care may not be readily available, this creates a scenario where your hand may not heal properly and create a burden that lasts for the rest of your life.

Multiple attackers can happen in the world today. The problem with so many martial arts, not all but some, is that this is not worked into training nearly enough.

It should be the main focus of almost all martial arts at a certain level. The thing is that most martial arts are trained as a sport, not as a self -defense.

Now, what are these martial arts I’ve mentioned? I will go over each one in some detail and explain the reasons why I have chosen them.

Then I will give you alternatives because not all are available in every area.


This is a Phillipino martial art based in absolute practicality. The main difference between it and other martial arts is that it focuses first on using a weapon and then moves into unarmed attacks.

Primarily it is known for the use of sticks, but the stick is just an easy tool to train with. The skills learned can be applied to using nearly anything as a weapon, an umbrella, a credit card and even a bottle of water.

I choose this because it teaches first a very flexible weapon system that extends your reach, covers all the distances in which combat takes place and emphasizes staying standing. Remaining standing in a multiple attacker fights is the difference between life and death.

It is also extremely flexible in terms of training. If you know another martial art, it doesn’t conflict with other styles but instead compliments them.

There is also not strict adherence to dogma in terms of what technique to use for what situation, but instead focuses on teaching recognizing patterns and angles of attack.

There are no complicated movements that lead to failure in an actual fight. Everything is kept versatile and straightforward rather than one way to block one punch and another to block a kick.

Hema is an acronym for Historical European Martial Arts. It is a resurgence in the techniques of the Knights of Europe. While it is still a sport at the moment there are some things that I find are of incredible value.

Again, it focuses on weapons first philosophy. The main drawback is that it uses a sword as a primary weapon. However, owning and knowing how to use a sword at an end of the world scenario has advantages. Also, some techniques could be used for a length of pipe just as easily.

There is also an emphasis on how to use punches and kicks along with your weapon. How to defend against someone with knives, swords, and maces (hammers in a real-world scenario).

The training utilizes padded armor which lends to full contact which is what you want in practice, a safer form of actually striking. Preventing physical injuries and making your body accustomed to taking full force impacts in a controlled environment.

Why do I choose this over Kendo, the Japanese Samurai sword fighting? Because Kendo has been a sport for far too long and is too stiff in its dogmatic training.

In Kendo, the emphasis is on ending the fight by striking quickly, which is true. However, there are times when this just doesn’t happen.

Hema is being relearned from old manuals with a lot of trial and error through actual experimentation but also much longer fights.

Line fighting is one you may not have heard of and will be nearly impossible to find a real instructor for so I will give you alternatives later.

It stands for Linear Infighting Neural Engagement fighting, it is what the U.S. Marine Corps used as it’s fighting system before moving to the MCMAP system.

“Shouldn’t MCMAP be the better system since it is the newer method?” you might be asking. In this case, no. MCMAP came about as a less lethal fighting style as the Marine Corps has moved into an era of more Policing actions in various countries.

LINE was designed to kill a man as quickly as possible, not to restrain him.

The techniques are devastating. The absolute brutality of moves is simple, easy to perform and effective. Having been developed over decades of combat in up close fighting by one of the world’s bulldogs of fighting forces.

The problem is anyone willing to teach you this technique is probably telling you a lie. So here are some alternatives.

BJJ – a proven combat system developed in the wild and dangerous streets of Brazil. There is a learning curve to it, to become effective in using the techniques requires a fair amount of time investment.

However, intermediate to advanced techniques are effective at crippling opponents. The downside is that this style is geared towards one on one combat and while it is incredibly effective at this, there is little emphasis on multiple attacker scenarios.

In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that using BJJ in numerous attacker scenarios will get you killed. This is because it wants you to go to the ground quickly.

Systema – the Russian martial art and sport. Trained in by all members of Alpha Group, the Russian equivalent of Delta Force. It is a highly effective combat system. No one loves a good fist fight more than the Russians.3

On the whole, it is simple and incredibly effective.

The one thing that makes this method shine beyond all other systems is the fact that there is a heavy emphasis on multiple attackers and mob fighting included as part of training.

Krav Maga – It is basic, easy to learn and emphasizes practicality. But it is basic if taught by anyone outside of Israel. Still, if you are to learn how to defend yourself in a real-world scenario and have never fought before this would be a good starting point.

Now there are a lot of others, Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, etc. etc. While I’m not saying that they are not useful to learn, the reasons that I have not put them down are because to become effective in some of them requires so much training.

Also, some of the methods have been muted by years of sports like training as well. Most don’t train enough in multiple attacker scenarios either.

That being said, learning one technique is better than “winging it.” A man that has a fair amount of training in karate will destroy a man that doesn’t know anything in nearly all cases.

There is also the enormous benefit of physical fitness. Martial Arts will give you a better workout than lifting weights or playing football ever will.

This in addition to the fact that you will be learning how to keep yourself protected and probably additional bonuses along the way.

Bonuses like being around people and making friends that could potentially help you to survive at the end of the world.