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The 17 Best Martial Arts for Self Defence As Ranked By An Ex Police Officer

Defence Lab is a Martial Art that few know of but definitely deserves a place on this list.

Created by Andy Norman after he left the Keysi Fighting Method, it heavily features aspects of the training that made KFM so popular.

Defence Lab, however, has evolved the KFM model and taken it even further.

DL is now a brand of Martial Arts with several aspects to it.

From a fitness system, a self-defence system, a children’s Martial Arts system, a Krav Maga programme and a combat sports system.

This broad group of programmes means that a DL instructor tends to have a background in many Martial Arts and can run a variety of classes, much like any MMA school.

However, it is the core Defence Lab self-defence syllabus of which I have experience.

Defence Lab’s self-defence element is focused completely on self-defence situations that are both armed and unarmed, group attacks and also it now covers MMA style opponents with its growing technique range.

However, it is most known for it’s unusual approach to group self-defence situations.

What Techniques Does Defence Lab Teach?

The students of Defence Lab are taught to simultaneously attack while defending their heads.

This has brought about the creation of a headcover system that they call shapes.

These shapes, all the students of Defence Lab to protect their heads, avoid strikes with body movement and then return strikes, while still protected.

The goal of always keeping your head protected is the core of Defence Lab and comes from their extensive study of groups self-defence situations.

But that is just one aspect.

Defence Lab’s tactical focus is one which is often referred to as ‘smash then enter’.

The idea behind this concept is that a DL student will move into the attacker, reducing their striking power, and allowing them to strike at close range and use their ‘shape’ system to good effect.

As for techniques, DL covers a wide variety.

They use hammer fist strikes, forearms shots, punches, low leg kicks, stomps and elbow strikes.

Both standing and groundwork situations are covered.

Is Defence Lab Any Good For Self-Defence?

Defence Lab is a superb system for people who want to learn how to protect themselves, yet do not want to engage in sports martial arts.

The techniques are solid and based on sound principles, in addition, most of their instructors come from a background in Martial Arts or professional security.

So, yes, Defence Lab is a practical system for self-defence and I have no issues in recommending as one of the most effective Martial Arts for self-defence

Want to learn more? Check out our review on Defence Lab.


So there you have it,the best martial arts for self defence.

So what are your thoughts?

Comment below and let me know.

And if your are looking beyond self defence reasons to study Martial Arts.

Then check out our guide covering ‘Which Martial Art Should I learn’.

This article was written by Andrew Holland

Andrew is a UK SEO Expert and Copywriter as well as being a former Police Officer and Judo Black Belt


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