Martial Arts For Preppers. Is One Right For You?

ArmyMilCombativesChokeholdPrepping for survival in any SHTF situation will have many components. Health, physical fitness, and the ability to defend yourself will be among them. Training in the right martial art could combine these three subjects. Many preppers are already involved in a martial art. But if you are not and are interested in finding one right for you, then there are certain steps you need to take. Not all martial arts are “martial”. So how do you find the right one for your needs?

This article will be a guide for those who are interested in finding a martial art to be a part of their training for survival. So please do not send me nasty grams if I fail to mention your favorite ‘Who Can Do” art. This will be an overview for the beginner to be able to select the art right for them. As a former active martial artist, I have deep respect for all of the arts regardless of origin. Now that my disclaimer is over, lets begin.

First of all, what is it that you want to accomplish in studying a martial art? Overall fitness and health? All of the arts will accomplish that. EFFECTIVE self defense? Not all martial arts are still “martial” and I will explain what I mean by that as we go on. Effective vicious combat ability? SOME martial arts will do that. Once you decide what your training goals are, then you need to decide how much effort you are willing to put into it. Learning a martial art effectively takes a lot of time and effort and will be an ongoing lifelong experience.

Competition or Combat?

Not all martial arts are “martial”. What I mean by that is that almost all traditional martial arts have evolved into competitive sports. Nothing wrong with that. If competition is what you want to do, that’s fine. But the training techniques that will get you points in the arena will get you killed on the street. Sorry if I am stepping on anyone’s toes, but people who are active martial artists know that. Within each art, there are still instructors who teach the combative part of it, and those who teach the competition part of it. Make sure you understand what you are getting before you sign up.Comprehensive MA Living the martial way Forrest E. Morgan explains this quite w in his book Living The Martial Way. I recommend you do your research thoroughly before deciding on an art to train in. Martial arts historian Donn Draeger has written a number of excellent books describing the various martial arts and their history. Most of them are carried on Amazon and are great sources of research for those seeking a martial art to study. Any martial art will help you get in shape, and help teach you personal discipline. But I am going to assume that as a prepper you are primarily interested in real world self-defense and usable skills.. I am going to briefly discuss some that I am aware of, but these are by no means the only martial arts that will teach you practical real world skills.

The Skills of The Ninja

Yes, there really were and still are authentic Ninja, and no they are nothing like 99% of the junk you see on T.V., movies and the printed media. Holywood and many fraudsters have gone to town on this one. Unarmed fighting techniquesThe last authentic Ninja Grandmaster is Masaaki Hatsumi, a bone doctor and calligrapher who resides in Japan and carries on the traditional training of the Ninja arts through his organization the Bujinkan. Many Bujinkan dojos teach not only the very effective unarmed fighting skills, but many of the other esoteric skills that made the original Ninja the first effective “Gray Men” of their time.

Stephen K. Hayes is a martial arts master who traveled to Japan years ago when Masaaki Hatsumi began teaching Westerners the Ninja arts. He returned to the States and developed a very practical and modern martial art called To-Shin-Do. based on Ninja unarmed fighting skills. I trained for three years in his Dayton Ohio Dojo and I can personally assure you that this training is practical, and well worth the time and effort. They offer training opportunities for those who wish to go beyond simple self-defense which are based on the original Ninja arts. He has written a number of excellent books that describe the real Nija in detail. untitledThis would be excellent training for those who wish to integrate their survival training along martial arts lines. He has dojos around the United States. If you are interested in pursuing a martial art based on realistic Ninja skills that would be useful in a survival situation, Bujinkan or To-Shin-Do are the way to go. Stay away from the large number of BS Masters posing as Ninja masters such as Ashida Kim. ( Real name Radford Davis). If you have ever made the mistake of buying any of this ass clown’s books (I did), feel free to use them for the only thing they are good for: fire starters. (I did).

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is an Israeli military developed martial art designed by Imre Lichtenfeld  that is a blend of a number of different realistic martial arts including Aikido, Judo, wrestling, boxing and street fighting techniques. Krav MagaIt is used to train the Israeli military and has also found favor with both civilians and police worldwide. Although I have not trained in Krav Maga, I have worked with a number of people when I was doing overseas military contracting who have studied it, and it is obvious to me that it is an excellent and practical art. You can find a Krav Maga training center here.


There are other practical martial arts available to the survivalist/prepper including the Filipino Martial Arts in the form of Kali and Eskrima and Combat Sambo, a Russian military martial art based heavily on grappling. I mentioned the above three routes as I have been either personally involved or know a number of people who have.

Selecting a Training Hall and Instructor

Unfortunately, even in an honor bound field of endeavor such as martial arts, fraudsters and tricksters abound. The problem is that some organizations became black belt mills cranking out black belts who were not even remotely ready simply to make the testing fees and some of these folks went on to start their own schools. You really need to do your research before you commit your time and money to an instructor (Sensei) and training hall (Dojo). Be aware that there are actual martial arts cults out there that will lure you in. Check you local better business bureau. watch some of the classes. Any reputable instructor will not only allow that but encourage it. Talk to current and former students. Take your time and do your research.


Should a martial art be a part of your survival training program? Only you can answer that. Decide on what you want, do your research, select the art and program right for you, and be prepared to be seriously committed.

7 thoughts on “Martial Arts For Preppers. Is One Right For You?

  1. Oh Lord, the average prepper learning a martial art, seriously? ROTFL
    Most of the combat preppers will face will be street combat anyway.
    There are no rules there and as for you on your own?

    You against a riot or group ?
    Even with a OC or CC weapon drawn and used as an ambush tool your survival will be slim especially if you run out of ammo or be simply overrun.

    Hows about you against an individual?
    One on one? What sort of combat, open hand or against a weapon?
    Anyway you cut it, if you are close enough to engage THEY are close enough to hurt you.
    Remember most street attacks will happen on their terms not yours.

    Then there is the attacker themselves.
    Most attacks made by the experienced are quick, DAMN QUICK.
    A knife attack is over in seconds and the preferred weapon on the street.
    Why? Because used properly a knife is almost impossible to stop.

    Only the foolish, inexperienced, and those who probably haven’t the nerve to engage anyway, brandish a weapon or give it verbal before engaging.
    Even then, they may get lucky and that’s all they need to be.

    9 times out of 10 street combat is all about damage limitation after you were stupid (or unlucky) enough to let an aggressor get close enough to attack.

    There are only a few keys to self defense.
    Distance is king, ALWAYS maintain personal space.
    Never turn your back to anyone.
    Always have a way out, preferably two.
    If alone or on strange ground try not to interact let alone engage.

    This is all basic street craft, stay out of dark places and away from unknown areas. If in doubt, turn back for a safer route. Pressing on into the unknown is usually tactical suicide

    Walking away is a good strategy in combat..
    To be called a coward, wimp, wanker or whatever means NOTHING.

    Being robbed?
    So what, goods can be replaced, you can’t.
    Give it up but maintain distance and keep in the open.
    Throw goods, never hand to another.

    The only time I would say fight with all you can and scream like hell!
    Man, woman, or child, noise is bad news for an abductor.
    NEVER get into a vehicle no matter what the threat.
    To do so is to invite harm if not death.

    Never go into a fight unarmed.
    Use what you have as an ambush weapon.
    Think Eyes, Breathing, and Legs Your three main objectives.
    If they can’t see they cannot engage.
    If they cannot breath the attack will stop.
    If they cannot stand they cannot run after you.

    If all else fails KISS! i.e. Keep it stupidly simple.
    Don’t talk, attack. If they are “talking” smack them FIRST!
    Why? Because they are thinking about words not actions.
    Train to use simple, uncomplicated actions (and tools) to stop them seeing, breathing, and standing.
    Anyway you can, using anything you’ve got, to the max is good.
    Just keep going until they aren’t moving i.e. seriously still!
    Leave only one side to the story, YOURS.
    When it’s over gather ALL your gear and move away, quickly but never run.

    As for Krag Maga or whatever and the average prepper?
    Pretty to watch, takes loads of training and practice, and can still be defeated by a sucker punch, a hammer blow from behind, a knife between the ribs, a firearm out of your reach, or just too many attackers.

    Wondering why I’m saying this?
    Level 2 Door Supervisor in London for 2 years, BIIAB trained, City & Guilds CP, and ex-mil (which was probably the best training of all).


    • Excellent points and reinforces my point that most martial arts are not martial at all. They are sports. The old story of the Martial Arts Master who gets a mudhole stomped in his backside by some biker dude in a bar is a frequent reality. But there are training opportunities that teach the things you mention, if people are willing to put the time and effort into them. Most people really aren’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great explanation-my personal opinion is that most “preppers” aren’t going to put in the time and effort required to become proficient in any discipline.
    That’s not meant to offend anyone-just stating the fact that you are not going to learn any of the martial arts without a huge investment in time and training.
    Probably the best options for preppers are Krav Maga or the USMC MAP as 6 months of either will at least teach a person the basics of how to defend themselves-minus any ninja stuff,just the basis on how to bust an attacker up. Neither is going to teach any ninja type stuff-just how to put an opponent out of commission-and that’s really all that matters is that you put the opponent down before he-or she put’s you down.


    • Unfortunately you are probably right in that most preppers will not put the time and effort into really learning any martial art. Nor will they really learn how to effectively use the expensive firearms they buy, how far they can actually hump their bug out bag, how to actually start a fire under stress, or the myriad of other skills it will take to survive a long term SHTF or TEOTWAWKI.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Martial Arts For Preppers. Is One Right For You? | Azweaponcraftprepper

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