I was recently asked: What Martial Art do you believe is best for self defense? Read my response below.
The practitioner is far more important then the system they practice in my mind. "You are the weapon. Anything you use is a tool" is how Doug Marcaida says it as I recall.
That said, systems that I wish to master in order to be proficient in Self Defense are:
1) Jeet Kune Do - Open to all arts, trapping from a boxing stance, no way as way, Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto :) Works all 4 basic unarmed ranges, kicking, boxing, trapping and grappling.
2) Krav Maga - Highly functional and streamlined. Trains and conditions very hard. Interested above all in function. Trains against multiple attackers and guns. (filling two holes left out of the Jeet Kune Do curriculum)
3) Brazilian/Gracie Jiu Jitsu - Proven over and over to be one of the best (if not, THE best) 1v1 system out there. Improves on the basic ground work provided in KM and JKD, while you keep those seperate techniques as "surprises" for your single art BJJ guys. You will have some options they have not studied. The weakness of this system is against multiple opponents, you have the first guy tied up like a pretzel, only to have his buddy kick your teeth out. KM and JKD give you the tools and mindset to work in the other ranges and against more then one attacker.
If I could add supplemental training to that base, I would include.
Kali - Fills that weapons range, that extends beyond kicking, knives, stickes, etc. The flow drills they teach are also awesome. A worthy art all by itself.|
Judo - Throws, throws for days. A cousin to BJJ, this would add a number of excellent options for getting the other guy(s) out of commission and on the ground. Sambo is another honorable mention in this category.
Firearms training - For that final range beyond knives and sticks. every military uses firearms. It totally makes sense that the use of handguns, shotguns and rifles should be included in the personal training of someone looking to defend themselves or others. Integrate those skills into the other arts you practice.
This will likely be a life long pursuit of mine, to get where I want to be, but I feel like it is a good road map. :) Mad respect to all the arts, I believe they all hold value, but these are the ones I choose to focus on.