Fighting Styles That Will Probably Get Your Ass Kicked

Karate Kid

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must cast off the childish garments of boyhood and put on the heavy mantle of manliness. Shortly after that, he has to kick the crap out of someone.

For those of us not raised by kung fu-fighting wolves, there is an important decision to make: should you go through life assuming you are capable of defending yourself in a fight, or should you pay some middle-aged mulletted white guy to teach you his own special brand of extremely flamboyant martial arts?

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If we’re being honest here, we’d have to say that neither is actually ideal. The first option is likely to get your ass stomped flat if you’re not some sort of mutant crimefighter, and the second is like P.E., only it costs $60 a day and you don’t play kickball. Like, ever.

This isn’t to say that martial arts training is ineffective. There are whole generations of burly Brazilians who would think nothing of introducing your head to your ass in increasingly graceful and humiliating ways. MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world right now and YouTube is crawling with videos of K-1 fighters kicking each other in the face.

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What we’re saying is: there’s a right way to defend yourself, and there’s a wrong way. These are the wrong ways.

1) Karate


The old standby, the faithful companion. Karate. The name strikes fear in the hearts of villains everywhere. Bullies, however, are famously immune to anything remotely related to karate.

The basics tenets of karate are: you have limbs, so strike people with them. Congratulations, you are now a yellow belt.

In all fairness, karate does teach you how to defend yourself, albeit in a structured, practically inapplicable manner. The things you learn as a karate novice include how to awkwardly punch from the hip, awkwardly kick someone in the shin with your brittle toes extended, and elbow strikes.

You also learn, somewhat by accident, how to telegraph your attacks from so far away your adversary thinks he’s suddenly become telepathic. What it boils down to is this: the time you spend training in karate would be better spent just getting beaten up. That way, you know what an actual street fight looks like.

Useful Alternative : Judo. Seriously.


While it might not involve quite as many hi-ya!s or roundhouse kicks or bone splinters as karate, judo is infinitely more useful. In less than a week, you will have learned ten different, easy-to-perform throws and sweeps. And there is nothing–literally nothing–more emasculating to a tough guy than getting dumped on his knobby head a couple times by some bespectacled nerd half his size.

2) Ninjutsu

NinjasBefore you all get your collective nunchucks in a bunch, we’re not trying to say ninjutsu is a weak martial art. There are thousands of crippled ex-Foot Clan to prove otherwise. Any martial art that teaches you how to ruin someone’s shit with a long stick is worthy of anyone’s respect.

That said, this copy-pasted list from Wikipedia should give an idea of what you’ll be looking forward to when you begin your quest to become a ninjutsu master:

  1. Seishin-teki kyōkō (spiritual refinement)
  2. Bōjutsu (stick and staff fighting)
  3. Shurikenjutsu (throwing shuriken)
  4. Sōjutsu (spear fighting)
  5. Naginatajutsu (naginata fighting)
  6. Kusarigamajutsu (kusarigama fighting)
  7. Kayakujutsu (pyrotechnics and explosives)
  8. Hensōjutsu (disguise and impersonation)
  9. Shinobi-iri (stealth and entering methods)
  10. Bajutsu (horsemanship)
  11. Sui-ren (water training)
  12. Bōryaku (tactics)
  13. Chōhō (espionage)
  14. Intonjutsu (escaping and concealment)
  15. Tenmon (meteorology)
  16. Chi-mon (geography)
  17. Taijutsu (Unarmed Combat)
  18. Kenjutsu (sword fighting)

Okay, we’ll grant that that’s a pretty serious skillset. If that list is any sort of clue, by the time you become an advanced ninjutsu martial artist you’ll be able to spear-fight an army of attackers from the back of your invisible exploding horse while using the stars to find your way to Burger King.

Of course, if you’re like us, the past twenty-odd years of your life have not actually been spent studying ninjutsu. Also, we rarely, if ever, find ourselves in a tense underwater situation with a horse and katana handy.

Useful Alternative : Stick Fighting.

Stick Fighting

Granted, it sounds kind of stupid. And really, if you don’t already understand the basics of stick fighting, you should probably either hire a bodyguard or practice not smarting off to guys with missing teeth and large biceps.

%nameWarning: Not all of your opponents will be pantsless two-year-olds

But there are a lot of clever tricks you will pick up in stick fighting class that extend a little farther than “whack him in the nuts and run.” Cops, for example, don’t just naturally sense the best place to cram their nightstick into a difficult suspect; someone teaches them.

These lessons are distilled from a variety of historical fighting styles that, although they aren’t as badass as ninjutsu, are nonetheless incredibly effective and don’t require you to ride a disguised horse to church.

3) Capoeira


If you’ve never heard of this fighting style, don’t feel bad. It’s not really at the top of anyone’s must-learn skill list. Capoeira is a style that fuses elements of dance, gymnastics and head kicks into a fluid rhythmic art. Basically, it’s like break dancing for angry people.

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Daisy Dukes are the Gi of Capoeira

In the 1993 film Only The Strong, an ex-Green Beret uses his capoeira skills to clean up the trash around his old high school. One of his former teachers decides it might be a good idea to teach this brutal technique to a bunch of juvenile delinquents as a means to get them on the right track. Since this is a movie, the students do not automatically use their newly-learned skills to cartwheel-headspin-crotch-kick their teachers and classmates into bloody ruin, and everything turns out okay in the end.

It’s certainly a fancy way to hand someone a steaming platter of their own ass, if you can manage it. Against other fighting styles, even against itself a lot of the time, it seems to stand up about as well as a wet dog turd in a knife fight.

Of course, there is the occasional exception.

Useful Alternative : Shit, we don’t know. Regular breakdancing, maybe?

But with golf cleats?

Really, this fighting style is so impractical in any kind of real situation that we can’t even think of a reasonable alternative. The thing about getting mugged is that there’s rarely a conveniently placed cardboard mat around when you need one. And let’s face facts: doing headspins on bare concrete is probably worse for you than just handing over your wallet.