Best Martial Arts for Short Guys (Based on Experience as a Short Fighter)

If you are looking for the best martial arts for short guys for self defense, and self confidence, then this article is for you. 

However, if you are looking for the best martial arts for short guys for fitness, losing weight, or self discipline, then you can skip this article, as most if not all reputable martial arts are good for them. 

Now with that out of the way, let’s dive right in. 

best martial arts for short guys

What is Considered a Martial Art?

Many people believe martial arts are various sports originated in east Asian countries like Japan, China and Korea, such as Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, But in truth, martial arts are much more than that. 

According to wikipedia, martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; and the preservation of a nation’s intangible cultural heritage.

As per wiki’s definition, western styles like boxing, wrestling should be considered martial arts as well.

In fact, I believe any form of physical movements that expresses aggression towards others, or defensive maneuvers should be called a martial art.   

Types of Martial Arts

There are many different types of martial arts around the world. From striking based martial arts, to grappling based martial arts, and even the health and spiritual oriented martial arts.

Of course, there are also combat systems created in the modern era like MMA, sambo etc. Although, they can not really be called martial arts, as they are really a combat system made up of multiple different martial arts.

Below is a list of the most well known martial arts based on their types. 

Striking or Stand-up Martial Arts

  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Boxing
  • Kickboxing
  • Muay Thai

Grappling or Ground Fighting Martial Arts

  • Judo
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Wrestling

Health or Spiritual Oriented Martial Arts

  • Tai Chi
  • Aikido

Mixed Style Combat Systems

  • MMA
  • Sambo
  • Krav Maga
  • Systema
  • Sanshou

Best Striking or Stand-up Martial Arts for Short Guys

There are many great striking based martial arts to learn, but as mentioned in the beginning of the article, we’ll focus on the ones that are the best for self defense and self confidence. 

Despite my love for muay thai, which is a great martial art for self defense and self confidence in its own right, but if I had to pick one, boxing wins in this segment hands down (no pun intended). 

Some might say muay thai and kickboxing are better, as you’ll learn to use more weapons. But to me, the ability to react to attacks in a split second, and the ability to throw fast and accurate punches in combinations, are the best to have in a self defense situation. This is what boxing training does better than others in my opinion. 

How does boxing achieve this? Other than the rigorous fitness training, emphasis on the techniques and the thousands of punches thrown in training, the most import aspect of boxing is the consistent sparring sessions against fully resisting opponents.

I don’t mean trying to punch each other’s head off type sparring, but more controlled, measured sparring sessions, with proper sparring gloves and other protective gear. Of course, you’ll still feel the smack if you don’t defend yourself, but this is where you learn how to react to punches and set up your own offence.

Simply put, boxing is the best when it comes to teaching you how to throw hands, elusive head movement and sleek footwork. I don’t think many would argue with that. 

Knowing you have the ability to defend yourself and loved ones, also gives you the self confidence that we all need, which in turn will also help you avoid dangerous situations through alertness and self awareness. 

Best Grappling or Ground Fighting Martial Arts for Short Guys

This one is even tougher to pick, considering the excellent grappling arts like judo, wrestling and BJJ. They are all great martial arts for short people to be fair, but if I was forced to choose one, I would definitely go with BJJ. 

Both judo and wrestling are great for gaining strength, balance and getting people to the ground. But then what, what would you do after getting someone to the ground? Especially someone much bigger and stronger? 

This is where BJJ comes in, the ultimate martial art for ground fighting. Especially for smaller people that have disadvantages over size and strength, as BJJ teaches you to use your leverage and technique to overcome the size and strength differences. 

As a short or a small guy, if you are defending against someone much bigger, you may inevitably end up on the ground anyway, having a 200lbs plus guy on top of you raining down punches is not so fun. 

This is where BJJ shines, with consistent training, you’ll be able to either put the guy in a submission lock, or simply escape from the ground and get away safely. 

Final Thoughts

In truth, boxing, muay thai, judo, BJJ and wrestling are some of the best martial arts to learn, especially when it comes to self defense. 

But overall, if I had to pick one martial art that is the best for short guys, it would definitely be BJJ. Find yourself a local school, pick one of the best BJJ Gi’s for beginners, and start your BJJ journey, you will not look back!