What is the Best Martial Art For Women to Learn?

Whether it is for self-defense or as a hobby, more and more women are taking martial arts classes. To me, that is amazing, but to be honest, historically, women have always been great at martial arts. Some of the best UFC and MMA fighters are actually female. So, what are the best martial arts for women to learn?

Women can do and excel in any martial arts that men can. The best martial art to learn for women for self-defense is Krav Maga, which is the best self-defense martial art. The best hobby or sport martial arts that women can learn, in my opinion, is Judo or Taekwondo.

I never like giving two answers to one question, but I thought it was important for this question. This is because I wanted to be clear regarding what your objectives are. That being said, there is actually a lot more to it than that. So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.

Best Martial Art For Women: Judo

If you are a female and consider taking up a martial art but are on the fence about which one to go for, do not worry because we have you covered in this section of the article. Let’s get into why judo is one of the best martial arts for women to take as hobbies, sports, or fitness workouts.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can expect when taking up Judo classes.


Going to Judo classes, most of your workouts will be very cardio intensive. This is great for anybody trying to take up martial arts primarily for fitness or even if they just want fitness to be a byproduct of them learning new skills.

Self Defense

Later on, in this article, we will be talking about Krav Maga, which, in my opinion, is the best martial art for anyone who wants to learn how to defend themselves. A better way of saying it would be to protect themselves against potential attackers.

Judo also teaches you self defense, so, whether you choose one or the other, it doesn’t really matter because you will still learn to be more capable of defending yourself out in public.


Judo will teach you a lot of things that you can take out into your personal life. One of my favorite things is discipline. Having good discipline will make a lot of the things that you might find challenging a lot easier. Things such as anger management, sticking to diets, sticking to training routines, and anything like that.

What Is Judo?

Judo is a modern style of martial art. Jigoro Kano formed the Japanese martial art in 1882. It is regarded as a combat sport and is even part of the Olympics.

The art of Judo is not just physical. When Jigoro developed Judo, he did it as mental, physical, and moral teaching. All-round, it helps you see things differently. You are taught mental traits that help you in day to day life. You are taught how to act within good morals. Finally, you are trained in combat.

Judo Weight Classes For Women

If I have genuinely piqued your interest in taking Judo, then here is a table that explains what weight class you will be in, depending on how much you weigh. That being said, it is important to note that you might never fight somebody in Judo. It is completely up to you whether you just train or take it a little bit more seriously and enter competitions.

So here is the female weight table for judo

Weight classFemale
Extra Lightweight-48 kg
Half Lightweight48 to 52 kg
Lightweight52 to 57 kg
Half Middleweight57 to 63 kg
Middleweight63 to 70 kg
Half heavyweight70 to 78 kg
HeavyweightOver 78 kg

Judo In The MMA And UFC: Female Division

When it comes to MMA and UFC, females have delivered some of the greatest fights in history. The women who do partake in the MMA and UFC are incredible to watch. That being said, you will notice that a lot of the best female fighters, or just the best Fighters in general, in MMA tend to have a judo background.

All MMA fighters specialize in more than one form of martial arts. You might have somebody who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in judo. Or you might have someone who is a black belt in Judo with a subclass of Taekwondo.

Fighters do this so that they can adapt to almost any opponent that they fight. If somebody is primarily a taekwondo fighter and they come up against somebody who is a master in Judo, They still want to be able to fight when being clinched by a Judoka.

I am not trying to assume that you want to take Judo up to become a professional fighter. Sometimes it is just best to determine or indicate how good a martial art is, based on how it performs within professional sports. The MMA or UFC is perfect for that because a judoka will come up against opponents of different martial art disciplines.

Some Of The Best MMA Female Fighters: Judo

So, for this part of the article, we will take a look at some of the best female MMA or UFC fighters. We will be looking at those Fighters who primarily use judo or use it as their second martial arts discipline. These ladies have produced some of the best fights ever seen in MMA or UFC.

Ronda Rousey

You simply cannot start talking about some of the best MMA fighters without starting with Ronda Rousey. This is regardless of whether you are talking about male or female fighters. She is simply one of the best fighters in the world and one of the most recognizable names in the United States of America and around the world.

Apart from using boxing and wrestling in her fights, Ronda Rousey is a 6th Dan black belt in Judo. That is extremely high up in the ranks. To put this into perspective, it takes over a decade to reach 6th Dan, so we can assume that Ronda started training in her early teens if not before that.

Ronda Rousey has only ever lost two of her matches in her career as a professional fighter. She is considered one of the best Fighters in the world right now and all time.

Amanda Nunes

The Brazilian Amanda Nunes is the first female ever to hold a two-division title. She is currently the champion in the bantam division and the featherweight division within MMA. She holds another astonishing record as she is the first fighter in history to defend both titles at the same time.

Like many Brazilian fighters, her primary discipline is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Her secondary discipline is Judo, and she uses Judo in most, if not all, of her fights. Amanda is an exciting fighter to watch as she adapts well to any opponent that she faces.

Ayaka Hamasaki

Ayaka is a Japanese fighter who currently fights in the United States. She was the first Asian to win an MMA premier title in North America. At only 5 ft 2in, she weighs only 52 kg, but she packs one insane punch with her fighting style.

Hamasaki is a 2nd Dan Judo Black belt, which she uses alongside her grappling techniques to beat her opponents. It took 8 years for her to reach 2nd Dan in Judo.

That is it for this section of the article. This was just a small selection of some of my favorite Judo fighters. I recommend watching some of their fights so that you can get an idea of what they are capable of.

What Is Krav Maga

Krav Maga was developed by the Israeli Defense Force, and it is still used by them as a close combat fighting technique. Krav Maga teaches you how to attack and defend yourself against attackers, which makes it the ultimate self-defense martial art.

All of that being said, Krav Maga is usually used as self-defense rather than attacking other people. It is so effective that it is being adopted by some of the most prominent militaries in the world, including the United States of America military.

Whenever somebody asks me about Krav Maga, I use one way of explaining it to them. Here it goes: Krav Maga is a martial art that removes the spirituality that most martial arts incorporate into their training. It also removes things like discipline. It focuses on technique and how to get out of trouble or to counter attack your opponent.

If you are worried that Krav Maga might be too dangerous, well, I don’t blame you. It does not matter if you are a male or a female; sometimes, certain martial arts can seem intimidating. Just how dangerous is Krav Maga, though? Well, let’s get into it now.

Is Krav Maga Dangerous

Most contact sports have a certain danger element, but in my experience, Krav Maga is no more dangerous than most other combat or contact sports.

When you compare Krav Maga to other martial arts sports, it’s actually relatively a lot safer than most of them out there. This is because the training itself is not as intense. It is more focused on technique than intensity.

Why Krav Maga Is Perfect For Self Defence

As I mentioned briefly above, Krav Maga is not about intensity or cardio or anything like that. It is strictly focused on techniques and predominantly self-defense techniques. We will go a little bit into what these techniques are, or at least what some are further down in the section.

For now, I just want to highlight that when it comes to self-defense, especially for women, you might feel as if you are overpowered by somebody who is stronger and bigger than you. If you can master techniques in combating your opponent, you stand more of a chance of successfully walking away, having defended yourself against an attacker. So, size won’t matter so much.

Krav Maga Techniques

It would be an extremely long article if I was to go over all the techniques taught in Krav Maga. So, I won’t bore you. That does not mean I won’t share with you what you can expect from Krav Maga classes.

Here is a video from “Global Martial Arts University” on YouTube. The video contains what you will learn in your first Krav Maga lesson.

What Martial Arts Do Navy Seals Learn?

Whenever I talk about a certain martial art, I like to add a little section called which MMA fighter or UFC fighter does this martial art. For this, I have to change it up a little bit for this article. This is because Krav Maga is not really popular in the MMA or UFC, but it is very popular amongst militaries. That brings us to the question, what martial arts do Navy seals learn?

The United States Navy Seals learn Krav Maga as their form of martial arts and self-defense. This is because, as we have already mentioned in this article, Krav Maga is one of the best, if not the best martial arts for anyone who wants to learn self-defense.

Is Krav Maga Effective In Real Life

So, as we said, this section is about self-defense for women and the best martial art. So, I am sure that one of the most burning questions on your mind right now is if Krav Maga is good for real-life situations. Let’s jump straight into it.

Out of all the martial arts that there is, in my experience, Krav Maga is one of the best for self-defense in real-world situations. If you are being attacked by somebody, with sufficient Krav Maga knowledge, you will be able to counter-attack anything that they try to do. From that count-attack, you will be able to subdue whoever tried to attack you.

I know that this section makes it sound as if Krav Maga is not dangerous to your opponent, but it actually is. I am just assuming that the person using it as self-defense doesn’t want to hurt their opponent, but if you did want to, you really could inflict quite a lot of pain on to somebody with Krav Maga.

Krav Maga Example

To give you an example of what Krav Maga looks like, I decided to share this video from “Krav Maga Girl” on YouTube.

Hopefully, that video will give you a good idea of why Krav Maga can help you protect yourself.


This article was a pretty in-depth one. My goal was to go through what martial art is best for women based on their needs. I think we did a pretty good job here and I hope that your decision is now a bit easier to make.

Remember, martial arts is a sport that anyone can start doing, and I hope we see more women taking up martial arts in the future. That being said, we have spoken about some of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, and they happen to be women.

Other articles in this series:

Best martial art for a small person.
Best martial art for tall people.
Best martial art for skinny people.
Best martial art for big guys.
Best martial art for overweight people.
Best martial art for bodyguards.
Best combination of martial arts for MMA.

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