You may have heard of the terms offense and defense if you are interested in martial arts. Different martial arts styles may focus on either one or a balance of these two concepts.

This article will run you through the difference between offense and defense and how it affects your martial art of choice.

Western and Eastern Values

It’s fascinating to see how martial arts mirror a culture’s philosophy and ideals. Although there are significant outliers like Muay Thai, Western martial arts tend to be attacking in nature, whereas Eastern martial arts are defensive in nature.

It is a matter of confronting force with force in the Western perspective. You can’t anticipate what others will do, and you shouldn’t care. You just know what you’re capable of doing, and you do it. You use your strength and drive to overpower people.

In these offensive-focused techniques, any form of action is considered better than staying inactive. The attacking attitude is constantly pushing forward.

In contrast, it’s all about going with the flow with the Eastern perspective. It is impossible to constantly meet force with force and expect to prevail. You pick your conflicts carefully. Every assault on you is a chance for you to initiate a response. The defensive attitude relies on patience, competence, and the ability to seize openings swiftly.

How Does Martial Arts Differ from Self-Defense?

Many individuals believe that learning martial arts for self-defense is required to learn how to defend yourself against everyday risks, but this is not always the case.

Several martial arts were developed for a certain period and location when it comes to self-defense, and they may not work well in the current world. For example, certain moves like flying kicks may not be the best to deal with modern-day threats like a prospective assaulter.


Here are some key differences:


Basic self-defense techniques may be learned by anybody, regardless of size, age, physical ability, weight, or fitness level. Because of this, these are easier to understand.

Techniques such as these provide practical tools to employ against harassment, abuse, and assault, even if there isn’t a physical attack.

If the program so chooses, these classes may be linked to problems of feminism, anti-racism, and other social justice concerns. This helps increase one’s understanding of gender-based violence.

Martial Arts

A decent exercise and learning a time-tested art form is one of the benefits of martial arts. This can help you lose weight and get the benefits of regular exercise on your health.

Sports-oriented martial arts institutions tend to draw younger and more athletic students to train for competitions. However, non-competitive martial arts schools also regard martial arts as a practice that anybody may participate in.

While it may still offer self-defense skills as a bonus, the physical fighting tactics of martial arts are not frequently applicable or realistic in today’s environment.

This is unlike self-defense which can be learned through a quick crash course. To become proficient in a martial art, one needs to devote a significant amount of time to practice and study. It might be a pursuit requiring many years.


It is crucial to draw the line between performing martial arts and self-defense. While these disciplines may seem similar, they are much different in their approach, trainability, and utility.

Self-defense emphasizes practicality and attack avoidance, which do not necessarily require much dedication. On the other hand, Martial arts is a much more challenging pursuit, requiring constant practice and instruction.

However, no matter which field you pursue, both martial arts and self-defense are excellent for building self-confidence, building self-defense skills, and improving your physical health.

Are you looking for martial arts classes in New York? Pride Martial Arts Academy aims to coach, motivate, and inspire people through martial arts and self-defense. Try a free class today!