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What Styles of Martial Arts Do Navy Seals Learn?

author image Jason Jensen
Jason Jensen began his professional freelance writing career in 2010. He is an ACT-certified personal trainer and longtime vegetarian with an enthusiasm for fitness and nutrition. Jensen has also worked as a musician, freelance photographer, audio engineer and Web designer.
What Styles of Martial Arts Do Navy Seals Learn?
Navy seal training in California. Photo Credit: Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Navy SEALs learn a variety of martial arts to become highly efficient hand-to-hand combatants. They are encouraged to learn as many styles as they can, but there are a few that are staples in their training. For a Navy SEAL, martial arts are integral to their safety and their ability to execute covert missions and deal with enemies in close quarters if need be. This is why SEALs only focus on the most effective martial arts.

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Practical Boxing Skills

Most people don't consider boxing to be a martial art, but its application is just as effective in a street fight as it is in a ring. Navy SEAL combat training starts with basic elements that come from traditional boxing -- footwork speed, agility, quick thinking. Navy SEALs are taught first and foremost to be practical fighters; boxing dispenses with fancy spinning kicks, back flips and other showy maneuvers, and deals directly with confrontation.

Combat Jiujitsu

Combat jiujitsu is not like ordinary jiujitsu or the typical hand-to-hand combat techniques taught in other branches of the military. Combat jiujitsu is for combat, not self-defense. Self-defense is useful for countering attacks and protecting yourself. Combat jiujitsu is offensive. It is for attacking quickly and eliminating your opponent.

Krav Maga

Krav maga is the official martial art of the Israeli armed forces. It is expressly designed for real-life situations, such as street fighting. Many of krav maga's techniques are meant for disarming armed opponents who may be attacking you with a gun or a knife, which is why it's ideal for Navy SEALs. It teaches you to abandon flashy, complicated moves typical of most martial arts and rely on your instincts.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is one of the most brutal forms of hand-to-hand combat in the world. Its practitioners are taught to strike their enemies viciously with the hard bones of the shins, elbows, fists and knees. It is the most popular sport in Thailand. When the gloves are off, it is efficient at incapacitating an attacker in real-life situations. It is ideal for close-quarters combat, which is how Navy SEALs are taught to engage their enemies.

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