What Martial Arts Do Navy SEAL Use?

What Martial Arts Do Navy SEAL Use?

Navy SEALs are the US primary special forces and a component of Naval Special Warfare Command. That is not just a long and fancy definition, is a description to make you and me understand that Navy SEALs are tasked with the most dangerous missions and combat situations.

Due to these risks, every single member needs to have skills that give them the best survival chances to succeed in their mission. Mental toughness, physical strength, and hand-to-hand combat abilities are what a Navy SEAL needs to have.

All of those fighting abilities are coming from martial art combat techniques.

We are going to find out in this article, what disciplines are included in the NAVY SEAL training program and why.

 So let’s jump in and find out more about Navy SEAL combat training.

Jacko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL officer, which hosts one of the most top-rated podcasts, where it talks about his personal experiences in NAVY SEAL. The first discipline that he said that is taught is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), the second one is Boxing, fallow by Muay Thai, and lastly some wrestling as well.

To better understand why we will briefly describe each martial art style.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Is a beautiful discipline that focuses on grappling and ground fighting, a situation that a navy seal member could end up really easy.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has proven time after time effective in risky situations. It allows the practitioner to act and think rationally in high-risk situations.

BJJ promotes the idea of a smaller and weaker individual can defeat an opponent bigger and stronger.

But not to be confused with wrestling, which we will look into it later in this article.

BJJ practicians are masters in applying joint locks and chokeholds, techniques that don’t require a crazy amount of muscle strength.

But, due to the intense and extreme training program, the candidates for Navy SEALs gain a considerable muscle mass that is going together with BJJ abilities.

By learning BJJ you will benefit from increased physical fitness, self-knowledge of your body mechanics, and problem-solving. Abilities that are welcome in a navy seal skill pack.


Probably the most known martial art is boxing. But how can this discipline be beneficial for a navy seal? As you well know, boxers use their legs only for weight distribution and angle changing. Boxing brings benefits such as:

  • Improved Cardiovascular Health
  • Increased Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Improved Endurance and Stamina
  • Increase in muscle mass

Navy SEALs needs to learn first to be a practical fighter, without fancy fly spinning kicks in other techniques like that.

Jabs, hooks, and uppercuts are simple and powerful moves that can be used in most confrontations.

But in boxing, you will develop crazy defense head movement, hand explosions, and speed. All of this combined with angle changing will result in turning the light off to your opponent.

Now, I believe we start to see the reason why boxing is part of the Navy SEALs’ combat training.

Muay Thai

The art of 8 limbs (punches, elbows, knees, kicks), the how the muay thai is called by many people. Yes, obvious why the navy seal has to learn it.

Muay Thai is quite an aggressive and powerful martial art. Why?

 Because the technique is not only focused on how to use your muscles to strike hard but also how to use your whole from the foot up to your shoulders in flow movement to generate destructive power output.

One kick from a muay thai fighter is equal to a baseball bat hitting you.

Also, they are well known for conditioning their bodies for absorbing damage and conditioning their shins to be the second most lethal weapon in their arsenal, the first being the elbows technique.

Imagine how useful this set of skills can be for a life and death combat situation, which a navy seal may encounter.


Wrestling is sharing some similarities with BJJ, but the main difference is that the practicians won’t learn how to focus on joints-locks and choking.

Instead, they will focus on grabbing and slamming the opponent on the ground, where combined with BJJ techniques is a great way in ending a combat fast and clean.

You won’t find any skinny and powerless guys amongst navy seals, only muscle and proper fit individuals. Now imagine them grabbing and slamming someone into the ground with full force…

Is it pretty much game over for that guy? So yes, the members of Navy Seal are more lethal by having this knowledge.

Navy SEAL Combat Training

Just being a candidate, you will need to pass the 26-week physical screening test first, after that you will undergo an extremely demanding training regimen that is designed to become fit for any type of situation that you may find yourself in a mission.

Dealing with combat situations, being able to pack a punch and throw some kicks is most definitely will not be enough.

Martial arts like Boxing and BJJ help the navy seals in fast-thinking, problem-solving, and adapting based on situations abilities. All these skills make a navy seal an expert in hand-to-hand combat.

But the best self-defense skill that exists on this planet, is what Jacko Willink said, “Is a gun, that is concealed carry”

There are really evil and dangerous people out there, that our Navy SEALs deal with, and the opportunities to get that close for hand-to-hand combat are rare.

Knowing how to shoot with a wide variety of weapons is the most effective skill that these Navy SEALs possess.

This is the end of the article, I hope that we helped you to find out what these incredible warriors are learning in their extremely hard and dangerous combat training.

If we did not answer all of your questions in this article, please feel free to go to the comment section and ask us anything, and we will do our best to answer them all as fast as possible.

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