I know everyone reading this right now is very confused. Boxing and wrestling for self-defense? What about kung fu or karate? What about Ip Man and Jason Borne it didn't look like they were boxing or wrestling.
Well, that's the problem. Movies, the reason why you don't get why boxing and wrestling can be the most effective form of martial art for self-defense is that you are basing your knowledge off of what you have been fed through the media and movies since you were a child jumping off of the couch pretending to be the karate kid.
The truth is that if you had any real experience in training mixed martial arts you could at least entertain the idea of this notion to be true.
Let's let's discuss why these are indeed the most effective for self-defense.
Wrestling is a grappling art that focuses heavily on taking someone down to the ground, and at the same time practitioners have to put a lot of effort into not getting taken down to the ground. Therefore they can be very effective in determining where the fight will go, and if they decide to take their attacker down to the ground with a takedown on asphalt it could inflict a serious blow to the attacker. If the fight does go down to the ground, wrestlers are good at staying on top and controlling their opponents, so they can be very effective striking while on top inflicting damage to their opponents and also in a very good position to stand up to kick and disengage as well as control their opponents and not hurt them at all while they wait for the police to arrive.
Boxing is just in our nature, especially males. Just like wrestling, we grow up punching each other playing slap box, etc. Chief Instructor of Fit To Fight (an organization that specializes in self-protection) Ryan Hoover says that in situations where stress is elevated most people refer mostly to their hands. So spending time working on boxing will be the most efficient way of spending your time because there are more chances of using these types of strikes in a situation where you were forced to defend yourself.
In an event that you found yourself in a crowded area or where there is lots of furniture around you may also find it difficult to throw kicks, and in the event that you end up being close enough to throw knees and elbow, well now you are in clinch range which means that you can just resort back to your wrestling.
The tricky part is finding a place to train in these areas. The market is saturated with traditional martial arts that don't ever train with real resistance which results in spending a lot of time training in techniques and training regiments that are heavily flawed.
So let's discuss a few options.
Find a Fit To Fight training center. There are around 50 of these scattered across the world. Fit To Fight instructors specialize in self-protection, they have put together a very comprehensive curriculum and training methodology that combines elements fo krav maga, boxing, wrestling and muay thai. This website offers their flagship course (Defensive Options) in a video format, but to truly become effective in martial arts you have to train, so this website could be a great place to get information, but ultimately you would need to travel to your nearest Fit To Fight Affiliate instructor for testing and hands-on training. I currently own and operate two gyms in Baton Rouge (BR Krav Maga) where we starting using Fit To Fight's self-defense and fighting programs and since starting using them I have seen a significant improvement in my own skill development as well as my students.
Some other options would be finding a good bjj academy and a local boxing gym. Former wrestlers tend to hang out and train at bjj schools. After their high school or college wrestling days come to an end they tend to gravitate to these centers to continue their pursuit of mastering the art of grappling. You should be able to pick up a good bit of wrestling at one of these academies while learning bjj, which is another amazing martial for self-defense.
For boxing, I would recommend finding a local boxing gym and make sure that the way they are training will suit your needs. If you are training for self-defense it is important to train smart. You want to find a gym that is not going to just throw you in the ring because you are fresh meat and their ace fighter needs a sparring partner. Sparring is a must for learning self-protection but needs to be done appropriately so finding the right gym might prove to be difficult.