If I was going to learn anything, at least in terms of what I've heard about, it would be Aikido. I've specifically avoided learning martial arts
in any form, however, due to the fact that I've known that if I did learn one, I would use it in illegitimate (as in, non-self-defense) situations.
My father in particular would probably not still be alive if I'd learned one as a teenager. I am a berserker who at times has been angry to the
point of amnesia.
I've also been in a situation before where I was certain (at the time, at least) that I was going to die. I became very calm. That is the
paradoxical flip side of the gangr
; I can scream like a 12 year old girl from having a
huntsman spider land on me, but in situations where fear would be genuinely justified, I'm usually not afraid at all.
My advice would be to primarily try to avoid situations where you are going to be exposed to violence at all. Violence is a no-win situation; even if
you come out of it relatively ok, it will still mean that somebody else gets hurt, and I am not as vengeful as the average American in particular, so
I see that as being a bad thing. You are much safer avoiding violence, than you are becoming an expert martial artist and then bragging to people (or
demonstrating silently and non-verbally, which they usually do) how badass you supposedly are.
I live in a town at the moment, which is a place of great contrasts, in relation to violence. On the one hand, there is an unusually high
concentration of hippies here, who are pacifists and who think that preventing violence is more important than anything else. On the other hand, we
have a number of drug addicts and mentally ill people, who are trained and who have made violence one of the central elements of their lives.
I try to avoid the latter group as completely as possible, and truthfully, I feel great pity for them. I have direct experience of the concept that
it actually requires a much larger degree of strength (psychologically and spiritually, if not physically) to refrain from violence, than to engage in
Read Sun Tzu; he says that the greatest measure of military skill is not to fight 100 battles, but to win 100 without fighting. The saying is true,
that if you are required to draw your sword, you've already lost.