Techniques>Strikes>Elbow strikes

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Elbow strikes


Although elbow attacks are not punches, they are used in same way as punches. Elbows require you to be in close range but it isn’t good strategy to try to get inside just to use elbow attacks, However, when your opponent moves into range or you find yourself in close range, such as in a clinch, punches aren’t effective and elbow attacks become very effective.

How to perform elbow strikes

From the guard, instead of using a punching technique such as a cross, perform the same technique using the elbow instead of the fist.

Benefits of elbow strikes

Elbow strikes use a short stroke but they allow you to put all the force of the large shoulder and back muscles, hip rotation, body mass, and leg power into the attack.

Elbows are more effective than hands when used against hard targets, such as the head. A punch to the head may hurt the opponent, but punching hand will probably also be injured. When fighting in self-defense, especially against multiple attackers, you cannot afford to injure your hands. An elbow smash to the head may seriously injure the opponent, while the elbow will probably not be injured.

Types of elbow strikes

  • Front of elbow strike
  • This is the most common elbow strike 
  • It uses approximately 6-inches of the forearm just in below of the tip of the elbow. 
  • You use the strike like you would use a jab, cross, hook, or uppercut. 
  • It is used for breaking since the striking surface is narrow bone and the full force of the body may be applied behind the strike. A powerful breaking technique against a horizontal target is to rotate the shoulder over the forearm as it strikes so the front of elbow strikes downward into the breaking medium.
  • Back of elbow strike
  • This strike uses approximately 4-inches of the upper arm just above the tip of the elbow. 
  • The back of the elbow may be pulled backward at shoulder level into a target behind the shoulder or, if you are perpendicular to the target, the elbow may be pulled across the side of the body at shoulder level in a hooking motion.
  • The elbow may also be dropped downward in front while the mass of the body is dropped into the attack. This elbow drop is used in breaking because of its power.
  • An effective attack is a reverse spinning elbow strike to the head. Since the upper arm bone is thick and well padded, it may impart serious injury to the head without injury to itself.
  • Tip of elbow strike
  • The tip of the elbow presents a hard bone that comes to a point. This concentrates the force of the strike into a small area, which increases the strength of the force. However, the bone is relatively fragile, so it must not be used against hard targets; a broken elbow would incapacitate the entire arm. However, against soft targets, such as the kidneys, it may be deadly. 
  • The tip of the elbow may be thrust backward at shoulder height, under the shoulder, or out to the side. 
  • The tip of the elbow may also be thrust downward while the mass of the body is dropped into the attack.
  • Twin elbows strike. There are numerous combinations of double elbow attacks. Each elbow may perform the same attack, or each may perform a different attack. For example twin, high, back of the elbow strikes, one to each side, or one, low, backward, back of the elbow strike and one, high, hooking, back of the elbow strike to the side.
  • Top of elbow strike. The top surface of the elbow joint may be jerked upward under the chin, like an uppercut; however, this is not an effective strike; it is only used when there is no other technique available to use
  • Bottom of elbow strike. The bottom surface of the elbow may be snapped inward to the side of the head, like a hook; however, this is not an effective strike; it is only used when there is no other technique available to use

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