Using Elbows in Mixed Martial Arts

The Elbow Strike

Elbow strikes are seen most often in Muay Thai fighting but have become a staple of mixed martial arts fighting as well. Elbows can be thrown standing up, on the ground, in combinations, as a set up strike, or as a counter. The elbow can be a devastating weapon in a fight because of its versatility, speed, and power. Elbow strikes are close range strikes that hit quick and hard. Also in an MMA fight there are no pads on the elbows making them especially useful.

In very close range is where elbows are used most often because of the decreased range of the strike, which is its biggest drawback. Upwards elbows, cross or hook elbows, spinning elbows, elbows on the ground, and elbows from the clinch are all seen in mixed martial arts fighting. Another thing to keep in mind is that elbow strikes can be great at cutting opponents above the eye. In mma or in a real life situation blood running into the opponents eye is a great thing for you.

The Basics

Elbow strikes draw power from the same movements as regular punches except that they culminate in the tip of the elbow instead of the end of the fist. Any cross or hook elbow require rotation of the feet,  hips, and torso to drive the elbow into the opponent’s face. Likewise an upwards elbow relies on essentially the same motion as an uppercut. Also The elbow an be an effective strike when very close to the opponent because other strikes are not an option at that range

This video shows a very quick but broad view of some elbow strikes that are available to use

Muay Thai Clinch

If you are going to trust one martial arts for elbow strike techniques its Muay Thai. The Muay Thai clinch provides an ideal position for elbowing the opponent; close range and inside his guard. From the clinch, with the grip on the opponent’s head the power of a quick elbow can be magnified by throwing the opponents head into the strike with the other arm, or simply not letting it give way as much. Also elbows from the clinch allow for the set up of knee strikes and take downs as well.

Striking effectively and maintaining the clinch at the same time is much easier said than done. Also just getting off effective elbows from the clinch isn’t easy with jockeying for position and blocking going on. Because the clinch is a whole position in itself CLICK HERE to learn about the clinch before attempting strikes from it.

K.O. Elbow

Many elbow strikes are not knockout blows. This is because most elbow strikes do come from the inside and close range so their power is lacking comparatively. However that is where the fact that the point of the elbow can easily tear the flesh above the eye causing severe bleeding. 

However the spinning back elbow can certainly turn out to be a knockout strike in MMA. Striking with the elbow already makes the point of impact smaller increasing the strikes power. However when the spinning motion is used to throw the elbow the rotational speed of the body makes the strike easily powerful enough to knock out an opponent. Think twice and practice a little before you throw one though because if you miss you could be in a bad position.

Ask this guy how powerful Jon Jones’ elbow is.

Or just look at this guy fall like a sack of bricks (its quick but funny)

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