Ever wonder why many fighters take their own sweet time learning the many Muay Thai elbow techniques? The quintessential “knives of Muay Thai”, the elbows are considered as not-so-secret weapons in this sweet but brutal sport. One of the main causes of bloody fights, elbows are typically used to slice-off strategic points to curtail sight or movement of an opposing fighter in the most devastating manner possible. From the tip of your forearm to that of your upper arm, striking an opponent at the right angle at a right time will definitely amplify one’s chances of victory.
Practice Makes Perfect
The idea is to practice Muay Thai elbow techniques via a good classic training bag or a banana bag. Sharpness and robustness of one’s elbows take time to master. Swinging the elbow in a narrow angle, for instance, requires strategic positioning of the arms and footwork. So does the idea of wounding an opponent to take control of the fight. Increasing one’s sharpness and hardness of the elbow’s impact must be strategically done in such a way that it is delivered swiftly and smoothly. When not done accordingly, it may result to bruising or worse, injury to a fighter.
To get you started, here are some tips on how to make the best move on various elbow techniques available in Muay Thai:
- Stun an opponent by hitting the lower jaw or the chin via a hard horizontal elbow. This elbow technique accumulate momentum from the behind and is thrown crosswise. A fighter may also slash an opponent’s side of the head right at the temple area.
- Instead of the usual punch, make good use of the elbows sharpness to penetrate an opponent’s guard. Most fighters use the uppercut elbow to target the nose, the chin, and the eyebrows. This elbow technique is done swiftly and in full force in an upward stakeout manner that will leave an opponent bloody and disoriented.
- Another method that deliver the same devastating impact as that of an uppercut elbow is the forward-elbow-thrust. Used by fighters to strike-off powerful hooks and grappling-savvy opponents, it aims to pierce right through an opening cutting not just momentum but also deep into the skin. This is best used when thwarting an opponent’s aggressive approach thus, must be executed swiftly and viciously.
- Get a gash flowing on an opponent’s eye or forehead via a slashing elbow. A cut in the eye or in the forehead is one of the most devastating injury a fighter gets to have when on the ring. Aside from the hot flow of blood offers distraction, it can also be used as a technicality to defeat an opponent. Be reminded to double your momentum before striking as this requires double the force and the speed.
- Surprise knockouts are quite rare in Muay Thai but when a good backward elbow is done perfectly, you are in for a surprise. Aimed typically to the chin or the jaw line, this elbow strike is quite sneaky yet effective in landing a clean and “fatal” move to disable an opponent’s ability to counter your move.
- Do not let height underestimate your prowess. The downward jumping Muay Thai elbow technique is a favorite among the vertically-challenged fighters. It is done like that of forward-thrust elbow routine but with a jumping motion. This is one way to close the distance between you and the opponent. Speed is of utmost importance on this one for that element of surprise.
- After turning a clinch, a fighter can release a spinning back elbow move to topple an opponent. This is quite handy when an opponent is moving forward and you’re on the ready to strike. This is akin to doing a combination of horizontal, overhead and upward elbow strike towards an opponent.
- When aiming for the chin at a close proximate, the diagonal elbow technique will help seal the deal. It is one of the hardest elbow techniques to block in Muay Thai. The key is to do it fast and in full force directly to the bottom or middle of the chin. When done right, it can render an opponent unconscious, snoring for oblivion.
- Want to split an opponent’s forehead? A downward elbow chop technique should be part of your game. The hacking motion is often used by agile fighters in effectively closing the distance between him/her and the opponent. It may be done from the above or via the middle breaking an opponent’s guard heading to split a forehead open.
- Get back on track when missing a forward elbow by swiftly doing a reverse horizontal elbow technique. From a failed horizontal elbow move, swiftly go back to your side and do a reverse, like a car backing up to get back on position. This requires mastery though and must be pulled off at a perfect time.
- Instead of one elbow, why not use both via a double chop elbow technique in Muay Thai? Well, this may sound like a great move but must only be done when one is ahead of an opponent. In most fights, an aggressive fighter usually uses both elbows when showing his/her dominance.
- Like the axe kick, the axe elbow technique is a known offensive move by veteran fighters. This is done by spiking one’s elbow into the opponent’s shoulder, head, arm or body from above. This technique, by the way, is banned from MMA and any other boxing competitions except Muay Thai.
In all these Muay Thai elbow techniques, adequate care and attention must be given to posture, footwork and counter moves. The key is to strike an area where there’s less muscle cushioning by using the pointed part of your elbow. Do it sharply and best of all, violently to deliver complete devastation leading to your victory.