This section provides instructions for a wide variety of martial arts elbow strikes including the spinning back elbow strike, downward elbow strike, etc. Elbow strikes are used by most martial arts styles including Muay Thai, Krav Maga and Karate.
A martial arts elbow strike is a devastating close-in striking technique used for self-defense situations, in some sparring matches, for breaking techniques, etc. An elbow strike can be thrown from the side, downward vertically, upward vertically, to the rear, etc. When learning elbow strikes, martial arts students should also practice how to counter an elbow strike.
If you are looking for other hand and arm techniques, please visit Black Belt Wiki’s main Punches & Strikes section.
Wiki – Best Martial Arts Books
List of Elbow Strike Variations – Click on the individual technique for video and/or written instructions
- Diagonal Elbow Strike – This is a diagonal version of the front elbow strike.
- Downward Elbow Strike
- Front Elbow Strike or Forward Elbow Strike, Forward Horizontal Elbow Strike, Round Elbow Strike, etc.
- Front Elbow Thrust or Thrusting Elbow Strike
- Jumping Downward Elbow Strike
- Rear Elbow Strike or Back Elbow Strike, Reverse Elbow Strike, etc.
- Side Elbow Strike
- Spinning Back Elbow Strike or Spinning Rear Elbow Strike, Spinning Elbow, etc.
- Superman Elbow Strike
- Uppercut Elbow Strike
- Other lesser utilized elbow strikes include the Jumping Double Downward Elbow Strike, Double Side Elbow Strike, etc.
Elbow Strike Techniques by Martial Arts Style – Instructions & videos
Martial Arts Elbow Strike – Positives
- An elbow strike is a powerful weapon because you are hitting an attacker with the long distal bone of the forearm (ulna) and/or the olecranon process (the “tip” of the elbow).
- You are less likely to break a bone with an elbow strike. In contrast, you are more likely to break the smaller bones in the hand and fingers with a punch.
- Elbow strikes can be used if an attacker is in close trying to grapple with you and you do not have room for an effective punch (i.e. both of you are on the ground wrestling for position).
Martial Arts Elbow Strike – Negatives
- You need to get close to attacker in order to throw an elbow strike. This puts you in range for your opponent’s attacks or to be grabbed by an attacker.
- The swing of a powerful elbow strike can shift you out of position. You are more likely to stay in a protective fighting stance with a straight punch, jab, etc.
- When using a downward elbow strike that only the olecranon process (tip of the elbow) hits the surface or serious damage can be done to the triceps.
- Elbow strikes are often used in combination with grabbing an opponent’s head so they can not move out of range.
- Practice return elbow strikes. For example, if you throw a front elbow strike and miss, you should use the same arm to “return” to the opposite side of the target with a rear elbow strike.
Instructional Video for a Front or Forward Elbow Strike
Marine Corps – Elbow Strike Training
Image provided by Wikimedia Commons