The eighth hour of my client couple’s course on the clinch brought in elbow strikes. For the benefit of at least one of the two clients we isolated elbow strikes than looked at their place in the clinch or even in combinations. After our standard warm-up of sport-specific dynamic stretching, callishenics and shadow boxing, we went through the following techniques:
Major Elbow Strikes
Horizontal Elbow – Popularly delivered off both lead and read arms from mid and close range. This is a highly versatile strike and sometimes compared to both straight and hooking punches, depending on its targeting.
Slashing Elbow – One of the best elbow strikes for creating cuts. This strike is also delivered from both mid and close range with either arm on a regular basis. Its execution is comparable with overhand punches.
Spear Elbow – This is a very effective and versatile weapon. The spear elbow is used both offensively and defensively. Although the spear elbow works very well as a powerful “shell-cracker” and an effective counter-strike tool, it is perhaps one of the best elbows to use on the body. The spear elbow can be used to wedge and create distance when thrust into an opponent’s ribs, sternum or shoulder.
Smash-Down Elbow – One of the two most spectacular elbow striking techniques, the smash-down elbow (these days often referred to as a the tomahawk) is typically brought out to create a stoppage. Although a shorter version of it might be used defensively against other strikes, its primary purpose to target the head by coming down on vertical trajectory. These strikes are banned from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In Muay Boran a climbing variation of this technique is known as “monkey climbs the tree”.
Backward & Spinning Elbow – The spinning elbow is the other of the two most spectacular elbow strikes. I taught it after teaching the backward elbow which is the same technique without a spin and might be considered to be a minor elbow strike. The spinning elbow works like a back-kick and is executed at mid and short range. It works off a variety of combinations, as a counter-attack tool and even off kick catches.
Minor Elbow Strikes
Chopping Elbow – This is a shorter variation of the smash-down elbow and is usually delivered at close range.
Diagonal Elbow – This upward slashing elbow strike is the perfect partner to the chopping elbow. It can be delivered off the same trajectory and in conjunction with the downward strike.
Side Elbow – This strike might be considered to be a sideways verson of the spear elbow, but its best place is the mid-section and can serve as an effective parner to a sweep.
Uppercut Elbow – I am probably being controversial in putting this amongst the minor elbow strikes, but I generally don’t see used on its own and outside of close range. It is often confused with the spear elbow due its end striking position. However, it is more of an incidental technique thrown when clinching or on the end of a close-range combination whereas the speak elbow is a more powerful and versatile tool.
We trained all of the above as shadow line-work and then on the focus mitts. Special attention was given striking with the correct part of the elbow in order to get the right sort of impact.