4 Types of Elbow Strikes You Can Use in Self Defense or MMA

If you have ever watched mixed martial arts, you’ve no doubt seen someone use their elbow at some point during the bout. These elbow strikes can be some of the most vicious and effective attacks in any fighter’s arsenal.

There have been many fights in the UFC and other martial arts competitions where someone threw an elbow that landed where it was supposed to and put their opponent on the mat.

Certain types of elbow strikes can also be highly effective in a self-defense situation when you are in close quarters with an attacker.

Knowing how to throw elbows with power and accuracy is a key aspect of training in martial arts, making it a great thing to focus on from time to time.

Types of Elbow Strikes to Practice

The best elbow strike techniques are designed to be quick and accurate, slicing in multiple directions. Any time you’re using one of these methods, it’s important to hit your opponent with the strong, sharp point of your elbow to be as effective as possible.

1. Snap Elbow

Throwing elbows is a great way to get a fast strike in while still causing decent damage. Among the most common types of elbow strikes you’ll see, the Snap Elbow is the equivalent of a hook with your lead hand. It’s a great technique to try when you’re already up in close combat.

To throw a Snap Elbow:

  • Loosen up your front hand and shoulder
  • Curl your forearm in tight to your bicep
  • Slice your elbow horizontally across your body

If you’re slightly out of range for an elbow strike, you can always add a quick step forward while throwing this attack to get closer.

2. Cross Elbow

A shot with more power comes by using the elbow of your back hand similar to a rear hook punch. You follow the same technique as with the Snap Elbow but with the other side.Throwing a cross elbow strike.When throwing a Cross Elbow:
Loosen up your back hand and shoulder
Curl your rear forearm in tight to your bicep
Slice your elbow horizontally across your body while also stepping forward

It’s more common to include the step in this elbow strike because of the additional distance needed to reach your opponent. You’ll need to take a quick step forward while throwing the elbow to close the gap.

3. Up Elbow

An uppercut can be one of the most devastating punches you can throw in a fight when used properly and an upward elbow can have a similar effect. Meant to slice through the middle of your opponent’s guard, these elbow strikes can be thrown to your opponent’s head, chest, gut, or chin depending on your placement.

If you want to use an Up Elbow:

  • Step forward with your lead leg
  • Swing your front elbow in an upward motion, keeping your lead hand near your face

The movement of this elbow strike is similar to combing the hair back on the side of your head.

4. Down Elbow

The Down Elbow is the only strike on this list that has a bit of a wind-up before you throw it, which also gives it more power. This is meant to allow you to swing your elbow up and over to hit your opponent cleanly.

To throw a Down Elbow:

  • Pull your rear shoulder back slightly so your hands are even with each other, almost as though you could hold a straight stick between them.
  • Swing your elbow slightly above your shoulder and then in a downward motion across your body

Work On Your Elbow Strikes

Don’t forget to always keep your guard up when striking with elbows because you’ll be in close range any time you use them. This will keep you protected and allow you to get away quickly if your opponent tries to counter.

Learning how to throw elbow strikes is one of the best ways to mix up your training and add a new weapon to your arsenal of attacks.

Check out our top-rated programs at NY Martial Arts Academy to learn this and other ways to better defend yourself!

What Is Grappling in MMA?

Original Post: 01/06/2015 MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, is a popular sport. Few people understand that it typically involves striking, wrestling, and grappling - basically fighting on your feet, getting your opponent to the ground, then...

Using Jeet Kune Do Footwork to Avoid Getting Punched

The art of Jeet Kune Do created by Bruce Lee integrates all facets of combat. Various styles are borrowed from boxing, fencing, and other types of fighting. But one of the things that makes it truly unique is Jeet Kune Do footwork. If you...

The 5 Most Effective Types of Takedown Defense

If you want to achieve success as a martial artist, you need to improve your takedown defense as a way to avoid being brought to the ground during a fight. When mixed martial arts (MMA) first started, skilled grapplers won many of the first...

Helpful Head Movement Drills for Self Defense

There’s a saying in the martial world that says, “Either you move your head or he’s gonna move it for you.” Effective head movement is used to avoid oncoming attacks and also to set up strong counter moves. It can...

Bruce Lee: The Greatest Martial Artist of All Time

It is widely accepted by fighters and other people around the world that Bruce Lee was the most influential martial artist of all time. From his famous action movies to his unique martial art of Jeet Kune Do, the legend of Bruce Lee has held...

The 3 Benefits of Martial Arts Wellness Programs

Attracting talent to your organization is more difficult now than it has been. With more flexibility favoring employees, you must offer a fully laid out benefits package. This approach may appear costly, but it will help you attract and retain...

A Martial Arts Journey to Health and Fitness

Written By Jessica Militello When Chris Shea first joined New York Martial Arts Academy in 2017, he had just embarked on a serious commitment to revamp his health and fitness habits. Two years later, his determination and discipline to making...

Is Jeet Kune Do the best self-defense for you?

Is Jeet Kune Do the best self-defense for you? By Jessica Militello     In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the four locations of New York Martial Arts Academy, passersby regularly stop and take out their camera phones to...

Why Every Woman Should Do Martial Arts

Many physical activities from sports to adventure hiking tend to get branded as masculine things to do. This limited perspective ignores the benefits that any person can enjoy from these activities. Martial arts provide many opportunities for...
Page: 123456 - All

Using Jeet Kune Do Footwork to Avoid Getting Punched

The art of Jeet Kune Do created by Bruce Lee integrates all facets of combat. Various styles are borrowed from boxing, fencing, and other types of fighting. But one of the things that makes it truly unique is Jeet Kune Do footwork. If you...

The 5 Most Effective Types of Takedown Defense

If you want to achieve success as a martial artist, you need to improve your takedown defense as a way to avoid being brought to the ground during a fight. When mixed martial arts (MMA) first started, skilled grapplers won many of the first...

Helpful Head Movement Drills for Self Defense

There’s a saying in the martial world that says, “Either you move your head or he’s gonna move it for you.” Effective head movement is used to avoid oncoming attacks and also to set up strong counter moves. It can...

Bruce Lee: The Greatest Martial Artist of All Time

It is widely accepted by fighters and other people around the world that Bruce Lee was the most influential martial artist of all time. From his famous action movies to his unique martial art of Jeet Kune Do, the legend of Bruce Lee has held...

Why Martial Arts Is More Than Just Kicking

  Martial arts was initially seen as combative and puzzling. It was mostly learned and practiced by adults and was chiefly about self-defense. Martial arts has ever since grown from that stage of tiny dirty schools to schools teaching...

Fencing without a foil?

Bruce Lee often called his art of Jeet Kune Do, fencing without a foil.  In this entry we will be discussing what he meant by that statement.   If you take a look at fencing and Jeet Kune Do, you will not a few similarities.  One of...

Finding a Little Bruce Lee in All of Us

A slew of Bruce Lee types, embracing both men and women, could soon be making their way through the streets of New York--but with an added physical dimension; expertise in rough, tough and often savage street fighting.  In brief, those bad...

Doing Your Own JKD Thing

By Cass Magda   JKD has its own identity and follows a design with a purpose. It is a system. A JKD man's movement is definitely different and distinguishable from other martial arts such as Thai kickboxing, wing chun, or karate. The physical...

Getting To The Roots of JKD

By Cass Magda   In the Tao of JKD Bruce Lee said, "I hope that martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves. It is futile to argue as to which single...

Jeet Kune Do: The Way of The "Stopping Fist"

Jeet Kune Do is training and discipline toward the ultimate reality in combat. The ultimate reality is returning to one's primary freedom, which is simple, direct, and nonclassical.  A good Jeet Kune Do man does not oppose force or give way...

Jeet Kune Do's Five Ways Of Attack

1. SDA (Single Direct Attack) A direct attack is composed of a single movement. The objective is to go to the target by the most direct route. Although it is the simplest of the attacks, it is the hardest to complete successfully because the...
We’re offering adult live-streaming classes from 7 pm to 8 pm every Weeknight and Saturday at 12 pm.
Kid's classes are Tuesday and Thursday from 6 pm to 6:30 pm.
Classes are live on YouTube and Instagram