Muay Thai elbow strikes, basics for beginners

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Making eight points contact, the sport of Muay Thai is known as “The Art of Eight Limbs”. Its’ arsenal includes punches, kicks, knees and elbows. Muay Thai elbow strikes is an art on its own (alongside clinching of course).


One can say that the elbow strikes is the main distinct of Thai Boxing from all other major disciplines of kickboxing, such as Full Contact (kicks above the waist), low kick and oriental rules (commonly refereed as K-1, thanks to Japanese promotion). Furthermore, elbow technique is perhaps “that” something, what makes beginners get interested in Muay Thai, aspiring to learn arguably the most dangerous techniques of stand-up fighting.

When it comes to Muay Thai elbow techniques, Nathan Corbett is your man (watch his highlight on Facebook). Well-known “elbow master” is the former WKN World Heavyweight champion from Australia, who currently resides in the US, where he runs “Carnage Striking” seminars and helps training UFC Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg for her upcoming bout against Amanda Nunes on December 30 (AEDT).

Outside of Thailand, the elbow strikes is a rare thing to see in the amateur Muay Thai bouts. This is due to various reasons, including coaching.

The featured video above is the second fight of Misagh Norouzi four months after he started training. Despite a defeat, certain things worked, including right overhand elbow strike, which can be seen at 4:05.

Muay Thai elbow training for beginners

Last Monday I shared some training ideas for beginners and first-time fighters. Not going too deep into technical aspects (there is a number of tutorials online), here is five tips from my experience which might help with throwing elbows:

  • Keep shoulders relaxed
  • When attacking – make a step forward to shorten the range
  • Turn your hip as if you were throwing a punch
  • Don’t make a move like if you were swimming
  • Don’t try too hard, it would make you tensed. Just do.

There is a number of things that can be added, depending on a situation. Muay Thai elbow strikes can be used as a counter-attack, including elbow uppercut or spinning elbow strike. Punch elbow combo might require advanced training.

In addition, earlier this year we filmed several training videos dedicated to Muay Thai basics, including right elbow strike techniques. The clip can be found below.


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