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Self Defense Law

Devastating Elbows

They hurt, they cut, they knock-down and they destroy. Your elbows are possibly the most effective self-defense tool for close quarters combat you have on you. Use them to cover attacks from your opponents, get closer and start blending.

Elbows prove to be very effective offensive and defensive tool - all in one. In close quarters combat, you would only hardly find any other natural weapon as universal as this.

They are very simple to execute, provide effective cover and deliver stunning impact.

As I wrote above, elbows are a tool applicable in close quarters combat, especially from the position of head control such as clinch.

Offensive elbows

In our training, we distinguish 3 types of elbow strikes in relation to which angle they are coming from.

Vertical (up and down), horizontal (left to right and vice versa) and diagonal elbows (slant movement).

To get a better idea about offensive elbows, take a look at this video where Luke Holloway shows some flows of elbow combos.

To learn more about striking with elbows, go to:

Notice how Luke always keeps his opponent in clinch or other type of head control.

This way he secures that the guy he is mashing, doesn’t get away from him after a successful blow so he can keep hitting him until necessary. Also, if the opponent would start to counteract, Luke would be able to quickly update his mashing game by readjusting his position and his opponent’s balance.

Striking with elbows doesn’t necessarily have to be aimed to the head only.

For example, in hand to hand combat, the strikes can also be used defensively in further proximity to strike incoming punches and create an opening to close the distance to your adversary.


Defensive elbows

Elbows have proven to be not only a great offensive weapon, but enormously effective tool for defense as well.

That makes elbows really an ultimate instrument for fighting in close quarters.

About 30 seconds into this video, you can see Luke Holloway using his elbow in a defensive way, while covering an incoming punch and delivering a piercing hit to his opponent’s shoulder at the same time (plus some other cool stuff).

Notice how coach Holloway continues to flow with his elbows immediately after he closes the gap between him and his opponent.

You could make your position even better by going for clinch and continue with your elbows from there. This way you’ll secure the guy in close proximity and he will NOT get away from you after eating a strong hit.

When I train with new people I notice how they lead the motion of an elbow strike with their hand/palm (like with a punch), instead with their elbow. This is essential especially when using your elbows as a cover with hands on your head. Don’t move your hands – move your elbows instead, and let the hand to follow. Try the motion yourself and feel the difference in force and speed.

To make your elbows even deadlier, it is good to condition them on a regular basis. Like Thai fighters condition their shins, for we should also take care of our elbows and forearms.

Here is a little tip from Damien Ross on how he does it.

Don’t strictly rely on your punches and include elbows to your training. They provide an ultimate solution for close quarters offense and defense alike… Spar and test it yourself.

Condition your forearms to strengthen your covers and elbows to deliver massive damage.

TAGS: close quarters combat heavy damage knockout


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