In a Muay Thai fight, the most awesome feeling is landing a clean elbow strike and knocking your opponent down, but getting hit by an elbow strike is not so awesome. Muay Thai is one of the most unique martial art forms because this is one of the few combat sport that uses elbows. And this makes it pretty awesome to watch and is a very useful technique to use because it’s so effective and dangerous.
I remember the first day I throw a spinning elbow technique while a Muay Thai sparring, my opponent get knocked out in the second I throw an elbow.
I launch the elbow perfectly on that guy’s jaw, and his face got bloody, I won’t forget that day.
So clinch is an important part of every Muay Thai fight. So you always need to better your clinch game.
Knowing every type of elbow technique is an important component of the clinching game. (and it can be the silver line between your winning and losing)
And neglecting to learn the elbow strikes can be a great disadvantage to your Muay Thai career.
Why Are Muay Thai Elbows Are So Dangerous & Effective?
There are some things that make the elbow very dangerous and effective in Muay Thai fights.
The main thing is the elbow is the hardest and sharpest bone in a human body. And with proper technique, the elbow can be very dangerous.
Most elbow strikes are very close-ranged, but some elbows can be throw from far away. (but you have to be very fast)
The elbows are used mostly in the clinch because it’s a safe position to throw some elbows.
The elbow shots look like little kangaroo punches, but with a little twist to throw the strikes with maximum body weight can be a plus point.
The elbow technique can be a powerful knockout strike if it’s super close range, with a perfect targeted shot.
The close-range elbow technique is dangerous because it can knock someone out, but it can cause deep cuts in Muay Thai fights and can be a downfall for a fighter.
Types Of Muay Thai Elbow Strikes
There are many types of powerful elbow techniques and combos in Muay Thai.
Here are some best and basic Muay Thai Elbow strikes in professional competitions:-
1. Uppercut Elbow (Sok Ngad)
The uppercut elbow also called the Ong Bak elbow is a very powerful striking technique.
This elbow technique can be done by swinging the elbow upwards to attack the targeted chin area.
This technique should be very fast while using.
This technique was seen in the film Ong Bak and in UFC the former champion Anderson Silva used it to knock out his opponent.
2. Slashing Elbow (Sok Ti )
The slashing elbow is one of the most commonly used elbow techniques.
Because these strikes are very easy to throw while in a clinch. And also it can be very effective at the same time.
This technique can be done by throwing a diagonally downward elbow, basically at a 45-degree angle targeted on the opponent’s upper facial area, especially eye, nose, forehead upper jaw, the area between eye and ear.
This is mostly an effective response to the opponent’s knee kicks while in a clinch.
3. Spinning Elbow (Sok Klab)
The most dangerous, brutal, and my personal favorite elbow strike spinning elbow.
This is also pretty easy to perform but a little difficult to land properly if you don’t have any experience.
In this technique, you have to use your rear elbow. To perform this technique you’ve to first know you’re opponent’s next move, and also you’ve to be in super close range.
To perform this you’ve to turn your body towards your opponent and strike from the rear elbow, attacking the opponent’s chin or temple area.
In Muay Thai this elbow technique is considered one of the quickest and deadliest knock-out strikes.
And if it’s land properly it can cause serious injury to the opponent.
4. Horizontal Elbow
The horizontal elbow is the most commonly used elbow in Muay Thai. This is like a boxing hook punch in the Muay Thai elbow category.
The horizontal elbow is the easiest and straightforward technique, and it’s pretty easy to learn with a good coach.
You just have to focus all your energy to deliver the shot at the right targeted place.
And this can easily knock someone out if done properly or make a deep cut that’ll be very beneficial for you.
5. Diagonal Elbow (Sok Chieng)
If you want to make a deep cut to your opponent’s face then this elbow technique is for you.
The Diagonal Elbow is the easiest elbow strike that can easily make an open deep cut to your opponent’s face.
And that’s why this is one of the most brutal elbow shots.
6. 12-6 Elbow (Tomahawk elbow)
Here’s come another amazing elbow called 12-6 elbow also known as Tomahawk elbow.
The name 12-6 elbow is the sign of the technique, here you’ve to chop downward with your elbow at a twelve-to-six (o’clock) motion.
Also because of the brutality, this technique is illegal in many MMA promotions including the UFC.
7. Chopping Elbow (Sok Sab)
Chopping elbow is very familiar with Diagonal elbow. The chopping elbow is mostly used after a fighter missed the diagonal elbow, because of the movement.
In a Diagonal elbow strike, you’ve to move your elbow down to up but in chopping it’s up to down as chopping something.
If you miss your diagonal elbow during a fight, then quickly change the technique and shift to chopping by easily chopping the elbow up to down.
After missing a diagonal elbow quickly expose the gap for him to exploit. And When he comes in to attack, he will find himself chopped by Sok Sab.
8. Jump Elbow
The jump elbow is an amazing technique where you use the power of your full body and the power of gravity.
This is one of the most brutal techniques, or if used properly it can be the deadliest technique in Muay Thai.
This technique involves a jumping 12-6 or horizontal/diagonal elbow, that will eventually make deep cuts or knockouts.
This move has to be executed very well, cause the opponent will easily block this move if he/she see the jumping movement, but this move can be used as a follow-up.
This move is best as a finishing move where an opponent is already very affected with prior heavy strikes.
You can watch this video for examples:
How To Improve Your Muay Thai Elbow Strikes
After reading this I think now you wanted to learn or improve your elbow strikes.
In Muay Thai all 8 limbs the elbow is one of the hardest and strongest weapons and also the least trained.
The best way to train your elbow is to using a Muay Thai pad. Pad work allows you to throw all your elbows with full power and accurate target (precision).
And always train under the guidance of an experienced coach for learning the most out of the muay Thai elbow technique. You’ll learn the inside out of the elbow strikes.
And then another great way is to train with heavy bags. By using a heavy bag you can do it alone, and also do shadowboxing for the elbow.
And never throw full power elbow strikes while sparring otherwise you’ll lose a sparring partner.
You have to remember elbow strikes are not jokes, this is a very dangerous move it can do permanent damage.
So don’t use any powerful elbow technique just because you saw it online, professional fighters like Saenchai always throw light elbows while training to meet the perfection.
So never try too hard on sparring…and always use pads while trying with your partner.
Best Fighters To Watch For Elbow Strikes
If want to see some great example of pro-Muay Thai fighters using different elbow strikes, then there are thousands of them.
Because they know the importance of elbow strikes.
Karuhat Sor Supawan and Yodkhunphon Sittraiphum are both the golden age masters of elbow strikes.
For Best modern day Muay Sok you can watch Muangthai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym who has an amazing elbow technique that combines forward-moving aggression with his sharp brutal elbow to suddenly knock his opponent.
There are also some very good western fighters you can follow like in UFC George St Pierre, he has some very cool elbow techniques. And he is very brutal with his elbow’s. His aggressive elbow’s are pretty exciting to watch, and also he is a living legend of MMA.
There’s also Gaston Balanos, who is a current Kickboxing and MMA fighter is a solid example of Muay Sok fighters.