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Introduction: Elbow/Forearm Strikes

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be covering the most devastating weapon in your upper body arsenal. It is so effective that it deserves its own introduction.

The elbow/forearm strike is a very powerful upper body anatomical weapon. The bent-locked elbow design makes it extremely durable. Performed correctly, delivering this strike can end a fight quickly.

There are two ways you can use elbow strikes:

  • The first is in a slashing motion which can cut the assailants head or face. They use more of the tip of the elbow to strike with.

  • The second way is in a smashing motion, which can result in contusions, concussions, bone breaks (the assailants), even unconsciousness. These use more of the elbow/forearm region to strike with.

Smashing elbows are more effective in a street fight, whereas cutting elbows score high points in ring sports (i.e. Muay Thai, MMA etc.).

Elbow strikes are very versatile. You can deliver elbow strikes horizontally, vertically, diagonally, laterally to your sides, and behind you. You can also deliver these strikes whether you are on your feet, on your back, or on your knees (with the assailant underneath you aka mounted position). Target areas for elbow strikes include the head, face, neck, ribs and solar plexus.

Additionally, elbow strikes are short range weapons making it ideal for the person with the shorter reach. You can utilize elbow strikes once you get inside the assailants punching range, or when you are grabbed and held by them.

We will begin with our instructional elbow series in the next blog.

If you're interested in learning more essential self-defense techniques and tactics, get my book, The Short Fight, on Amazon at

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Until next time, Stay Safe!

Lawrence Castanon

Author, The Short Fight

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