The 3 Best Methods to Elbow Strike in Self Defence

Elbow Strikes are great for Self Defence. In fact, these weapons are probably the most sophisticated compared to most martial arts, including Krav Maga, Thai Boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Elbow Strikes are great for Self Defence. Even more so with Wing Chun elbow strikes. In fact, these weapons are probably the most sophisticated compared to most martial arts, including Krav Maga, Thai Boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). This is because of how elbow strikes are integrated with the hand fighting system of Wing Chun.

There are three effective ways to use elbows for self defence. Here are the methods and why they are a sophisticated system of elbow strikes in Wing Chun.



In placing an arm forward in a Man Sao position you are effectively creating space between you and your attacker (see Man Sao is Not a Wing Chun Guard Hand). In this context, the hand is considered the first barrier to stop someone from coming forward, whereas the elbow joint is the second. As a rule in Wing Chun, if your first barrier is passed then you rely on your second to maintain your space.

This action is far more effective than it sounds, as the elbow region of the body is quite power when connected with the hip joint. When achieved the structure that is created it difficult to pass or over come.

Used to preserve your personal space elbow strikes are a very necessary self defence technique that is practical and effective for individuals of all shapes and sizes. Basically, it prevents someone from coming closer in self defence.



If you have every watched Muay Thai Kickboxing or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) you will see elbow strikes used to great effect. There is little difference in Wing Chun. In fact, Wing Chun practitioners mix elbow strikes with various other hand fighting tactics and this differs from most other martial arts.

Note, that there is a difference in how elbow strikes are delivered in Wing Chun in comparison to gloved sports such as Mauy Thai Kickboxing, or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and even traditional martial arts such as Karate. In Wing Chun the wrist folds while the elbow accelerates and this creates more momentum behind the strike. This style of bio-mechanics is not possible when wearing boxing gloves, and this is why kickboxers and MMA fighters often cut their opponent rather than incapacitate the other person. The objective is not to butt, just to strike with the edge of the elbow bone.

In Wing Chun, elbow strikes are a purely close quarter weapon used to intercept punches, respond to pressure, and even adapt to changes in range. These attacks are highly effective for self defence as they can be used with complete indiscrimination to strike any part of the body. In addition, this body weapon is suitable for extreme forms of self defence confrontations (see 5 Life Saving Rules to Survive a Gang Attack).



Elbow strikes are extremely effective and unpredictable when combined with trapping actions. This approach is unique to Wing Chun and an essential tactic for self defence. While it is difficult to explain in words (please see video), the concept is simply to attack with the elbow strike and then use the reactions of the defender to counter attack or trap. Of course, it is possible to use the elbow joint to pin the attacker’s arms directly. However, this is not advisable when in a self defence confrontation.

Tapping with elbow strikes can be developed in Chi Sao (see Is Wing Chun Chi Sao Useful for Self Defence). The strategy when training this should be to get hold of the attacker’s arms. In this sense the attacker is unable to fight back with their own strikes and therefore he is forced to defend which facilitate the trapping action.



A Combination of all three methods of delivering elbow strikes is the most effective for a self defence confrontation. Elbow strikes in Wing Chun are highly sophisticated weapons, especially when combining barring, striking, and trapping actions.

In fact, this vital Wing Chun technique closely matches the approach in how Chain Punches are applied in street combat (see The Wing Chun Battle Punch). However, if combined with centreline punches elbow strikes are literally devastating.



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