Skip to content

In The Arena Blog

4 Ways to Use Elbows in Muay Thai

Get 30 Days Free At The Arena Gym in San Diego

Elbows are one of the major differences between Kickboxing and Muay Thai and make the sport of Muay Thai and how fighters use it unique. In this video coach Charles Martinez shows you 4 different elbow strike techniques to use in Muay Thai fights and explains how those strikes make Muay Thai different than a Kickboxing match.


4 Muay Thai Elbow Techniques


1. After a straight punch to the body by your opponent, block and forearm ride towards their body, then use the opposite elbow to strike their chin or face.


2. When your opponent takes two shots to your head they open a straight line to their face during the second punch. Move in while blocking the second punch and strike with the opposing elbow to the face or chin. This keeps your opponent from countering with the fist which has been pulled back to guard and doesn’t open you up to being hit by anything else. Your strike can be blocked by the guard hand if you’re not fast enough.


3. When your opponent takes two shots to your head and you block the second shot, but you reacted a bit later and are unable to get a quick elbow strike in. Keep your body back, take the elbow that blocked the second punch, then rotate forward and spear that elbow forward to strike their face.


4. When your opponent throws a punch to your head followed by a blow to your body with the opposite hand, take the elbow of your arm on the side where they are punching, turn it over while moving forward, and strike to their face.


Charles Martinez:

Hey this is coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and this is your tip of the week. This week we’ll be discussing the difference between kickboxing and Muay Thai a little bit. There’s things you can do in kickboxing that are not as prevalent in Muay Thai, and the reason being elbows. Elbows make a huge difference and knees make a huge difference. The way you could throw a punch in boxing or kickboxing, slightly different when someone can knee up the middle or drive an elbow forward. A really simplified way of showing that, right? Let’s say Joe throws jab to my head, fine, no problem. Then he throws it straight to the body and he lowers his body. I forearm ride, it’s a straight line right back into his face for the elbow. All right, so he jabs high, he cross low. My body rotates, my forearm deflects that cross to the body and that loads my hip, and I push off the rear leg and that’s the easy, really simple entry into the elbow.


It’s why you don’t see a lot of bending in the low back to throw punches in Muay Thai. You don’t go to the body here, right? So let’s say Joe throws two, three to my head, so he throws the two. He throws the three. This line is open. Now I could punch, there’s plenty of options from here, but there’s also a really simple option of two, three, of spearing this elbow, right, opens up the line for this elbow, right? Again, two, three, I drive this elbow forward. Doesn’t cost me anything, jams this punch. It doesn’t really open me to be hit with anything else and it’s just a nice free shot up the middle. Or I’m a tad bit later. He throws the two, he throws the three, my body stays back and then I just rotate from there to spear the elbow forward.


Last one, another very simple option. You see this all the time in kickboxing is two to the head, three to the body to set up the low kick. Right? Again he goes two to the head, three to the body, and I turn the elbow over from the three to the body. Again, this opening motion of opening my hand and ripping to the body opens up the line for the elbow. Right? So these are just slight differences from one sport to the other. People always ask that we have Dutch kickboxing classes, that we have Muay Thai classes. What’s the difference? There’s one of them, and then time in the clinch is the other one.


All right, thank you. That’s your tip of the week.

By providing your phone number, you agree to receive text messages from The Arena Gym. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. You can opt-out at any time by texting STOP, or HELP for any help. View our Privacy Policy.