How To Elbow In A Street Fight – Self Defence

In this article you will learn why, and how to elbow in a street fight for self defence.

Elbow Strikes are a great close range weapon, and extremely effective when used in a clinch. The power comes from the same hip rotation when throwing a hook, or open palm slap. You don’t need much room to throw an elbow which causes huge trauma with minimal effort.

Elbow Strike Variations

  • Backward – The backward elbow is a short distance elbow jab. Using the point of the elbow to aim normally aim for the temple.
  • Horizontal – The most traditional and used elbow strike. Connecting with the first few inches of the elbow, and generating huge power from rotation.
  • Rising – Great elbow shot for transitions or catching an attacker as they are on their way down.
  • Downward – A dangerous shot. Again using the point of the elbow, and normally used when the attacker is doubled over.


  • Temple – The temples are good places to aim as are vulnerable spots on the head. It is one of the few ‘soft’ spots, that makes it such a good target. The collection of nerve bundles at that location aid in knockouts too.
  • Jaw – Aiming for the lower jaw increases your chance for a knockout shot. Anytime you can move the lower jaw laterally with enough force will knockout your attacker.
  • Back of head – When the attacker is doubled over, an effective strike can be delivered to the back of the head, or neck. These are very dangerous targets though. Remember use of force must warrant the threat.
  • Sternum – The sternum is a weak spot on the chest. It can be splintered, or cracked with a good elbow shot causing extreme breathing difficulties. If it does not crack or splinter, it will cause enourmous amounts of pain, and can even knock the wind out of an attacker.
  • Throat – Mainly used as a ‘wedge’ attack, by jamming the elbow in due to the tight space and the size of the elbow as a weapon. It can be used to choke straight after a jamming strike, or to drive back to create distance.

What the video below that explains these different elbow strikes, and their targets.

Video: How To Elbow In A Street Fight

If you liked this, check out our Hammerfist, and Palm Heel tutorials.

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