How To Throw Muay Thai Elbows With Maximum Power And Speed
I guess some of you probably won’t read all the details about this so let me start with the summary of How To Really Throw Muay Thai Elbows With Maximum Power And Speed.
The key to throw Muay Thai Elbows effortlessly with maximum power and speed, while maintaining your balanced state of being.
- Power is generated at the rotation of the hips which is controlled by the rotation of the feet – this is ALWAYS the case 100% of the time for all Muay Thai Techniques
- Rotation infers a center of axis, for the elbow, this is the opposite the elbow is coming from – stabilize this side of the body and torque hard with the other shoulder. We are not rotating along the spine like fish!
- Step in to elbows because they are already short in range – this adds forward momentum to the hit and creates a larger range – Step into elbows for power and range – your elbows will be much more dangerous
- Allow the upper arm to ‘slap’ not hit the target. This is only possible when we don’t contract the arm but let it swing around loose and hit at the point the shoulders and upper arm and elbow are lined up directly with the target.
Now let’s get back to the details about Muay Thai Elbows.
The beauty of Muay Thai as an art is in it’s efficiency. Every movement, every subtle movement, is done the way it is done for a particular logical reason. Each technique and movement, designed as it was intended, has been shaved down to it’s minimum movement and torque. For the elbow, this is no different and in this article, you will gain the understanding of this technique so that you will have the key to throw Muay Thai elbows effortlessly with maximum power and speed, while maintaining your balanced state of being.
How Power is Generated for the Elbow
- Rotation of one shoulder around the other shoulder as the center of a circle
- Upward torque
- Forward momentum
Rotation – a major concept that is often overlooked and be clarified is the idea of rotation. Rotation is physics lingo. By definition…
A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center (or point) of rotation.
–Where exactly is this center of rotation, in regards to the elbow? That depends on one thing…whether you are throwing your left elbow or right elbow. If you throw with your left elbow, the right shoulder is the center of rotation and if you throw a right elbow, the left shoulder is the center of rotation. We are NOT rotating along our spine…in other words not wiggling like a fish out of water when the elbow is thrown.
–It is thrown by stabilizing the opposite side of the body as the center of rotation and torque/swing/snapping the other shoulder forward. The more stable the center of rotation, the easier it is to rotate the opposite side around it.
Stability on that side of the body starts at the feet, by shifting our weight over that foot , hips and shoulders. The rotation of the other side (the throwing side is controlled primarily by the rotation of the foot on that side. (just try to rotate the shoulders without moving the feet and you’ll see you won’t go anywhere fast) The torque of at foot, drilling into the ground at the balls of the foot, pushing into the ground and drilling into the floor while turning the foot to it’s maximum degree, causes the hips to elevate and subsequently the shoulders to follow.
Upward/Forward momentum – Again, this is a concept that is often talked about but more difficult to internalize. The power of the strike comes from accelerating the weight of the body in the direction of the target, not the swinging of disparate body parts in isolation. When the body moves forward into the target and not just rotates proximally, it hits significantly harder, digging into the target with the weight of the body. By pushing the feet upward and forward as the techniques are thrown, the hips and shoulders follow suit, adding an entirely different dimension which multiplies the effect of this strike. Use the feet to push forward and elongate the legs (Resist too much bend at the knees as this dissipates the power of the strike. Bending the knees, lowers the body weight and hips and diminishes the effect). When the foot pushes up and towards the target and elongates forward , this motion sends the weight of the body forward. When the knee bends into this force, it weakens this force and additionally, destabilizes the energy flowing through the body.
Taking the path of least resistance
So if the above mechanics are a way to heighten your elbow, take it’s power and speed to the next level, what do we remove so that it’s signal isn’t drowned out by noise…noise in the form of tension and unnecessary motion?
Well for starters…we know full well, that strikes in Muay Thai (and boxing) come from the movements of the feet and torso and not the muscles of the arm, including the elbows, which utilize the arm as a weapon. When we ‘hit’ with the elbow, it’s not so much hitting, but a better word to describe is slapping with the elbow. The elbow swings around similar to the arm when it’s swinging around to slap someone in the face… loose, fast, and snappy to heighten the smack sound. In order to let the arm swing freely, to smack/slap the target with the elbow, the arm needs to be relaxed, so it can swing around to it’s full length. The full length of the elbow can be described as when the shoulders and the upper arm of the striking side is in a direct line with the target. This is also when (if it hits the target) when the strike does the most damage – the shoulders straightened out (like a running back stiff arming a linebacker) and the elbow swinging in direct alignment with the shoulders and the target.
So the shoulder rotation and free swing of the arm (along with some training to calibrate this in like you would any instrument) would be hindered by what exactly? Tension – Unnecessary tension in the arms. By tensing up the arm striking, we are actually putting the breaks on this naturally occurring, making it impossible to calibrate our weapon. Signs of this include CLENCHING THE FISTS, stiffening up the arm and blocking all that good energy you sent down into a dead end of contracted muscles.
The other way we most commonly lose power on Muay Thai elbows is by cocking the arm back in an attempt to create a more powerful strike. Not only is this conscious rotation extremely slow, it uses more energy, and opens whoever does it to get hit by an elbow. The trajectory is from the side of the body, the arm starting in the neutral stance and forms a direct line to the target, the narrower the better – the faster the elbow hits the target, the more protected the head and face are, and less energy is used to hit.