I Love To Deliver Powerful Elbow Strikes But…

by | Feb 28, 2023

elbow strikes


You know the value of front elbow strikes regarding self-defence if you’re anything like me! I love the power and potential of a well-delivered front elbow strike, whether used offensively or defensively.  

But does that mean you should teach it in a self-defence course? Most of you think, well, obviously, you should. It depends. 

I have been teaching for 29 years and have constantly monitored and revised my curriculum to ensure that it provides education suitable for the clients of SAFE Violence Prevention & Self Defence who might only ever do one course in their lifetime. In the beginning years of teaching, I noticed that beginners rarely used some aspects of my curriculum. To this day, I will adjust and update my curriculums if I find something of less or more value. 

I observed that the students enjoyed the sensation of executing a front elbow strike with their partner, and they put a lot of energy into the movement when hitting the pads. Most of them were able to deliver the strike with a significant amount of force, which caused their partner to move backward. So, great, what is the issue? 

But, during our simulated attacks or any drill with moderate intensity, the same students who enjoyed using the front elbow strike in a pad drill with their partner rarely used it when more pressure was introduced during a simulation.

I was surprised when I asked why none of them used the front elbow, and most answered, “I just never thought of it.” This was an interesting observation, and it presented an important decision: should I continue teaching this technique as it seems to boost confidence in drill practice, or should I remove it due to its complexity for beginners?

I decided to delete it in a one-time or introductory course but offer it as a valuable self-defence tool if I had the opportunity to train further with someone. 

Also interesting was how the rear elbow strike had just the opposite outcome. The rear elbow strike came naturally to most during any simulation scenario, even if I did not teach it. The rear elbow is a gross motor movement to most instead of the front elbow. 

In addition to its limited reach, the front elbow strike had other drawbacks, such as its inability to effectively reach targets at a distance compared to palm strikes or other attacks to the face.

We should not impose techniques, moves, and escapes on our clients just because we like them or because we have had success with them. Instead, we should tailor our instruction based on our client’s needs, training experience, and availability for learning. 

I have always maintained that teaching twenty hours of violence prevention and self-defence is much easier than a few hours not figuring out what to delete. However, a few hours can still offer life-saving education, as our clients have shared with us.

#selfdefense #violenceprevention #striking #grossmotorskills