T Nation

Integrating New Strikes


I am attempting to integrate new types of strikes into my skillset here, and I got some questions from those that know more than me.

1) I am working palm heel strikes that I learned from my time in Goju-ryu. Works fine in the air- keep fingers tucked, thumb in, etc. but when I strike a bag I just don't feel that I'm getting a solid hit. Either that, or I feel that the blow is so jarring to my wrist that I feel I can't be doing it correctly. The striking surface, if I'm correct, is the palm heel, i.e. the meaty part of your lower hand- very hard, and won't break wrists. Is this something that you just have to work up to doing full speed on a heavy bag?

2) Integrating elbow strikes. Learned the basics vertical and horizontals at the old dojo, however, am not sure that I'm transferring the correct amount of force. Coming from a boxing background, every time I strike I tend to use the hinge principle and try and put some leverage into the thing. However, I'm having trouble with the balance. How much force do you generally put into the elbow? The same as a lead hook? Or does the harder striking surface make up for lost velocity?

Any answers from some of you Muay Thai fuckers would be appreciated.


few questions: Why? What do you do that doesn't integrate elbows already? Do you compete or is this for self defense?

1-Focus mitts. You'll know if you hit it right. You won't transfer as much of the force back into your elbow. Though I recommend getting used to hitting like that on the bag but build up slowly or you'll get bad tendonities

2- Depends how you want to use your elbows. Like a forearm "baseball bat" type strike. I like using it muay thai style to "slice" you transfer some force but it's not going to feel the same like you're punching. It's solid (as hell) but not like hitting it with your forearm. It's the tip of your elbow. If you have a coach he'll let you know by the feel of the pad if you got it.

Also you don't want to throw your body all crazy off balance. Use your hips and control your body's motion. What kills me the most is people that throw an elbow like it's a haymaker. Dumb. It's your body- stay in control.


Just self defense. But the TMA I was taking never really did a terrific job of showing mechanics, so I'm asking.

Good call. That's what I was figuring.

Interesting. What I learned seems to be more of a forearm strike than a MT elbow.

And that's what I was thinking for the transfer of power. I was fucking around with it, and the mechanics are similar but not the same as a punch.


very very similar to a hook and uppercut etc, but with minor adjustments. Fact is most guys you see throwing hooks and uppercuts throw them like haymakers so it's not nearly the way it should be. But if you watch a good boxer throwing really short hooks/upper cuts. It's kind of like that.

I'm sure you can find a good video online though...

Here's a whole playlist of elbows... enjoy


Hi, there, Irish! I've been away for a while...anyway...on your palm heel strikes, if you feel that its jarring your wrist you're probably allowing too much of the palm's surface to strike the bag. Try pulling back your hand just a teensy bit more. The striking surface on a palm heel strike is actually quite small - just the area at the very base of the palm that is completely supported by the bone of the forearm.

Doing this, along with shooting your hand straight out from your body & driving the strike with your shoulders, hips, & feet wiill give you a more solid hit, as you say.

On your elbows, you should be able to generate much more power than your lead hook - or MY lead hook anyway, which sucks.

Again, be sure that you're driving the strike with your whole body, which I'm sure you are - but I've seen that picture of you on your profile with the bat & the sleeveless white t-shirt, and muscular guys like you often tend to concentrate their movements too high on their bodies. Their strikes involve mostly shoulders & arms because that's where most of their strength seems to be.

Allow your upper body to stay loose & drive with your feet and hips to generate your power.

Also, be sure you're close enough to the bag - many people find themselves off balance on elbows because they're reaching too far out to strike the bag. Elbows are an extremely close range weapon, you should almost really just twist in place.

And Xen is absolutely right, just nail it with the with the tip of your elbow, not your forearm. After a few strikes look at your arm to see where its red & you'll know where you need to make adjustments.

And lastly, thinking about "trying to strike hard" tends to make people tense up & actually lose power. Think speed, explosiveness, and aggression & hard strikes will naturally follow.

Wow, I missed you guys!


Yeah a real MT elbow is usually illegal in most MMA comp. but rarely called.

a few big things with it, lock your fist into your shoulder for stability as you throw the elbow.

you don't want to throw it across, you want to come straight down a vertical line to your hip as you throw it,

your upper arm and lower arm should be horizontal and parallel to the floor as you throw the elbow.

drop your hips and collapse your knees slightly to get the momentum of your body dropping into the elbow.

you literally are using your elbow as a knife or sword. you will be surprised how much pwer you can get into it when you throw it correctly.

like xen said though always stay in control from boxing you understand it is never throw it like you are expecting to knock them out. finish all the way throw the target. locking your fist in your shoulder not only stabilizes the elbow it allows you to finish with your head protected off the center line so you can follow with a shovel hook, hook to the head, uppercut, a triple combo on the open side of your opponent. you know throw the blood around after you gauge his forehead open.


Great tips. Thanks guys.

Good to see you back parker.


If your aiming to cut them (targeting their forehead, eyebrows etc), use the tip of the elbow. If you're going for a knockout (to the side of the jaw, temple) use a bit further down the forearm.
Make sure you also practice elbows from inside the clinch. I never understand why UFC guys choose pretty ineffective "dirty boxing" instead of elbows when in the clinch.


Superb tips, so far.
I can only stress that it's worth examining which ellbow is it you're after. The few I know (about three) are totally different in application, training method and use; do you need a offensive or more of a countering tool?

As for palm strikes, ancient chinese secret: use that palm area you do your one armed push ups on. It is located a bit further outside and triggers triceps activation.


Eh. This is for what I would call fighting in the phone booth-crowded place, close in, can't really punch, etc. So it would be an offensive weapon, flat out.

I will try that. Thanks man.


Right, it depends on the intent of the elbow as to where on your arm/elbow you are trying to land the strike.

I also agree with Xen that the mechanics of a horizontal elbow at least are pretty much identical to that of a good tight hook in boxing. In fact, often times people will learn how to throw the elbow first, just to get the mechanics down, then learn how to throw the hook as it's slightly more complicated.

I like to think of elbows in much the same way one things of a bladed weapon. For anyone familiar with the "9 angles of attack" taught in Filipino systems, elbows can pretty much be thrown at any of the same angles. Diagonally down to the left, diagonally down to the right, diagonally up to the left, diagonally up to the right, straight across to the left, straight across to the right, straight in, straight down, and straight up.

With palm strikes you have to remember that the striking surface is larger than that of a punch, so the force is dispersed over a larger area and won't create quite as much impact force (or at least the force won't be as concentrated). You also generally have more muscle/meat on that part of your hand than over your knuckles, so some force is lost there as well.

The upside is that you can pretty much hit as hard as you want with a palm strike for these very same reasons. Palms also transition much easier into things like rakes, grabs, and gouges. So, from a self defense standpoint they can be very useful.

The mechanics are pretty much also identical to throwing regular punches. The only difference is slightly less range, and the striking area.


^good post.

 I may be able to help little with the ?wrist jarring? on the palm strikes.  Are you throwing the strike straight out and with the inside of your wrist towards the floor, similar to a cross in boxing?  If so I think I can explain why you are feeling discomfort in your wrists.  Palm strikes work best on targets above your shoulder level.

To illustrate this stand in front of a wall and place one of your hands on it like you were hitting it with a palm strike.  If your strike is above your shoulder level, your hand probably feels quite solid.  Placing it lower you will start bending your wrist back.  An extreme example, at naval level it feels like a wrist lock.  Most people find a trajectory of shoulder level about the most comfortable.  When you hit the bag your strike sinks in the bag ?breaks? around the strike aggravating this problem.  

 Punches are pretty much the opposite too high and you are hitting with your fingers instead of your knuckles, index and middle or the ?three knuckle landing? like the guy in your avatar.  I hope I helped, if not feel free to disregard.