Downward Elbow Strikes for Self-Defense

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Two great things about elbow strikes for self-defense are that the elbows are readily accessible, and you are not limited to one type of motion with them. You can strike up with the elbow, come around and strike from the side with it, or in some circumstances start up high and strike downward. There’s no perfect position for using an elbow strike. If you can use an elbow to connect with your attacker and distract him from hurting you, it works.

Key Points of Elbow Strikes

When practicing unarmed self-defense techniques, don’t get caught up in exactly how an elbow strike is executed or where it hits an attacker. Here’s what you need to remember: in your default position, get that power source underneath you, utilize your hips, and make sure you are trying to get your attacker off balance while not losing your own balance.

Kelly Muir, Lead Instructor at Team Karate Center in Columbus, Ohio is in the dojo to demonstrate one of these elbow strikes for self-defense, the downward strike, when one hand and arm are trapped and only one can be used. Sometimes that may be your non-dominant arm.

The Downward Elbow Strike in Action

When being held by an attacker and with one arm trapped, you will probably be off balance. Push off your center and rotate your body to the front. Raise your free arm straight up and drive the elbow forcefully down into the attacker’s back. Simultaneously drop your body, causing him to loosen his grip slightly. You can free your other arm and drive that elbow straight down onto his head.

It doesn’t have to be a knockout strike. The goal is to get the grip around your waist loosened so you can create distance. Elbow strikes for self-defense are valuable moves — practice them often!