When I first started training in Martial arts I was taught a mix of self defense with a little Karate thrown in too. I trained with a good friend of mine who has been training and teaching for many years. I think he has been training for well over thirty years now. He finally stepped away and told me if I was really serious about training I would find my own path. I spent some time at a Ninjitsu school in Portsmouth, at the time although I enjoyed the classes (I think I went twice a week at the most.) I was still looking for something else. Then I found this. And when I mean this I mean of course Muay Thai. My friend smiled wryly when I told him I was going to give this Thai boxing thing a go. ‘Thai boxers are good fighters.’ was all he said.
So here I am 7 and a half years later and I am still training. Still a ‘grasshopper’ as my mate used to call me but always learning. So today I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes us unique as martial artists and fighters. Well for a start what we do is called ‘the science of eight limbs’ for a reason, and for me one of my favourite weapons of our eight limbs has got to be elbows. That and of course knees. If you put the two together you have a set of very powerful weapons. If you add everything else into the mix what happens can be devastating.
Elbows are of course a short range weapon and can end a fight in a couple of seconds. Just like with knees it’s solid bone we’re striking with. We spend a good amount of time at both of my gyms practicing elbow techniques either from the clinch or from knee strikes or as counter attacks.Even fighting at a C class level in the UK elbow strikes are allowed to the body although you rarely see this happen.
Also It’s good to train using all of your tools regardless of whether your at a level where you fight with elbows or not, as most importantly your then learning Muay Thai as complete fighting system. I’ve spoken to a few people over the years who don’t really seem to understand that Thai is more than a ring sport it’s an effective martial art too. If like me, you often look beyond the confines of a ring it’s clear to see that elbows are also an effective self defense tool too.
Like with all elements of Muay Thai there are numerous strikes with the elbow, my favourites being the side elbow in a slashing motion across the face (opening up a cut around the eye can also end a fight quickly I’ve been told) and the crescent elbow, which in my opinion is that long kiss good night. One of my trainers said to us recently that the chances of using every technique are fairly slim, so really I guess like with everything else martial it’s what works for you as individual.
I’d love to be able to get to a point where I am at a level where I can fight under full Thai rules using all of my weapons but for now I am happy learning the techniques as part of my training in general, and like with everything else there is still a lot to learn. I thought I’d leave you this week with a video on elbow techniques. Have a good week, and just like the last time I’ll see you the road.