Can you use elbows in Muay Thai?

Elbows can definitely be used in Muay Thai and are one of the main weapons that are used along with the fists, shins and knees.  These various strikes give rise to Muay Thai’s alternative name – the Art of the Eight Limbs.

There are a number of elbow techniques that are used in Muay Thai.

The Upward Elbow – Sok Ngad 

The technique is delivered from a fighting stance from the rear hand.  You step forwards and as you do so you drive your rear elbow vertically upwards.  The forearm remains tucked close to your upper arm and the power of the strike comes from the twisting of the hips as your move forward.  

The target of the Upward Elbow is the opponent’s chin which if struck with sufficient force could result in a knock out.

The Horizontal Elbow – Sok Tad

This strike is delivered from the rear arm and involves your rear elbow moving horizontally as you step forward.  The  strike is aimed at the side of your opponent’s head and is a powerful close fighting technique.

The Downward Elbow –  Sok Sap

The particular strike requires a great deal of shoulder mobility.  Your rear elbow rotates over your shoulder joint and towards to your opponent’s face.   Similar to the other elbows above, the forearm remains tightly held against the upper arm.

Shooting Forward Elbow – Sok Phung

In the technique the lead hand is brought upwards firing the elbow towards your opponent.  At the same time, you step forward, ramming your elbow into your opponent.

Poking Elbow – Sok Ti

This is a whipping elbow strike delivered the rear elbow in an overhead movement that drives down towards the opponent’s head.  It’s a very quick strike designed to stun and distract and often features as part of a combination of techniques.

Spinning Elbow – Sok Klap 

This is a very dynamic elbow strike.  It’s delivered with your rear elbow and involves spinning so your elbow travels behind you.  You spin your body to follow the direction of the elbow.  The attack is aimed at your opponent’s head.

You can see these techniques in more detail here:


Let’s look at some of the elbow techniques in action:



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