Most kicking and punching situations involve dealing with an opponent at a distance. On the other hand, close- range defense usually involves grappling and throwing techniques. Between close and long distance lies a middle area covered by a powerful natural weapon- the elbow.
Elbows are perfect close range weapons. Because the elbow has a small, sharp surface, it delivers a penetrating blow to a small area and is a natural weapon that can be developed without years of practice. It should be used when free movement of the body is restricted.
The actual striking surface for an elbow technique is either directly in front or behind the point of the elbow and not the elbow itself. Power comes from a combination of shoulder and waist action. Extending the shoulder joint slightly allows more energy and power to be released into the arm when the technique is delivered. Combine this with the whip-like power produced by a relaxed, twisting motion of the waist and a tremendous penetrating force results.
Hands are clenched into fists as the strike is performed by driving the elbow upward, forward, sideways, downward, and backward. The elbow must be deeply flexed and kept close to the body so that the strike is not weakened. Both elbows may be used simultaneously against a single or multiple opponents. The action is very fast and in most instances, circular.
One of the most devastating strikes is a strait upward smash aimed at the attacker’s chin or jaw. The striking arm’s hand is formed into a fist with the knuckles turned upward. The elbow is kept close to the body as the body is twisted at the waist and the elbow is quickly brought up to strike the target. In a self-defense situation, a miss is a good as a mile. Be aware of the distance required for contact. Before retaliating to the threat of any attack, be sure that an aggressive act is really necessary. The desired result of any defensive action should provide time to leave the area or summon help.