How To Throw A Jumping Elbow In Muay Thai

How To Throw A Jumping Elbow In Muay Thai
Muay Thai Tuesday

Elbows are a quintessential part of Muay Thai and their propensity for causing cuts and knockouts makes them the most devastating of the sport’s eight limbs. This makes them one of Muay Thai’s most important weapons. A single, well-placed elbow can change the course of a whole fight, especially if it is thrown near a fighter’s eyes, affecting their sight and their ability to see incoming attacks.

Conventional elbows need to be thrown from an extremely close range which can make be incredibly hard to land. If your opponent is adept at using teeps and evasive footwork to keep you out of elbow range, or if they are skilled at tying up your arms when you get in close, then a jumping elbow is a great option you can use to close the gap and take them by surprise.

So, if you have always wanted to know how to throw a knockout jumping elbow, or are looking for new ways to catch an evasive fighter by surprise read on, after reading this article you will know how to land this unique technique from any distance.


How To Throw A Jumping Elbow?

There are many factors involved in landing a successful jumping elbow rather than simply launching yourself at your opponent and swinging a bent arm. Sure, doing this might result in your elbow connecting with your opponent’s head but it won’t hit them with any real KO power. Notice how Muay Thai World Champion Rungnarai Kiatmookao demonstrates this movement perfectly in the video below. Notice that his elbow strike is perfectly synchronized with the full extension of his right leg. 

There are two key steps to throwing a jumping elbow with serious knockout power. Firstly, you need to get into the elbow range with some vertical movement. To do this you will need to push off the ground using the leg on the opposite side of the elbow you are aiming to land, in a hopping motion that closes the distance between you and your opponent. So, if you are aiming to land a right elbow, you should push off from your left leg.

In the second step of this technique, you will need to use the backward rotation of your hip to generate power. A conventional elbow uses the rotation of your foot on the canvas to generate power through your hips, something that is impossible to do whilst you are hurtling through the air. 

In this jumping movement, you will use the backward movement of your striking-side leg to create the kinetic energy needed to deliver a knockout blow. As you launch off of your standing foot, lift your opposing leg forward and up, almost like you are about to throw a knee. Then, at the peak of this movement, kick that leg behind you with as much force as possible. Your leg will act as a lever on your hip, naturally propelling your shoulders forward ensuring all of the kicking energy can be delivered through your striking elbow.


Different Ways To Set Up Jumping Elbows

The jumping elbow is easiest to land when your opponent has their back against the ropes where they cannot retreat from range as you leap towards them. That being said, it is a versatile technique that, unlike the conventional standing elbow, can be thrown from many different ranges. You just simply have to change the length of your launching ‘hop’ to match the distance between you and your opponent. 

Here are 3 great options you can use to set up your jumping elbows from any distance:


1) Off A Teep (Push Kick)

No one expects to get elbowed from the teeping range, which makes this setup the perfect option if you want to catch your opponent completely by surprise. Teep your opponent backward at the end of a long-range combination to create space. Then, launch yourself across the gap in one explosive movement to catch them by surprise. Muay Thai World Champion Kwankhao Mor. Rattanabandit demonstrates this technique beautifully in the video above.

This option works well against an aggressive opponent who is relentlessly trying to close the space between you because their forward movement will add extra power to your elbow. Alternatively, you can also set this up by teeping your opponent into the ropes, timing it as they bounce back towards you for bonus effect.


2) After An Elbow Combination

Elbows are dangerous and a successful elbow combination can cause your opponent to stagger back out of range. A dazed opponent’s guard will slip, especially if they have been knocked off balance. If this happens, a quick jumping elbow can close the gap between you and finish the fight before they can recover. 


3) Faking A Knee

Generating the power needed for a successful jumping elbow requires you to lift your leg before swinging it back. If you are fighting an opponent who is constantly catching and sweeping you whenever you try to kick or knee their body, then you can use this first movement to bait them into creating an opening for your jumping elbow. 

Fake a knee by simultaneously lifting your striking leg and lowering your hand as if you are about to throw a knee to their body. Once you see your opponent lowering their hand to catch your leg, quickly shoot your foot behind you with as much force as possible, hopping forward to close the distance and catching them while their guard is lowered.



Jumping movements like this are high risk and high reward. This is because once you have committed to a jumping elbow you cannot change directions, and once you land there will often be a duration where you are unbalanced and open for a counterattack. 

The jumping elbow is highly effective because your opponent isn’t likely to see it coming. For this reason, it is best to use this technique sparingly. The more you use it, the less effective it will be, and the more likely your opponent will be prepared to counter you with a knockout shot of their own. Nevertheless, it is still a good technique to have in the arsenal because you never know when you might need it! 


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