If there’s one technique you know you can do a lot of damage with… it’s the Wing Chun elbow strike.
Here’s a very old but very good clip of Jeet Kune Do’s — Sifu Paul Vunak — executing elbows and showing how to train them realistically and under pressure.
Note: He gets close, he doesn’t rely purely on the point of the elbow and he definately grabs the guys head — turning a simple elbow strike into a head on car-crash.
That pointy bit of bone at the end of your forearm can do a whole lotta damage and when delivered from close range as part of a combination there is little that can stop it.
Having hit a few people with elbow strikes and watching them bounce off heads with little damage (and less of an effect than a punch) I’ve come a full-circle — thought they were the best, then over-rated — and now looking back I know it was more to do with HOW I delivered the elbow.
Not the strike itself.
Important Tips for Wing Chun Elbow Strikes
Get Your Range Right
Your legs are longest, then your punches and finally your elbows and knees. Using your Wing Chun elbows relies heavily on getting your timing and distance right. There are few things worse than having to lean or fall forward because your elbow was thrown out of range.
Wing Chun gives you a lot of tools… make sure to select the right tool for the right job. Elbows are for very close range ONLY.
Tip: Next time someone tries to land an elbow when they are out of range simply throw a punch and watch them it land before their elbow strike gets anywhere close!
Pull Your Opponent Onto The Elbow Strike
Unlike a Wing Chun punch that chases you down, elbows travel in a circular motion. It only takes the tiniest of leans and your elbow has missed. The surest way to make sure you land your elbow is to make sure you get hold of your opponent.
You might have grabbed their head, their arm or put an arm around their back.
Stop the bugger getting away and pull him onto that elbow and make it count. Then rinse and repeat until you’ve won.
Hit With the Correct Part of Your Forearm
The elbow strike is often delivered using the tip of the elbow. This is without doubt a great shot but you often run the risk of merely cutting your opponent. Anyone who’s into Muay Thai boxing will have seen this over and over again and understand that fights are stopped because of the cut.
Not because the opponent is incapacitated or knocked out.
Deliver your elbow using the last inch (2.5 cm) and use the massive impact and finish the fight there and then.
Train It Under Pressure
One of the biggest reason the Wing Chun elbow strike is so great is because it uses gross motor skills. Under stress we tend to lose fine motor skills and without adequate training they will falter and fail.
Create pressured environments, role play confrontation and train physically to wear your mind and body down… and then work on your elbow strikes.
Make scenarios painfully realistic and pressured — accept they will get messy — and walk away knowing you can use your elbow strikes to deliver massive impact under the most stressful conditions.
Wing Chun has some of the most versitile and useful tools for self-defence… no other martial art I know has the array of strikes delivered in flowing combinations at speed with devastating effect.
But only if you train them right!