Sylvie’s Tips – Improve Your Muay Thai Elbows Using a Wall
Making Your Elbows (Hooks & Crosses) Fast, Direct and Accurate
This is a pretty simple technique and you can find a wall anywhere, so we can mark this down as one of the most accessible tools there is. Basically, I have been alerted to the folly of how my arms launch away from my body when I throw strikes, which is detrimental to both power and control. Sagat is the one who really explained trajectory to me [<<watch that session to see what this philosophy of strking is about], showing how a wind-up is just wasted space, energy and time, and that strikes are best on a more abrievated path; and Chatchai Sasakul in his private with me showed me how to rotate with the appropriate minimalism for insanely controlled and powerful hooks.
above, my Sylvie’s Tips video showing how to use a wall to improve your elbows
But I’d never thought about all my wasted effort with elbows. When I watch Pi Nu throw elbows in the clinch I get all kinds of excited by how cruel and amazing they look. They seem to come out of nowhere and if you watch him from the back there is absolutely no “wind up” twisting at all, and not fanning out widely. The elbow just collapses into the face of the opponent. I saw the same economy in the elbows of Yodkhunpon as well (watch that session) – you can see the narrowness of attack in this Yodkhunpon GIF below:
So I got this idea to force my hooks and elbows to come out from my ribs the way Sagat insisted, the way Chatchai does it, and the way Karuhat showed me after making fun of my stupid, wonky right cross. I basically use the wall to corral my arms and make my strikes more direct and powerful. Remember, this is a corrective drill, designed to build awareness. These are not perfect strikes.
So, for the left hook and the left elbow that comes across, what’s called a “fahn” elbow in Thai, where it slices across rather than up or down, you want that to come out of your ribs rather than coming around with a swing. I put my left shoulder against a wall, my hip and thigh against the wall so I’m fully connected to it, and throw the elbow from there. No excessive movement at all. It looks like what Pi Nu’s elbows look like from the back. Perfect. So I used it for the hook and switched sides so the wall was on my right to straighten out my right cross and that elbow as well. I’ll do a bunch of hooks, crosses and elbows against the wall to kind of “calibrate” my form. And if you have a bit of space along the wall, you can walk forward and backward throwing the strikes so you get a feel for how to move with them. It looks a little funny, but nobody will be laughing when they feel those strikes on the pads or right in their faces. The wall is like training wheels and when you come off of it, it’s all balance and momentum, no wobble.
This isn’t the only way to use a wall: You can use it to Improve Your Kick
An Intro to Sylvie’s Tips
You can read about the Sylvie’s Tips feature focusing on small techniques I’ve picked up here in my first post: Sylvie’s Tips – Muay Thai Tips, Techniques & Helps from Thailand
Read all my Sylvie’s Tips articles one by one here.
The Full Sylvie’s Tips YouTube Video Playlist
Please support my continued blogging and video sharing of Muay Thai. Help make it sustainable by pledging $1 per month visit my Patreon page: