Sparring with elbows


Orange Belt
Aug 23, 2004
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Both my sparring partner and I are going to be fighting in ~4 months, so with a month or 2 to kill before stepping up the training we were getting bored with beating on each other.

While our Kun Kru has always had us using elbows on mitts, bags and shadowboxing, we've never used them on each other. My buddy and I recently got some windy elbow pads to start working into our sparring sessions (usually before or after MT class). Our 1st day using them (with headgear any being really careful), our teacher showed up early and saw us hammering on each other.

He said that he'd rather us not do it, but if we were going to do it to be really careful and to bite down really hard on our mouthpieces. He said that in all his time in MT (~25 years) he has seen mostly broken jaws from sparring with elbows, and that's why he doesn't have us doing it. I would have thought it'd be broken noses and cuts, but what do I know. Today I picked up some cheap pads from walmart to wear over the windy pads .The windy pads fit great and are contoured, but thay are still pretty devastating.

Anyways, do any of you guys spar with elbows? have you had any injuries from them?
I've done that only few times. With pad of course. I didn't feel much difference because the other guy sucked and I don't use elbows anyways. I tried to use it couple times and got hit by good uppercut - so I decided to not do what I'm not used to do. One guy was pretty good but he was so much smaller than me (so much smaller, I emphasize) I just kept distance and when he got into elbow range I just kept throw him.

But I've seen one guy going against a pro and he got the first elbow shot (very hard one) and the pro guy got so mad and answered with his own which landed on the guy's eye socket and it really busted him up. I'm not sure whether the bone was broken or not but he really looked mass afterward.
i have nver sparred with elbows before because at the gym im at its not allowed. elbows are very dangerous, even with padding on and to me it doesnt seem worth the risk. if you want to get practice in wiht throwing the elbows i would keep it to bag work, because full contact sparring with elbows is asking for trouble
I wouldnt spar with elbows. They are too dangerous even with padding. IMO if you have fights coming up you should be more professional in your attitudes and not risk injuring yourselves in the weeks before.
Practice elbows on a chain bag.

For example, pretend you are in a thai clinch, use your elbow to shoot against the oppenents body.
Thanks for the replys. Ya'll are probably right. I'll probably still do it, just really, really lightly.
It's a learning experience though, kinda like when you 1st transition from kicking a bag to kicking a person.
Pretend to throw them in 3/4 speed and power sessions. I think the risk of missing your upcoming fights with a cut, broken nose, or cracked tooth is too real. Use a heavy bag and a ground dummy or bag on the ground. Defense from elbows is all about position. Ie. if you are close enough to use elbows, you don't need to worry about kicks.
I remember sparring the once with my instructor we were going some and in a clinch I just naturally dropped a rabbit elbow he dropped instantly rubbing the large lump on his forhead elbow are for the ring such is hard sparring i have learned that you learn nothing going ape shit when sparring it proves nothing save your agression for the ring as thats the only place its nedded other than life and death situations!
Since elbows in muay thai are mostly thrown from inside the clinch (it seems like that to me anyway) just put it in as a part of your clinching. I.E when clinching and you get in a position to throw an elbow just do it, but not full power.

When in Thailand I never saw any of the thai fighters spar with elbows. Their sparring was divided in to clinching, boxing, and boxing+kicks&knees (and sometimes kicks only), and they only used elbows in the clinch.
Even the Thais hardly spar with elbows. Mostly work them on the pads.

If you want to spar with elbows get some elbow pads and use head gear. Work light so you will not risk injury.
if you want to go home with cuts and/or a broken jaw, then go ahead.
you won't be allowed elbows in your first Muay Thai match will you? or is a MMA match?
We've started doing elbows to the body now (and collar bones when in the clinch). Not hard, just pushing elbows to the body really. Thats as far as I will take them. If your on the inside or clinching elbows are a good thing to use, but can do serious damage to the facial area if your timing is off when sparring, not worth it IMO, even with pads
i agree with the majority on this thread, it's just worth your, or your partners health to be sparing with such devastating shots. and if your coming up to a fight you want to be in the best posible physical condition.

by the way good luck with your upcoming fight, train hard.
i have sparred many times using elbows.

we dont use pads on our elbows or head gear.

Granted were not trying to take each others head off but then thats not sparring is it.

But you get the feel for the use of the elbow and the defence against it.

At my gym only a handful of us play the games with elbows as many inexperienced fighters would get hurt or take your head off.

Elbows are dangerous but if you fight them then you NEED to train them.

Plus Muay thai takes on a whole new meaning when the full range of moves are employed.

Long live Muay Thai.
Elbows are really dangerous, but like Sunrise said, if you fight with them you need to train them. Just go light with the elbows, take it easy. Even if you are using pads or headgear, don't go full force with them. The risk of injury is too high, speaking from experience. To develop power, hit the heavy bag or use kicking pads with your partner.
i don't think they spar with elbows in thailand... I think they do 1/2 sparring which is working on clinching together with elbows and knees but they don't actually connect.
You could harmony(slow and soft. Its not for you so much as building the reaction for the otherguy) spar with elbows and probably not get hurt. We harmony spar with them and it helps lots for learning reaction.
Harmony.....thats a new way of describing it, butI think I know what you mean.
Like going very slowly to build up combinations, counters and periphery vision.

Out in thailand they do very very slow sparring, no elbows, very light knees. Its not worth it for them, 1 silly knock in sparring, they cant fight and they go hungry