What is the Backwards Elbow?

Sok  Kratoong is another rarely used elbow that can take your opponent by surprise due to the unusual angle of it’s strike (and the fact that it’s rarely used in matches so your opponent won’t likely expect it). Because it’s harder to generate force with this elbow due to the angle, the Backwards Elbow is best used as your opponent comes forward (which gives the strike more power) or as they cover up you step forward and execute the Sok Kratong. The target area is the front of the face/chin. If you land it right, you can KO your opponent.

Look at Anderson Silva pull off a KO with a beautifully executed Backwards Elbow from a southpaw stance. Notice how his stance is almost sidways and he thrusts the tip of his elbow upwards WHILE his opponent has his hands up.


The strike can be thrown from either your leading arm (left if you are orthodox) or your rear arm (right arm if you are orthodox); however, it’s usually thrown with the leading/front elbow because the distance to your opponent is less; if you execute this strike from your rear elbow, you will have to step from an orthodox stance into a sideways southpaw stance, which will take more time to implement.

Samrok Kamsing was famous for using this technique effectively in his matches, both from orthodox stance and from a southpaw stance:


How to Throw the Backwards Elbow (Sok Kratong)

You can throw the Sok Kratong with either your leading elbow or your rear elbow. It’s more common to see this elbow (which is rarely implemented as it is) with the leading arm because it’s much quicker to shift yourself into position. However, throwing the Sok Kratong from the rear elbow comes from a much more unexpected angle and may have a better chance of landing, if you are quick. Throwing it from the rear means it will take much longer to execute the attack, however.

How to Throw the Front Backwards Elbow:

Turn your body completely inward so that the back of your elbow your elbow moves almost 180 degrees so that the tip now points towards your target. Your body should rotate into a sideways stance. As your body moves to the side and the tip of your elbow points towards your opponents face, jerk the elbow upwards to sash it into the lower part of the chin or body.


You can execute this elbow if your opponent charges forward:


Watch Somrak pull this elbow off while against the ropes:


You can see here an example from Samrok of throwing the Backwards Elbow into the body:


To pull this elbow off successfully you have to be quick; you must pivot your body sideways exactly the same time as you reverse your elbow and bring it upwards. It helps if your opponent is lunging forward to try and grab you or is stepping back (you must be close though).

How to Throw the Rear Backwards Elbow 

By stepping into Southpaw stance from orthodox: To execute Sok Kratong with your rear elbow, you will need to step with your rear foot forward past your front foot in an 180 degree angle, changing from orthodox to southpaw (but with both feet on a straight line, sidways), then bring the back of your elbow upwards.

By spinning into Southpaw stance: Another way (and a rather unorthodox method of doing so) is to execute the Rear backwards Elbow is to spin into it (the same motion as the spinning back elbow, but instead of your elbow being horizontal or tilted up, you keep your elbow crooked upwards). So you start from orthodox stance then completely rotate your hips 180 degrees clockwise, stepping into into southpaw stance while bringing your elbow upwards. Technically, this is a spinning back elbow but the resulting elbow position is  the same.

Watch someone pull this technique off on my brother:


Complete List of Elbow Techniques

Basic Elbows

Advanced Elbows

Special Elbows