What is the Diagonal Elbow?

The Diagonal Elbow (or Sok Chieng /ศอเฉียง ) is a tricky elbow that’s when thrown quickly can take your opponent completely by surprise. Sok Chieng, of all the elbows, requires the closest distance between you and your opponent to land. As such, this elbow is often utilized from the clinch where both fighters’ heads are pressed close together and there is limited room to throw elbows. To throw it from the clinch, you must have the elbow INSIDE your opponents arm. The Diagonal Elbow will often cut your opponent but can, if it lands in the right area, KO.

Kem utilizes the Sok Chieng quite often from the clinch and has KO’ed a number of opponents with it.


How to Throw the Diagonal Elbow 

You can throw this strike from either left or right arm, though the rear is more common because you can generate more power. The key to this elbow strike is to throw it will twisting your hips inwards as you drive the elbow up. Since it’s a short elbow, it’s perfect to utilize from the clinch if you have the proper position to throw it

How to Throw the Rear Diagonal Elbow:

Start the strike right your fist held close to your chin (i.e. hands in the guard position in front of your face). Then step forward with your lead foot and whip the tip of your elbow in an upwards diagonal slash. Your shoulder should twist inwards as you rotate your hip inwards (i.e. they follow the same direction).


Unlike the Uppercut Elbow in which the tip of the elbow moves straight up, the Diagonal Elbow moves upwards in a diagonal direction NOT straight up. This diagonal motion will follow the twisting of the shoulders and hips. A proper strike will have the inside tip of the elbow smash into the opponent.

For a KO, the strike must usually land against the jaw or chin and with good hip rotation. Watch how Kem pulls off a KO with this elbow from the clinch:

diagonal elbow strike muay thai

This is one of the quickest and shortest elbow strikes; because the elbow is only thrown a few inches, it’s imperative that you twist your hips in the direction of the elbow strike to help generate force. This elbow is almost always thrown from the clinch as long as the thrower has the elbow arm to the INSIDE the opponents arm. Look at Samrok pulling this off.

Notice how the arm he’s elbowing from is inside his opponent’s arm:


Here’s another example of this elbow strike being used in the clinch (this time against my brother in one of his fights):

How to Throw the Front Diagonal Elbow:

You can also throw this strike with the leading arm elbow instead of the (usual) rear elbow. This is not usually done, however, because it’s harder to generate power  as there is less rotational force achievable from the front arm. It’s unlikely you will KO an opponent with the leading elbow, but you might cut your opponent. Here’s an example of throwing it from the leading arm:


Complete List of Elbow Techniques

Basic Elbows

Advanced Elbows

Special Elbows