The Uppercut Elbow (called Sok Ngad / ศอกงัด) is a cunning elbow strike that can often penetrate through the high guard due to the vertical plane the strike moves along.
This strike can be used very effectively as your opponent moves towards you or you can step towards your opponent to close the distance as you throw it. This strike is particularly effective if timed correctly because, unlike the horizontal elbow strikes, this elbow can penetrate between the space between the gloves.
It’s a great to use as your opponent steps forward with a high guard as you can slice right through it and cut them.
Leading Uppercut Elbow vs Rear Uppercut Elbow
The uppercut elbow can be thrown with the leading arm or the rear arm. The leading uppercut elbow is not is powerful as the rear uppercut elbow, but it’s faster and easier to land and you can cover more distance with it, especially if you really step forward. It pairs well following a step-forward jab which you throw first then ‘fall into’ the left uppercut elbow since you already have the momentum from the step forward jab and you’ve closed the distance.
The rear uppercut elbow is more powerful and can viciously cut or KO if you land it, but you can’t cover as much distance as with the leading uppercut elbow and as such, you must be closer to your opponent to land it. It’s easier for your opponent to see you moving forward and shell up. The rear uppercut is best used when your opponent comes forward. The Rear Uppercut Elbow is often confused with the Forward Elbow Thrust. You can read about the difference here.
How to Throw the Uppercut Elbow
Sok Ngad must be thrown with speed if it is to land. To throw this elbow with any sort of power, you must step forward slightly (or a lot, depending on how far your opponent is) with the lead foot and swing the elbow in an upwards motion extending the tip of your elbow forward with your hips thrust out slightly. The power is generated for the upward whipping motion of your elbow with the momentum of stepping forward.
Note that you must step forward slightly while driving your elbow upwards. The target is under the chin, or if you miss that, along the front of the face. If you hit the chin you might KO your opponent. If you miss and slice the top part of the face, you will likely open a cut.
The Uppercut Elbow is usually thrown with the leading arm (i.e. left arm if you are orthodox stance) but it can also be thrown with the rear elbow too.
Here’s an example of how the left Uppercut Elbow is thrown:
You must step forward with your lead foot as you throw this strike if you want this elbow to have any sort of power.
How to Throw the Left Uppercut Elbow:
Make sure you change weight from the right to the left foot, stepping forward a little (or a lot, depending on the distance to the opponent). Push your left elbow upwards (making sure to twist your hips upwards to generate power) so that the bottom of your arm is parallel to the ground with the left elbow pointing straight in front of you and left fist slightly over your head. When you throw the left uppercut elbow, make sure to keep the right hand covering the right side of your face and your chin touching the left side of your shoulder.
Look at this illustration and note the strike aims for under the chin with the thai boxer throwing the elbow leaning forward to extend the range (and power) of the uppercut elbow:
Here are examples of throwing the Left Uppercut Elbow:
Another image showing you how to throw it, this time from a southpaw stance:
Watch Kem throw a lead uppercut elbow:
How to Throw the Right Uppercut Elbow:
Change weight from the front foot from your rear foot stepping forward slightly (usually not as much as the left uppercut elbow) and lift the right elbow in an upwards motion so that the arm is straight forward and your right fist is above your head slightly. Make sure you push your hips out and forward as you throw the strike to generate maximum power.
Here are examples of throwing the Right Uppercut Elbow:
An image showing the right uppercut elbow being used in a fight:
To learn more about the uppercut video, watch this instructional.
Complete List of Elbow Techniques
- Backwards Elbow
- Downward Jumping Elbow (Mid Air Strike)
- Spinning Back Elbow
- Diagonal Elbow
- Downward Elbow Chop