Elbow #3 – Horizontal Elbow Strike Backward Defensive Component

The most neglected aspect of the Horizontal Elbow Strike Backward (Elbow #3) is the defensive components to the strike. This video explains what the defensive components are. In addition, it shows how this correlates to the “Knockout Game” and how it protects you from various choke attempts. Finally, it teaches two variations of these defensive components for taller students who are striking a shorter target.


“How you doing? This is Randall with KravMagaTraining.com. And in this video I’m going to discuss the horizontal elbow being delivered behind you or what’s commonly referred to as Elbow #3 in the Krav Maga system of elbows.

In particular with this elbow, I’m going to discuss the defensive components or aspects of this particular elbow. Now, with this particular elbow most beginner students don’t have too many problems with it. However, the most common thing that I see that is neglected with this particular elbow is that defensive aspect of it. And let me discuss what that is.

So, the bad guy is behind me, extremely close to me. I realize that, I look over my shoulder, realize their face is there, ‘boom’, I hit them. But the defensive part is my shoulder is supposed to be up nice and high. I take my chin, bury it down. Keep my hand nice and close. And you can see that I have created, if I was to do this elbow towards the camera, you see how I’m protecting my face and my jaw from a potential strike as I am rotating towards the attacker, delivering that elbow. That’s the defensive component to the strike. Now, this is what most beginners tend to do. They’re so focused on just the elbow itself, the offensive aspect of hitting the pads, they tend to do this. Notice how my chin is up nice and high, my face is wide open, I’m just asking to be hit back by the bad guy. So not like this. Like this. So, in addition to the shoulder coming high, keeping the chin low, and the elbow high, one thing I like to do is I like to bend my knees a little bit and get a little bit lower. Because if you stand real tall, it’s a little bit harder to keep all that defensive parts in check. If I crunch down a little bit as I deliver the strike, I’m going to be a lot safer. So, that’s a really key point to make sure when you’re practicing it, you’re training partner, if they’re holding the pad for you, if you have a training partner, ask them to keep an eye to make sure you’re keeping your chin down, your shoulder up. If you’re being a little lax about that, they should remind you to do that.

Now, as of this date that I’m filming this, a real shitty trend that is happening in the world is what is referred to as the ‘knockout game’. If you’re not familiar with that, what it is is it’s a bunch of dipshits, they like to sneak up behind someone and basically try to hit them as hard as they can with one shot with the goal of trying to knock them out. While their ‘boys’ are in the background laughing and watching, or even worse, one of their shithead friends has got a camera filming it, so they can all do this for their personal enjoyment. Fucking sick bastards. But anyways, I’ve been watching a lot of those surveillance films or those films that are on YouTube of people getting sucker punched with this knockout game. And the most common way that the thugs are doing this is that, let’s say, here’s the innocent bystander, just some person minding their own business, some poor lady or whatever, the bad guy, I’ll pretend to be the bad guy, sneaks up behind them and does this. ‘Wham!’ They sneak up behind them and they throw this big ass hook or this big ass haymaker and they and up clipping the innocent person, who doesn’t even know what’s going on, right on the side of the jaw. And if you watch any boxing matches or if you watch any of those films or videos that are on YouTube about the knockout game, if they get hit like this, the head gets snapped back, the brain gets slammed up inside the skull, and when that happens it causes a concussion, and that poor victim ends up unconscious laying on the ground at the mercy of these people. And who knows what happens after that. If they’re lucky, the thugs will just walk off. Worse case scenario, they’re going to get robbed or even worse stuff is going to happen.

So with that in mind, if you don’t want that shit to happen to you don’t neglect the defensive part of this. So yeah, just because the guy’s behind me and I’m hitting him with elbows doesn’t mean that he’s not hitting back. Yeah, I’m training on a target like this, but when I’m training, I’m assuming this would be a real person. Well, I don’t want to be like this leading myself wide open. I want to be like this so I don’t have that particular punch coming around me. Also, when my shoulders are up and my chin’s down, it also protects my neck, my throat, so I’m less vulnerable, in case they, instead of just punching me, maybe they are trying to choke me like this or with their hands, it’s just going to protect you in general. Because this whole area around here has a lot of vulnerable, vital points to my body. If I get hit in any of these aspects or get choked, there’s a good chance I’m going to get injured very easily. So, I need to keep the shoulder up, chin down, as I deliver the strike.

Now, one problem that does come up, and this certainly does come up and it’s legitimate in that, if they’re especially a taller student and their training partner is shorter and/or the target is shorter, their question is ‘Well, if, let’s say I want to hit this target right here on the body, or because maybe, we’ll pretend that his face is down here because they’re a shorter person in relation to me, how am I supposed to deliver this elbow strike, still hit the target, and still keep my chin down?’ Well, I’m going to give you two suggestions.

One is, I’ve already brought it up, which is to change your levels. So, let’s say that I want to throw this elbow. Instead of hitting the face I want to hit them more in the throat or chest. If I do it normally and stay up tall, I’m leaving my face open. If I bend my knees, drop my level, as I’m delivering the strike, notice how I can still hit the lower target but I’m still keeping my chin and face protected as I’m delivering it. So as you deliver the strike, notice how I’m changing levels. I’m starting a little bit taller, as I turn, now I’m a little bit shorter. That’s one, that’s the easiest way to fix it.

The second way you can do it is, you can adjust the trajectory a little bit of the elbow strike in that you can arc it down, and this is what I mean. Like this. So before, notice how my arm is nice and horizontal. That would be the textbook way to deliver the strike. But maybe I want to hit the target a little bit lower. Maybe I can’t get any lower with my body. I can arc it down but when I arc it down notice that my hand, my shoulder, my chin are all still all protected. So if I do it towards the camera, not like this. See, I’m leaving myself open. Like this. I’m arcing it down a little bit but I’m still protecting myself. So that’s another way that you can adjust the elbow yet still protect yourself as you’re delivering the strike. So, my preferred method is to change levels but you can arc the elbow down slightly as well.

Anyways, those are my suggestions for maintaining good defensive aspects to this elbow. Make sure that you do it. Like I said at the beginning of this video, it’s the most neglected aspect of this elbow. So if you want to be good and safe while you are doing this elbow, make sure that you don’t neglect it.

Thank you for watching!”

“If you don’t want to be a victim of the ‘knockout game’, be aware of your surroundings. Stop staring at your phone and look around when you are out in public.”