The jiu-jitsu elbows

The jiu-jitsu elbows

The jiu-jitsu elbows should also be included in your list of BJJ arm attacks. Elbows are stronger than the wrist and fingers but weaker than the shoulders. For the most part, arm attacks like straight armbar, Kimura and Americana consist of manipulating and controlling the jiu-jitsu elbows of your opponent. 

The Jiu-Jitsu elbows control

To better attack (or control) the elbows, you must move them away from your BJJ opponent’s core. In the experience of many jiu jitsu practitioners, the elbow weakens dramatically at any angle beyond 90 degrees from the upper body.

Though, the elbow is stronger the closer it is to the body.

So our goal while attacking is to separate our opponent’s elbows from the core of his body. Conversely, our elbows must always stay close to our core when defending.

source: Stephan Kesting

Gaining More Leverage attacking the BJJ elbows

In jiu-jitsu, we must always attack one of our opponent’s limbs by using several parts of our body in combination to give us more leverage over our BJJ opponent.

This principle works wonders when we are attacking our opponent’s BJJ elbows. Here are some examples: 

  • We can use both of our arms against one of our BJJ opponent’s elbows, bending it 90 degrees for arm attacks (Kimura and Americana). To properly apply these submissions, we must use our legs, hips, and/or shoulders to gain more leverage.
  • To break our opponent’s posture when he is on top in our guard. We can cup our opponent’s jiu-jitsu elbows with our hands and pull them downwards while crunching our body, bringing our crossed legs to our chest. This is a great way to disrupt his offensive attacks.

Creative Ways to Use Our Elbows in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

jiu-jitsu elbows

Every dangerous jiu-jitsu fighter often uses their elbows because their hands are usually busy making a strategic grip or serving as a point of balance for the body.

Here are a couple of very useful ways to use your elbows to both defend and attack your BJJ opponents.

Use your Elbows to get Rid of Undesirable Hooks

When my BJJ opponent is stepping on my waist to push me away and create space, I use my elbows to remove his feet without committing other parts of my body. You can also use your elbows to defend your back from hooks by pushing the hooks out when they are around your waist.

source: WorldMartialArts

Use your Elbows to Control your Opponent’s Hips

I can’t stress enough the importance of controlling your opponent’s hips at every moment of a match. You can use your elbows to control your opponent’s hips from many positions: Side control, half guard, and guard passing are the most common.

For example, when passing the guard you can post your elbow on one side of your opponent’s hips to pin his hips down into a flat position. This will help to gain more control over his motion.

Posting your elbow on the mat next to your opponent’s hips (when on top in side control or half guard) is another great way to gain control over him. It will help you to slow him down by partially blocking his hips.

Use your Elbows to Block or Create Space

Many times the most efficient way to create space when defending on the bottom is by using your elbows. Using your elbow to block your opponent’s hips from moving forward. Pushing his knees and following up with hip escape. Or putting your elbow on the base of your opponent’s neck (between the trapezius and the neck) are great ways to stop your BJJ opponent in his tracks by creating more space for your defensive moves like guard recovery.



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