There is little doubt that elbow techniques are part of traditional karate they are contained in Kata and in self-defence techniques. These provide the basic elbows of Seishin Freestyle,
- Empi Uchi – Elbow Strike (generic term used for all elbow strikes)
- Jodan Ushiro Empi – High Rear Elbow Strike
- Mae Empi Uchi – Forward Elbow Strike
- Mawashi Empi Uchi – Roundhouse Elbow Strike
- Otoshi Empi Uchi – Downward Elbow Strike
- Tate Empi Uchi – Upward Elbow Strike
- Ushiro Empi Uchi – Back Elbow Strike
- Yoko Empi Uchi – Side Elbow Strike
Elbow strike techniques heavily influenced by Muay Boran are very unique weapons that make Seishin Freestyle Karate different from other karate systems. Elbows in Seishin Freestyle Karate can give very severe injuries to the opponent as it will be used to attack when opponent is closer distance and the major targets of elbows are generally head facial areas including jaw, temple, and neck and so on. Using elbows is very flexible, you can move or swing elbow in any direction to attack, both vertically and horizontally but different method will give different impact to the attack.Seishin Karate classes place great importance to elbow techniques when it comes to self defense There are eight main moves of Seishin Freestyle Karate elbow strikes:
Elbow Strike 1: Cutting or slashing Elbow
The Elbow slash is generally used when the exponent want to attack the upper part of the facial area such as forehead, eye and nose. It can be done by swinging the elbow diagonally downward, normally in 45 degree angle to attack the target. Mostly you cannot use the elbow slash to attack alone as the exponent needs to get close enough to the opponent to attack. The elbow slash will be used effectively when the exponent want to respond to an opponent’s knee-kick.
To practice the elbow slash, you have to bend the elbow closely against the arm, as if they are together. Then twist the shoulder; send your body into the opposite direction, aiming to strike the elbow against the upper targets. In case the opponent counters with a punch, you should parry that punch away with your fist, and swing the elbow against the desired target. Do not use this technique often or else the opponent will prepare for it.
Elbow Strike 2: Horizontal Elbow
Horizontal Elbows are quite similar to the elbow slash technique. The different is only the exponent have to swing the elbow horizontally, parallel to the ground. The exponent needs to make sure that they stand firmly when attacking, because attacking with full power, you may need to twist he shoulder and hip along with the elbow swing and this will make you lose balance easily.
Horizontal Elbow is done by raising the arm at 90 degree angle to armpit, and the hand at 30 degree to the elbow. The elbow must be parallel to the floor at all time, even during the swinging movement. The targets of Elbow lie in the jaws, chin, or even the ribs, if you can lower your body to launch the body strike.
To train Horizontal Elbow, the Karateka should practice on the punch bag to get used to the maneuver. Step one foot forward, putting pressure on the tip of the foot to get a good hold. Follow by the back leg, touching the floor with the tip of the foot, ready to twist the heel to add to the momentum of the elbow, as the hip and the shoulder are in complete synchronization to swing with the most force against the target.
Elbow Strike 3: Uppercut Elbow
The uppercut elbow can be done by swinging the elbow diagonally upwards to attack target especially chin. This technique requires speed when using it, which means you have to do it as quickly as you can. However, in the combat, some Karateka avoid to using it, but use horizontal elbow or elbow slash instead.
The expertise in this technique, the Karateka should train frequently with the punch bag. Uppercut Elbow is done by stepping your foot forward so that the tip of the foot is below the punch bag, and launch an uppercut. Your fist should go pass the target, allowing your elbow to make the impact instead. Do not forget to bend both your front and back knees so that you could straighten the body when you swing your elbow upward against the opponent.
Elbow Strike 4: Diagonal Elbow
Diagonal Elbow is one of the elbow strikes which can open up a cut easily. To practice diagonal elbow, Seishin Freestyle Karate Karateka should raise the arm that you wish to launch diagonal elbow, either the right of left arm. The arm points forward, making the 90 degree angle with the arm pit. Bend the elbow, making the 45 degree angle with the face, namely, the fist will be at one eyebrow.
For example, if you want to use right diagonal elbow, your right fist should be at the level of the left eyebrow. This should help to block any punches to the face. If you want to use the right diagonal elbow, step the left foot forward with the right leg at the back. Step the left to get close to the opponent, twist the shoulder to send the Elbow diagonally upward. The speed and the rough edge of the elbow tip will open up a cut quickly if diagonal elbow is the exponent practiced.
Elbow Strike 5: Chopping Elbow
Chopping Elbow Strikes is closely related to Diagonal Elbow. In case Diagonal Elbow misses and going in its upward flight, pull the elbow back downward in the chopping movement when the opponent is careless, believing that Diagonal Elbow has missed, therefore exposing the gap for him to exploit. When he comes in to attack, he will find himself chopped by the chopping elbow.
The basic movement of Chopping Elbow is very similar to Diagonal Elbow. It is simply a matter of reversing of the direction, namely, from up to down, rather than from down to up.
Karateka can adopt a very high guard. This should facilitate the use of Chopping Elbow to the area around the face. Move close to the opponent and swing the elbow downward from the forehead down to the chin.
Elbow Strike 6: Smash Downward Elbow
Smash Downward Elbow is a very useful elbow strike that could knock the opponent unconscious if he meets the full impact. This Smash Downward Elbow could be practiced by stepping the foot of the flank to use Smash Downward Elbow underneath the punch bag. In real life situation, the foot must be stepped in between the opponent’s feet.
The execution of Elbow is from up to down. Use the sharp edge of the elbow to hit against the target. This Smash Downward Elbow must be applied quickly, since if it is done slowly, you might be harmed by a counter-attack. When smashing the elbow downward, one arm has to guard the area around the chin and down to the solar plexus. You must keep watch on the opponent all the time. The nose bridge should be aimed for, because if you could smash the elbow down at that point, you could stop the opponent immediately, as the nose bridge produces tears easily and could be broken with strong impact.
Elbow Strike 7: Double Elbow
Double Elbow is another weapon for self-defence in Seishin Freestyle Karate when fast action is required in dire circumstances. Bagwork for this, swing the bag, step your foot close, and raise both your elbows to smash the bag. This will build up expertise,speed and agility.
Elbow Strikes 8: Spinning Elbow
The spinning elbow technique is quite different from other elbow technique. As you have to turn the body around to generate the elbow strike. To do the spinning elbow, the exponent generally use the rear elbow to attack and make sure that you will always look at your opponent while turning the body around and making the elbow strike.
Spinning Elbow is considered to be a very dangerous technique in Seishin Freestyke Karate. It could knock down the opponent with so sudden a force and venom. It could easily draw blood from the opponent.
To use Spinning Elbow, Seishin Freestyle Karate Karateka should sway the body slightly sideways. If you do not twist your body, you could not swing Spinning Elbow smoothly against the target. Any awkward movement could be exploited by the opponent who could launch an all powerful punch to the body or prompt your action with other weapons.