Back Elbow Strike in Kenpo Karate

Back Elbow Strike

Back Elbow Strike

The elbow is a pointed bone that is very lethal and also effective in self-defense techniques. The elbow is a strike that can be applied in different directions, let’s review this strike, the uses, and applications.

The rear elbow is a technique used against an aggressor who attacks us or tries to attack behind our back.

Application and distances

There are two instances of application of the strike: one when the attacker approaches us, we become aware of his presence and he approaches to attack us, then we carry out the rear elbow. The second instance is when we are unexpectedly attacked and we react with a subsequent elbow or whatever is necessary.

  • This elbow is applied in the middle zone, stomach, floating ribs, or anywhere in the middle zone. To give intensity to the elbow we stretch our hand forward while trying to calculate where it will hit, then we grip the hand to increase the intensity when striking. If this strike has a good intensity then it should make the attacker reach both hands to protect himself where he received the blow, this would be his natural reaction.

The Back Elbow Strike is the opposite of a horizontal punch, when we chamber and get ready for the proper execution of a punch we are doing an Elbow Strike over and over. In this case, all we need to do is look at the direction we are striking.

This Elbow Strike will give us a proper safe distance from an attacker in an obscure zone. We might use the strike when we feel the presence of an attacker doming to us, this strike is perfect for:

  • Rear bear hug with arms free
  • Rear bear hug with arms trapped
  • Rear shoulder pull
  • Rear neck hold

Back Elbow Strike from horse stance
Keep in mind to always be ready to use a combination, because by using 1 strike you are limited to the response of that strike.

  • What if you miss the target?
  • What if the strike did not give you the result you wanted?

That is why you need to have options, a great option is to have at least another strike right after the Back Elbow Strike. You could execute the following:

Back Elbow Strike Step by Step

  • Starting in the starting position or in a horse stance, now look at the target over the shoulder where the technique will be applied.
  • Stretch your right arm fully towards your forehead.
  • Pick up your arm to form the angle needed to hit your elbow backward.
  • Repeat the same movements on the opposite side.
  • Keep the hand or palm facing up when striking.


  • In a street self-defense situation if the elbow did not give the desired result then continue with the same blow until the attacker releases you, and it is important that you must counterattack to prevent the attacker from trying to make a new attack.
  • In the practice of this blow or strike, you must focus on keeping your back straight and that your elbow strike has a good trajectory.
  • Always look at the target before making the shot, if you do not do it you will not know where you have to go.
  • Always keeps your back straight to give solidity to the impact.
  • By using the Kiai with your elbow strike you will increase the power of this technique.
  • Do not use the strike if your attacker is not in range because you will waste your energy and time, but worse you will open your guard to the attacker
  • Do not use this strike in tournaments or in competitions because you will be disqualified.

Kenpo Karate Techniques

Follow our Social Media!