How to Throw an Effective Elbow in Muay Thai and MMA

The Arena MMA Coach Charles Martinez breaks down some proper mechanics to use when throwing an elbow in Muay Thai or MMA.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, what’s up, it’s Coach Chuck. We’re working on some simple punch to elbow mechanics. Right?

So starting from my good fighting stance, my lead hand goes out. My chin’s protected. On the retraction of my lead hand, my rear elbow shoots forward, knuckles go to the by-chest. Point of my elbow comes forward. Other hand comes back to my face. My weight resets. Right? So I touch with the jab. My shoulders are protected. My hip is rotated. Right?

As I go to throw the cross. It’s the retraction of my job. My foot steps, my rear foot steps, lands rotated, knuckles going against my chest. Other hand comes in the middle of my head, right foot is rotated, right hip is rotated. Weight dropped straight back down. So now off the jab cross. I throw the jab, I throw the cross. Same thing here, the retraction of the way. Knuckles of my left hand drive to my chest, horizontal elbow, right hand comes back to my face. Fighting stance resets.

First one, jab, step forward, knuckles of my rear hand to my chest, point of my elbow forward, hand comes up, not obstructing my eyes, so I can still see through this space. Jab, cross, same idea. Step, step, point of my elbow comes forward. Hands come up, knuckles go to my chest. I can still see. Last one from the cross, hook. Same idea. My weight shifts back to the lead side, rear hand knuckles rotate, drive the point of my elbow forward, body rotates, weight sets back. Just a nice way to include elbows and the stepping range to be able to get into elbow range from punch distance.

The Arena’s Janelle “Ninja Princess” Freiman

Team Arena’s own Ninja Princess, Janelle Freiman, has consistently shown the warrior spirit necessary to succeed in Boxing, Kickboxing and Muay Thai. A lifetime of hard work and dedication prepared her for the uphill battle of learning how to fight in a tough environment. We build fighters and have very high standards for anyone that we would consider fighting for us, Janelle has met and exceeded these standards. Enjoy!

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Janelle Freiman:
When I first started combative training, the whole gym just went silent like, “Oh no, maybe she’s lost. What is she doing here?” There were a million times I felt embarrassed like, “What are you doing at this age trying to do something like this?” So I just realized like, well, this time’s going to pass either way so if I put the dedication in and do the hard work from ground up, I’m only going to get better.

 

Prior to fight training I had been a professional dancer. I did ballet. I did modern dance. I started at 18, which is a really, really late age. I had all the odds against me. I started training with ballet just full dedication. I’ve performed actually all over the world and I did that for over two decades.

 

When I first started training with Basheer I loved his training. I really love technique. I love mastery of a trade and having the technical proficiency. I didn’t know I was going to ever fight or was that even an option? Then I started to realize, “Wait a second here. I would love to get in the ring and do this.” And I think I can do it and I have the right coaches behind me.


The first thing I did was a boxing tournament. I had to fight two people, one of which had already been the previous winner for the Masters title and the World title so I had to fight her first. And I just brought in with me the same composure and focus that I brought into dance performance into the ring. I won both of those fights and I won the title. And then I went on to do six boxing matches. Then I did one kickboxing world championship in Australia, which was a six-round fight. And that was a really great experience. Really great accomplishment, just a dream come true.


I love that, since I’ve been here, I just get in the mix. In the beginning, there was a separation between me and them, female, older, etc. And so then over time, people have seen me putting it in, doing what it takes, having injuries, overcoming injuries, super dedication, and work ethic, and I probably train like three to four hours a day. And I feel like that I have earned the respect and that, over time, I think that age barriers or female/male barriers have just blurred. It’s a comradery here. It’s a “brotherhood” here. I find that everybody help each other, everybody want to see you get better. They see the dedication and then they’re going to honor that. It’s family and feel family here.

Punch Combination Drills to Fight from Both Stances

The Arena Striking Coach Vince Salvador shows how he uses different punching combinations to switch his stance, allowing him to fight from both an orthodox and southpaw stance. You can use this in Boxing, Kickboxing or MMA.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Coach Vince Salvador:
How’s it going guys? This is Coach Vince from The Arena and here’s some tips and drills you can use to develop fighting from both orthodox and southpaw and working on both stances so that you can do both in a fight.

One of the drills I like to do is I’ll throw everything from my strong stance, which is orthodox. If you’re right handed, you write with your right hand, your orthodox. If you write with your left hand, you’re probably southpaw. Southpaw just means you’re left handed. And the way that I do this, I’ll throw all the punches in combination the same way I would if I was just throwing them at a bag or at anywhere. And I would still continue using my head movement, keeping my head off that center line but when my weight shifts, it gives me an opportunity to pick up a leg.

So if I throw my jab, my cross, and my hook, my head is here and it shifts to here, my weight is here that means my back leg is light. If my back leg is light, I can just take a step forward, move my head to the outside, now I’m a southpaw. Same thing, I can jab, cross, hook, my head’s on this side, take a step backwards, come underneath, I’m orthodox.

So there’s a way to transition from right to left without having to show it, without going here and here. Now I’m hiding it behind my hands, my feet move when my hands move. So if I go one, two, three, my head moves my footsteps, my head moves, southpaw. One, two, three, my head moves, I take a step backward, my head moves, orthodox.

And that is my tip of the day.

Coach’s Corner with Arena Muay Thai Instructor Charles Martinez

Check out this edition of Coach’s Corner with Arena Muay Thai Instructor Charles Martinez sharing technical knowledge. If you’re tired of just kicking bags and doing burpees, come see “Coach Chuck”.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Coach Charles Martinez:
… first couple rounds so everything they throw is here. All right. One, two. Okay. Two, three. Good. If I kick when it’s going away from me, right, then a lot of times I end up reaching and falling forward. That’s not what I want to do. I want to hit. If you’re standing and you’re advancing, I want to hit as you’re coming forward and see how much I maintain distance with it. They use it as a range finder.

 

Member:
Oh, okay.

 

Coach Charles Martinez:
What they want to do is secure this position. All right, so I make my neck short. I kind of just never let that happen. All right, our grips are in. Remember, it’s not just about latching onto his head and pulling down. Right? Sometimes it’s about pushing so that I can pull. All right. Sometimes it’s about controlling the bicep because he’s using that hand to pummel in.

 

Over. Both arms over. Put your hands together. Over his arms. Put your hands together.

 

Member:
Oh. All right.

 

Coach Charles Martinez:
Push your back out. Yeah.

 

Member:
He just literally put me back down.

 

Coach Charles Martinez:
Yeah.

 

If you’re going to check that kick, go right into the switch. Yeah. Switch right from the kick from the time you shield, open and kick. I don’t want to … Here. One, two, three.

Yeah. Rather than doing this, it’s actually going to get you hit in the balls.

 

Member:
Yeah.

 

Coach Charles Martinez:
You just stand south paw. Right? So here. One, two. All right.

 

So now he’s kicking. It would be an inside leg, but he’s kicking a better surface.


From the right hand, step, open. And then everything else is exactly the same, the rotation, the balance point. It’s just right hand and then everything else is exactly the same. Right hand, step, kick, right back.

 

Having the tools to, he’s got better punches, I’ll kick. He has better kicks, I’ll punch. He’s got better, both of those, I’ll clinch. Oh, he’s getting tired, I’ll clinch and tire his arms out. All right. So that’s why at the end, the clinch, your arms are heavy, you can’t, that’s how it feels always. Good.

 

Member:
Thanks.

Kickboxing Student Discusses his Progression while Training at The Arena

This Testimonial features The Arena’s Mischa Matulich. Listen to what he has to say about his training Kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu these past two years.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Mischa Matulich:
My name is Mischa Matulich. I came to the arena two and a half years ago to learn some self defense, also to lose a little bit of weight. I grew up much in boxing and always want to do it, but I was afraid that I couldn’t do it because my vision. One day I just decided it was time to learn. I came in, signed up, and the experience has been amazing.

 

I didn’t know anything from when I started. Now I feel confident in self defense and being able to deal with my opponents. I think overall I’ve lost about 30 pounds. I’ve made a lot of friends here. It’s been an awesome journey. I started taking Coach Chuck’s 7:00 AM Kickboxing class. I also have been taking Tony’s 6:00 AM Jiu Jitsu class. All the fundamentals are there and they teach you every step of the way. That’s the best way to wake up and start your day. Every day is here at the Arena.

The Arena Fight Team Tryouts

To ensure we build our team with the right fighters who are willing to commit themselves to their craft, we hold tryouts every year to find out who’s ready to step in the cage and represent The Arena.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Coach Charles Martinez:
Start with jogs around this building. If you don’t make do this part, don’t worry about it. You’re ain’t going to make through the rest of today. Go! Follow, fall in behind each other. Today we’re doing another team tryout. It’s a chance for guys who have been gym members a while and are kind of building their basic skills, to try to see if they’re ready to take that leap to the next stage of training, which is preparation competition. We have a very stringent policy on not allowing people to train with the fight team until they’ve proven themselves.

 

Fight Team Member:
Finish on the white speed bump not before it!

 

Coach Vince Salvador:
Our job here today is just finding new guys from membership, putting them on a team so we can get him fighting and continue our tradition of winning and having a bunch of tough guys.

 

Arena Member:
I came here to try out for the MMA team here at the Arena I’ve been a member since, 2012 and I’ve always been considering it. Definitely more that what I was expecting, but it’s nice to see that fellow teammates here to keep us pushing.

 

Arena Member:
I just want to see where I was at with my progress, just pushing us and making us get to that next level and I’m very grateful for everybody here, man. It’s definitely a good experience for sure. It’s part of self-growth.

 

Arena Member:
I’ve never tried out for a fight team before, but I’ve been considering fighting, decided I finally want to take the leap, try and go for it. Arena looks like they really build some fighters and I want to get up there with them.

 

Fight Team Member:
There’s a lot of tough guys in here and got a lot of these guys will definitely be fighting really, really soon. Excited to see some these guys come up.

 

Fight Team Member:
I was at the first trial, bleeding, pushing and now I’m helping all these guys, so it’s kind of cool to see how far I’ve come and how it’s come full circle. And so right now I’m holding the garbage, getting ready to, as guys puke holding the trashcan. It’s been a journey that’s the truth.

 

Coach Charles Martinez:
We’re looking for heart. We could teach all the techniques. I can’t teach them not to quit.

 

Coaches:
One two three!

 

Training Group:
Arena!

The Arena’s Barak Sekander Prepares for Kickboxing Fight

In this video, The Arena’s Barak Sekander and Coach Charles Martinez share their thoughts on the journey from gym member to one of our representing fighters. This Saturday at The Four Points by Sheraton San Diego Barak will be stepping back into the ring for his 2nd Kickboxing bout.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Barak Sekander:
My name is Barak Sekander. I started training at The Arena little over two years ago. I just kept showing up two years later and now fighting for the gym and can’t believe this is actually a part of my life.

Charles Martinez:
Barak came here as just a regular gym member. Came in, started jumping into the classes, did all of his time, did everything where I took all my ridicule, stayed, kept showing up through the torture and then had his first IKF official amateur kickboxing fight three months ago, won by knockout in the first round. He’s fighting again Saturday. Same show IKF show at the Four Point Sheraton.

Barak Sekander:
Tough love is the best way to describe Chuck. He cares about your training and you can definitely see that. Absolutely one of the best coaches I’ve ever worked with and I’ve done sports my entire life.

Charles Martinez:
Our classes here are built to take someone from no knowledge all the way through competency and into competition. Barak’s just another example of that and I tormented that kid so I don’t know how he stuck around, honestly.

Barak Sekander:
Really lucky to be here. I never would’ve thought I’d be a fighter.

Kickboxing Student Jamil Estayo’s Experience at The Arena Gym

Check out what Arena member Jamil Estayo has to say about his time training Kickboxing and Muay Thai with Coaches Charles Martinez and Vince Salvador.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Jamil Estayo:
My name is Jamil Estayo. I’ve been training here for about a year and a half now. What brought me to The Arena is I was just interested in some kickboxing and Muay Thai drills. Never really did any stand up combat before. I did judo and wrestling in high school for a little bit, but I never really understood the standup game, so I came to The Arena.

First time I came here I worked with Coach Chuck. His progressions drills, his pad drills and everything, just fell in love with it. Personally, I feel like I’ve gotten way better. If I ever wanted to get into a competition, I’d feel super confident with Coach Chuck and also Coach Vince’s classes. Everybody here is super friendly, super helpful. During the classes I was training with really high elite fighters. It was really an honor and great opportunity to train with them because they gave me a lot of their insight, a lot of their techniques as well. Not just Coach Vince’s or Coach Chuck’s techniques, but there’s a lot of the best of both worlds pretty much.

Drill to Reload Your Punches from Your Strong Side

MMA Coach Charles Martinez works some drills you can use to reset to the same side and reload your punches after throwing a combination. You can use this skill for Boxing, Kickboxing or any striking art.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Coach Charles Martinez:
All right. Today’s tip we’re going to work on, is some punch mechanics to resetting to the same side. So traditionally, when you first learn punching, it’s always one side, then the other, then the other, then the other. It’s all based off hip rotation and generating power. So nice easy tool to work on here. I’m going to throw the javelin, throw the cross. I’m going to reset my weight, and I’m going to, again, throw from that same side. Same thing to the lead side. I throw the jab. I throw the cross. I throw the hook. I reset my weight. My rear foot pivots. My hips reload. I throw a hook again. All right, so anytime that I’m going to double up on one side of punches, I have to reset my hip to that side.

If I throw the right hand, I reset my weight to my right hip. My head comes back onto my rear hip. And I can throw from that side again. Anytime I throw from the lead side, in order to throw this side again, I need to reload my hip. So when my jab is out, my left hip is activated. In order to reload that hand, I take a small step. I rotate my rear hip. Now my weight is on my lead side, and my lead hand is loaded again to throw another punch. Right? So jab, reset, lead hook, jab, cross, reset, rear uppercut or rear straight. So anytime you’re throwing a combination, you can reset to the same side, and then throw another punch from that side.

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