Muay Thai Techniques
Sharing Real Life Techniques of Muay Thai for the Student and Professional

Elbow – Nerve Damage, How Not to Do it!

I run a drill with my wife where we “pretend” she’s being attacked by a rapist, crazy guy, whatever and she attempts to distract/knock out the individual with an elbow.  (I know, I’m nuts, I need help!)  Anyhow, I pin her against a wall and I make her fight to keep her hands in the ready position (hands to the face).  She then attempts to throw elbows to the temple, chin or orbit (hole where the eyeball sits).  I use focus mitts for the drill and I make an attempt to keep her arms down.

Well, we were practicing this drill a while back and instead of striking the focus mitt, she decided to hit me in the temple.  Now, I couldn’t get mad because he did what she was training to do, but lucky for me she didn’t strike me with the tip of her elbow, but with the side of her elbow.  She winced in pain, said her fingers fell asleep and she needed a few minutes to recover.  This typically doesn’t happen when you strike Thai Pads or Focus Mitts, but will happen if you hit something solid like a wall, table or your husbands temple (Ever hit your “funny bone”?).  God forbid this happens in a fight in a cage or a fight for you life.

What you’ll notice as you train people is that their form deteriorates as they get tired.  In the case of the horizontal elbow, the hand should travel across the face towards the opposite ear.  When folks start getting tired, you’ll notice the hand will drop towards the hip and the elbow will strike on the side.  The reason you don’t want to strike in this fashion is you’ll hit your “Funny Bone” or what is better known as the Ulnar Nerve (UN).

anatomy-of-the-elbow.gif

The Ulnar Nerve (UN) runs the length of the arm from the shoulder to the hand.  You can locate your UN by feeling the tip of your elbow and then moving towards the bend in your arm.  If you flex/bend your arm back and forth, you’ll feel the “rubbery” tendon.  When you hit the Ulnar Nerve, your pinky and ring finger will fall asleep and it hurts like crazy.  If you hit your Ulnar Nerve hard enough you can actually cause damage to it.

Here are some pictures of my wife and her girlfriend showing a proper elbow and an elbow that will strike the Ulnar Nerve.

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Good elbow strike with the tip of the elbow making contact.  The hand is relaxed and comes across the face.

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A “not so good elbow” where the side of the elbow is used to strike horizontally.  This would be a good elbow if it were used to strike down, kind of like an overhand punch, but since it’s used as horizontal strike, the Ulnar Nerve would strike the target, not the elbow

15 Responses to “Elbow – Nerve Damage, How Not to Do it!”

  1. I think that this blog is an awesome idea. I really like this post. I’ll have to look around for some more tips. Keep up the good work.

  2. problem of ulnar nerve damage ,tingling in ring finger and little finger. please give me solution in my mail address.

    THANKS

    yours faithfully
    nikhil shah

  3. hi im 14 yrs old and i started gym when i just turnwed 14 except that i think its because of this but im not sure. the Ulnar Nerve im my right arm keeps clicking and when i flex and move my arm it starts hurting what should i do???

    thnx

  4. Go see a doctor.

  5. Unfortunately, most sexual assaults are perped by someone the victim knows pretty well. Not addressing that reality feeds the fear mongering our culture seems to serve up to women routinely. Be afraid of strangers, stay at home, and you will be safe. Wrong! As long as this self defense “drill” acknowledges this, its not a bad idea. Truth is, sexual assault is rarely so obviously aggressive at the onset. It is a disservice to not teach people that they may need to use these techniques with a boyfriend, family member, old friend, etc… it is MUCH different psychologically. And yeah, crush that ulnar nerve an you are in for a world of pain and likely PT if not surgery down the line.

  6. Some months back, I underwent whiplash when someone hit the back end of my car. Ever since, my elbow(s), about 11/2 inches above the elbow tip feel like bruises, one much more than the other, on the protruding bone. And the pain is an icy, fiery pain, which makes my forearm ache incredibly when I try to straighten it. I wish I knew the anatomy of the elbow well enough to understand why this hurts so! I do much better when I understand the pain. Thank you for this website. Char-

  7. I think I Managed to find it, I struck it with my index finger but it only gave me slight pain.

    I remember two times where It was struck REALLY hard, and its such a crazy feeling.

    The first time was on a metal slide when I was a really young kid (i think we had this big multiple kid pileup where i smacked my funny bone on a metal corner), It was super painful and I went to the hospital thinking I had a broken arm, lol.

    the second time was camping and my whole forearm went numb! I was probly like 15 at the time so the pain didn’t bother me very much, actually I kinda thought it was cool feeling.

  8. I have hit my elbow at work, & my little finger & ring finger are numb & I have problems gripping things, could you please tell me what is the best cure to fix this… such as? thankyou Narelle

  9. a weird game if you ask me, but whatever floats your boat

  10. Narelle.. u need to see a doctor to see if ur nerve is okay

  11. I’m typing this with a numb left little & 1/2 ring finger so my stupidity appreciates this article! Thanks!

  12. I’M A 56 YEAR OLD RETIRED NAVY SAILOR WE WERE ON SHORE LEAVE IN PLAMA SPAIN .AT A WATER PARK THEY HAD TWO TALL SLIDES ONE HAD A HUMP IN THE MIDDLE.WE WERE BEING DUMB SAILORS TRYING TO OUT DO THE OTHER GUY. TO GO FASTER WE RAISED UP ON OUR ELBOWS AND HEAL SO WE COULD HYDRO PLANE AND GO FASTER IT WORKED GREAT FOR THE STRAIGHT SLIDE BUT THE ONE WITH THE HUMP! WAS LIKE A LAUNCHING PAD I HIT THE HUMP AND BECAME AIRBORNE. I LANDED ON MY ELBOWS AND HEALS IT HURT BAD FOR A MONTH OR SO THEN WENT AWAY FOR YEARS .I’M A GUITARIST I WAS PLAYING ONE DAY .THE NEXT DAY MY RING FINGER AND LITTLE FINGER WENT NUMB.IV’E HAD TWO OPERATIONS ONE ON THE SHOULDER THE OTHER CAURPEL TUNNEL.I KNOW IT’S THE ULNAR NERVE .IT’S MAKING ME CRAZY.IV’E HAD THE NUMB FEELING FOR OVER A YEAR.I’M VERY WORRIED. IT WILL BECOME PERMANENT. I NEED SOME NO (BS)HELP!

    • When you make out with your girl Friend..You are storing sexual energy in your body…That energy is like a magnet in your body….any time a limb falls asleep..you get pins and needle feelings….Breathe into and spend time with it……it is your sexual energy..the pins and needles after spending more and more time with the sensation..with become a creamy feeling…..instead of the dead numb pins and Needles…..I am still researching this !!!! I have found very little info..but what I say is True….Spend time with the two fingers with the pins and needles and the feeling will become pleasurable…this I Swear !!!

  13. Tennis Elbow Remedy…

    [...]Elbow – Nerve Damage, How Not to Do it! « Muay Thai Techniques[...]…

  14. string quartet…

    [...]Elbow – Nerve Damage, How Not to Do it! « Muay Thai Techniques[...]…


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