Empi-uchi (literally: “monkey’s elbow strike; or “swallow-flying strike”) is a blanket term for elbow strikes. Elbow strikes are short-range techniques which are simple to learn, and can hit with the force as a baseball bat. Even the most petite-framed students can deal knock-out blows with elbow strikes.
Do not strike the opponent with the tip of your elbow. While hitting with the elbow’s tip deals a sharper blow, it also deals an equal amount of impact directed straight to your ulnar nerve, so you’ll just hit your funny bone. Instead, strike with the bony, flat sides of your folded elbow.
Inside elbow strike
To execute an inside elbow strike, first reach your opposite-side hand behind your opponent’s head. (When practicing in the air, hold your hand directly out in front of you, at head level.) Twist your hips towards your open hand, and raise your elbow up to shoulder level; your striking-side hand touches your opposite-side shoulder. As you strike, pull the opposite-side hand in, clapping it against your elbow.
[video of inside elbow strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]
Outside elbow strike
Outside elbow strikes are used to strike a variety of vital areas (temple, jaw, nose, solar plexus, ribs, etc.) against an opponent who is standing right beside you. When done properly, outside elbow strikes feel just like pulling the starter cord on a lawnmower, snowblower, or chainsaw.
[video of outside elbow strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]
Forward elbow strike
To execute a forward elbow strike, first reach your opposite-side hand behind your opponent’s head. (When practicing in the air, hold your hand directly out in front of you, at head level.) Twist your hips towards you open hand, and pull your elbow out in front of you, at solar plexus level. The striking-side hand should remain open, covering your same-side ear with its palm. As you strike, pull the opposite-side hand in, clapping it against your elbow.
[video of forward elbow strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]
Rear elbow strike
To execute a rear elbow strike, sharply pull your fist to the same-side hip. That’s it -- there’s not a whole lot to this technique; elbows are simple.
Rear elbow strikes are used when the opponent is directly behind you at a close range; such as when they have attacked you with a rear mug, a rear bear hug, or some variation thereof. In these cases, rear elbow strikes can deliver blows to the abdomen or solar plexus, stunning the opponent long enough for you to escape their grasp.
Anytime you chamber or re-chamber a technique, this can also be used as a rear elbow strike.
[video of reverse elbow strikes from the front, side,and rear, fast and slow.]
Rising elbow strike
Rising elbow strikes are essentially forward elbow strikes which just keep going, until he elbow reaches head-level. Twist your hips towards your opposite-side, and raise your elbow up in front of the same-side shoulder. Like the forward elbow strike, the striking-side hand remains open, with the palm covering the ear.
[video of rising elbow strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]
Downward elbow strike
Goshin-Jutsu [Karate]dō utilizes purely vertical “12-to-6” downward elbow strikes to deal potentially crippling blows to the neck or spine of a doubled-over opponent. Because of this techniques's raw power and extreme consequences, it is an illegal move in the UFC and other mixed-martial arts tournaments.
To execute a downward elbow strike, execute a cross-body block, with your elbow at head level. Then, pull your elbow down to hip level, as though you were celebrating something really awesome, like having your crush agree to go on a date with you. For extra power, squat while performing this strike.
[video of downward elbow strikes from the front and side, fast and slow.]