This weekend featured the UFC title fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, from a movement perspective high level MMA is fascinating both the variety of strategies available and the physical competencies involved. Top level MMA fighters have too be strong, fast, endurant, mobile and agile and they work in one of the most complex movement environments possible dealing with another living beings forceful resistance in one of the most free forms of combat sport.
Champion Jon Jones utlized elbow techniques with proficiency rarely seen in MMA landing a wide variety from a number of different set up.
Elbow techniques are good example of where play and deligent practice split. Elbows are used very rarely in sparring even for top level combat athletes it is simply too easy to injure a sparring partner using your elbow because it is so hard and sharp. A small miscalculation in force can result in a major cut or broken orbital bone or nose neither of which are much fun.
Of course the very thing that makes elbows not very good for play fighting makes them very effective for dueling and combat. So elbows are something you build through practice, practice that needs to be very focused and progressive. Without the attributes built through progressive combat games you won’t be able to apply your elbow techniques very effectively in actual combat and this goes for any high danger combative technique like attacks to the throat or eyes you need to build techniques and practice them in increasingly free games. The types of games you can play with elbows and the degree of practice neccesary before you move on to freer forms of play is quite high compared to many other combative techniques.
For some inspiration on the effectiveness of elbows check out this highlight reel
and for some training ideas
check out these videos