The Diagonal Elbow, also known as Sok Chieng in Muay Thai, is a powerful close-range strike that cuts the air and lands with the bone of the elbow. It's famous for its stealth and precision, often occurring in a close clinch where it's hard to see it coming. Being one of the most damaging strikes in the Muay Thai arsenal, it is critical to understand the mechanics of both delivering and countering this technique.
Start in a standard Muay Thai stance. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your lead foot pointing forward and your rear foot slightly angled. Keep your hands up to protect your face, elbows close to your body.
Raise your striking elbow to shoulder height, rotating your shoulder and hip inward simultaneously. The elbow should strike diagonally, coming either from your own chin or hip towards the opponent's face. For maximum power and stability, pivot on your rear foot.
Defending against a Sok Chieng involves creating space and blocking. If you see the motion start, you can create space by backing up or sidestepping. You can also raise your guard high to protect your face using your forearm.
To counter a Sok Chieng, one must recognize the preparation for the strike. Seeing the shoulders and hips start to rotate, swiftly step back to increase distance, then counter-attack as their strike finishes and they're momentarily vulnerable.
In competition, the Sok Chieng is often used in close clinch situations where punches and kicks are ineffective. It's a perfect surprise attack as it's hard to see coming due to its unique angle. This move is used to damage the face of the opponent, and a well-executed Sok Chieng can also result in a knockout.
It's important to understand that the effectiveness of the Sok Chieng comes from its execution speed and precision, rather than just power. The muscles involved in the technique are the abdominals, lats, and shoulders.
The Sok Chieng or Diagonal Elbow can be a game-changer in a Muay Thai fight when used properly. However, like all techniques, proficiency comes from practice and understanding the mechanics of the movement. Always practice with safety in mind, understanding how to counter and defend against this impactful technique.