The Horizontal Elbow (Sok Tat) is a highly effective and dangerous technique used in the martial art of Muay Thai. Muay Thai, also known as 'The Art of Eight Limbs', is unique for its use of elbows and knees in addition to punches and kicks. This technique is characterized by its horizontal movement, designed to strike the opponent with the sharpest point of the elbow.
Start in the standard Muay Thai stance. Your feet should be hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands up protecting the head, and elbows close to the body. All movements should be executed from this stance for optimal power and protection.
Twist your torso in the direction of the elbow strike while simultaneously swinging your arm across your body, horizontally. Make sure the palm of your hand is facing downwards and your fingers are pointing towards yourself. Remember to hit with the tip of the elbow, not the forearm. It's important that the arm be slightly bent at impact to avoid injury.
Using a high guard block is the primary defense against the Sok Tat. Additionally, maintaining good distance from the opponent to reduce the effectiveness of their elbow strikes can help you defensively.
The Sok Tat can be countered by stepping back out of range or using a high guard block (raising the arm on the side where the elbow is expected to land). Always remember to act quickly and counterattack when it's safe.
The Horizontal Elbow is used in competition primarily to target an opponent's head, specifically temples, jaw, or cheekbones. It is often used when the fighters are in close quarters where there is not enough room for punches or kicks. This technique can cause significant damage and even result in a knockout.
After executing the Horizontal Elbow, quickly retract your arm and get back to your standard stance. This will help you to protect yourself and be ready for the next move. It's important to practice this technique with caution due to its potential to cause serious injury.
While the Sok Tat is a potent weapon in any Muay Thai practitioner's arsenal, it requires precision, timing, and diligent practice. When mastered, it can be a match decider due to its menacing nature.