Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Vertical Elbow Strike

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Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Vertical Elbow Strike

This section focuses on tan belt techniques used by the Marine Corps martial arts program. This page examines the vertical elbow strike technique used in the Marine Corps martial arts program. To learn about other martial arts hand strikes, please visit the main Punches & Hand Strikes section. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).

For more Marine Corps techniques, please visit the main Marine Corps Martial Arts Program section.

Vertical Elbow Strike (Low to High)

Elbow strikes in general are close range weapons that inflict a great amount of damage due to leverage and the transfer of your body weight.

Striking Surface

The striking surface is two inches above or below the point of the elbow, depending upon your angle of attack, the aggressor’s attack angle, and the position of the aggressor.

Target Area of the Body

The chin is the primary target of the vertical elbow strike (low to high).

Angles of Attack

Elbow strikes can be performed from a variety of angles: vertically (low to high or high to low) and horizontally (forward or to the rear).


~ From the basic warrior stance, bend your right elbow, keeping your fist close to your body.
~ Your fist is at shoulder level and your elbow is next to your torso.
~ Thrust your elbow vertically upward toward the aggressor, keeping your elbow bent throughout the movement.
~ Rotate your right shoulder and hip forward and drive up with your legs to generate power.
~ Make contact on the aggressor with your right forearm two inches above the point of the elbow.
~ Return to the basic warrior stance


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  1. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP),, Added - 02/18/15

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