Elbow pads are an often under-utilised piece of protection equipment in combat sports. Fight gear, such as knee pads and helmets are used by almost all fighters, however, combat sport elbow pads rarely receive the importance they deserve. If you practice MMA or Muay Thai, elbow pads should be a key component of your protective gear. BJJ and Judo fighters might also find that they require elbow pads to protect arms in the event that they hit the mat during a throw or takedown. Also, Kickboxers, Taekwondo, and Karate practitioners may all require elbow pads in case of falling during sparring or because of a previous injury.
In Muay Thai elbow pads are most commonly used by fighters practicing for “full rules” Muay Thai fights which allow elbow strikes. While many gyms don’t allow sparring with elbow strikes, if you are wanting to specialise and compete in Muay Thai “full rules” fights, you will need to know how to give and take elbow hits.
An elbow pad is designed to soften the blow of elbow strikes and prevent fighters from being injured. It’s important to note that giving a hard elbow strike can still injury your sparring partner, even with pads on. For this reason, it’s important to wear appropriate headgear for any intense sparring sessions.
Before sparring with elbows, you and your sparring partner need to agree and understand the basic rules of sparring with elbows. You’ll need to exercise caution at all times and maintain clear and open communication between you and your sparring partner. A hard elbow hit can cause lasting damage, so it’s extremely important that you take all necessary precautions and adhere to sparring etiquette when using elbows. The first time someone in the ring hits you with their elbow it can be quite jarring. Practicing elbow jabs with your training partner will get you used to this unique style of fighting, and ready to take on anything in the ring.
Other combat sports
While most discussion around elbow protection does centre around Muay Thai and MMA, injuries to elbows are twice as common in other combat sports like Taekwondo, Judo, and Karate. This is due in large part to joint injuries incurred with frequent training and repetitive stress on specific parts of the body.
When these kinds of injuries occur, it’s important to take precautions to prevent further injury. An elbow strain and sprain can be particularly long and difficult to heal. A broken elbow can take you out of training for weeks, or potentially forever. A typical strain and dislocation can take approximately six weeks to heal, however, you should always check with your GP before resuming training.
After the initial healing process, it’s very important to protect your elbows from any additional stress or strain and elbow pads can be hugely beneficial. A pair of elbow pads will protect from most common sources of injury, such as a fall during sparring, or hitting the mat during a takedown.
Elbow injuries can have serious and lasting consequences and proper elbow protection is vital to sustaining a long and healthy career/hobby.
The Venum Kontact Elbow Pads, are a great option for almost any fighter. They’re incredibly durable and the universal fit makes them a great option for arms of all sizes. They feature a velcro enclosure to ensure that you can tighten the pads so they won’t slip up or down your arms.