Elbow strikes one of the best self defense strikes

(See video on elbows also)Elbow strikes are one of the best strikes for self defense. But keep in mind the best strike is always the one that fits the situation which will be determined by your distance and available openings. To find the right striking area hold your palm facing your cheek, fingers pointed at the ceiling, if you feel your arm right above the elbow joint you will feel the edge of your arm bone this is what you strike with (you rarely will hit with the actual point of the elbow and only into soft areas if you do). This area is used for strikes from the same side as the elbow you are using (right elbow strikes from the middle or right side).  If striking from the left side (with right elbow) or striking backwards you would use bone right behind the joint (don’t hit your crazy bone hit in center).With either area always have your arm bent while striking. Elbow strikes will do more damage than a fist or palm strike with less chance of injury to yourself (fist strikes in particular have a fairly high risk of injury). I teach twelve different elbow strikes, all of them use those two striking areas mentioned before, just hitting at different angles such as horizontal, vertical, diagonal, forward, backward, up and down. I’ll do a video soon detailing the most common ones. Some of the best targets are the hinge at the back of the jaw (right below the ear) this can break the jaw and be a knockout. The solar plexus right below the ribs in the center (xiphiod process) painful and can cause shortness of breath. Right behind the elbow joint while arm is straight and held at the wrist this creates what is commonly called an arm break (it actually is a tear or breaking of the tendons and/or ligaments that attach the muscles and bones at the elbow). The opponents fist, this can break or bruise their hand or knuckles you are using a stronger/bigger  bone is why they will be the one to get injured and not you, the only exception is if your opponent is considerably bigger than you then this might not be the best technique. Using a downward elbow you can strike to the back of their hand when they throw a low punch, this is one of the exceptions where you can use the point of the elbow, just drop your front guard hand's elbow down and to the center(or to where their hand is) while also dropping your body but with no wind up(lifting). You can also use a downward elbow strike to the spine (back or neck) or the muscle next to the spine (for less of a chance of permanent injury to your opponent) if they are shooting for your legs or bent over. You can also stike above the kneecap if you catch a kick (the one arm hooked under ankle while other strikes) both of those last two you can lift up your elbow to increase the power of the strike if there is time. These are some of my favorites but there are many more, this only covers applications for three elbow strikes and even for those it wasn't all of them, think about your techniques and experiment with a partner and you can probably find more. Whenever doing any of these keep your motions as efficient as possible for most strikes staying within your own body frame, staying inside the distance between your shoulders, for example if standing in a hallway only as wide as your shoulders you should still be able to throw most of your strikes.
Two cautions first these are all very damaging strikes and because of the very short distance that the strike is moving it is hard to stop it if someone you are practicing with unexpectantly moves forward. For these reasons I would not recommend using these in sparring or when you’re just messing around the chance of injury is too great. Practice them in a controlled way with a partner and only use them in a serious self defense situation. Now the second caution  is something that I follow myself also but I don’t know for fact if it’s true (but it makes enough sense that I’ll side with caution). I read once from an old kung fu instructor that he thought it was unhealthy to do elbow strikes full force against heavy bags, I believe in taking everything you read with a grain of salt (because there’s a lot of bad information out there). But I’ll tell you why I think this might be true. Whenever you strike something the force has to go somewhere, when hitting a soft object it compresses but when you hit something harder the force gets sent back into you, this is why if you practice breaking boards it hurts more when you fail a break than when you succeed. If you make a fist and take your other hand and push on your knuckles (where you would be hitting something) you will see that your whole hand, wrist and forearm will compress back, this is acting like a shock absorber for any energy that’s rebounding back from a punch which is why if you hit something that’s too hard it’s easy to break or bruise your hand as it's absorbing a lot of force. If you push on the area of your elbow that you strike with using your other hand you will see there is a lot less give (shock absorbing). Now this isn’t a problem if you’re hitting something like focus mitts, a person, or even a light weight bag because the force will go into what you’re hitting. But a very dense or heavy bag particularly the Muay Thai ones that are heavier than the boxing ones and the ones that are filled with sand that are really dense will put more force back into you. So considering how much force an elbow strike can generate, coupled with the reduced shock absorbing (compared to a punch) and the close proximity of your elbow to your heart and organs if you spend years hitting a heavy bag with full force elbow strikes I believe it could add stress to your heart and organs (that might catch up to you as you age). Again I don’t know if this is actually true (judge for yourself) but to me it’s logical enough that to be safe when I  practice elbows I do them in the air, with training partners, against focus mitts, light weight targets or without full force if using a heavy bag.