Are You Allowed To Use Your Elbows In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has grown in popularity in recent years and it’s no wonder why.

It’s an incredibly high-energy martial art and it’s accessible to people of all ages. 

Are You Allowed To Use Your Elbows In Brazillian Jiu Jitsu

It is a full-contact martial art that requires you to use all parts of your body.

It involves a lot of grappling and getting your opponent to the ground.

You might be wondering if you can use your elbows in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and if you are then you’ve come to the right place.

We will be going over everything you need to know about the relationship between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and using your elbows.

Can You Use Your Elbows In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

The short answer is yes, you can use your elbows in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Elbows are great for adding to arm attacks.

They are stronger than your wrists but not as strong as your shoulders, so if you use them in an arm attack, you’re sure to get good results. 

Your elbows are also great for defense as well.

They help you create space between you and your opponent, especially when it seems like your opponent is about to defeat you. 

How To Get Better Elbow Control

If you want to use your elbows effectively in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it’s important that you work on your elbow control. 

In general, you’ll have better control and strength from your elbow the closer it is to the body.

When attacking an opponent, you want to move your elbows away from their core, and when you’re defending yourself, you’ll want to keep your elbows as close to your own core as possible. 

Elbows are at their weakest when they are at any angle beyond 90 degrees from the upper body, so use this knowledge to better your control and weaken your opponent in sparring matches. 

The more control you have over your elbows, the better your overall defense and technique will be.

When your defense and technique improve, your overall skill does too. 

How To Use Your Elbows In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

There are lots of ways you can use your elbows in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Here are some of the best ways you can use them: 

Control The Opponent’s Hips

One of the best ways you can use your elbows to your benefit against an opponent is to use them to control your opponent’s hips. 

Controlling your opponent’s hips during a match is absolutely essential. It will keep you in control of the match and assure your own victory. 

There are lots of positions you can use your elbows to control your opponent’s hips. Some of these positions include half guard and side control. 

If you put your elbows on your opponent’s hips when you’re on top in a side guard or half guard, you can slow him down and block his hips. 

Block Or Create Space

Using your elbows also helps when blocking or creating space. 

Aside from using your elbows to block your opponent’s hips as we’ve already mentioned, you can also put your elbows on the base of your opponent’s neck.

This creates space between you and your opponent and it makes it harder for them to get a grip on you. 

How Common Are Elbow Injuries?

Elbow injuries are more common in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu than you might expect.

One of the most common ways elbow injuries happen is through armlocks.

Below are a few of the common elbow injuries in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you should try to avoid. 

Are You Allowed To Use Your Elbows In Brazillian Jiu Jitsu


Dislocation is one of the most common injuries in any martial art. They can happen from simply being slammed down too hard on the ground. 

An elbow dislocation usually occurs when the elbow bone is pushed or pulled out of its normal position. 

Elbow dislocation can be quite complex and at times stressful.

If you sustain an elbow injury you’ll want to seek medical attention immediately so they can work out exactly what’s been dislocated.

If you do sustain an elbow injury, you should stop fighting until it’s healed. 

Elbow Fractures

Elbow fractures are also a very common injury you can get from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

They are a bit more severe than dislocation though because they can end some fighter’s careers. 

Because Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is so technical and dangerous, unless you know exactly how to perform the moves you are doing in a fight, you’ll be risking a fracture almost every time.

Even professional fighters that have been doing it for years and years can get fractures. 

If you do end up fracturing your elbow, it is very important for you to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Get plaster applied to it and be aware that the healing process is going to be quite long and costly.

If you are told not to fight anymore even after the fracture heals, you will, unfortunately, have to take that advice.

If you don’t, you could end up getting an even worse injury in the future. 


Bursitis is caused by inflammation from repeated elbow blows and collisions. When you develop bursitis, it can cause you a lot of pain and discomfort. 

To prevent this pain from being unbearable, you can apply ice to bring the inflammation down.

Some fighters will continue to train and fight if they feel they can tolerate the pain of bursitis, but it is strongly recommended that you void sparing and take a rest from training until your condition improves.


So now you know that you can use your elbows in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, don’t be afraid to try it out for yourself.

If you want to learn how to control your elbows better, talk to your trainer and see what exercises and training methods they can offer you. 

Be mindful when using your elbows in a fight though. If you sustain an injury, in some cases it can end your career.

Make sure you learn all the technicalities you need in order for your elbows to stay in fit and fighting shape! 

Christopher Anderson
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