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Close Quarters Combinations With Aurelien Duarte

Close Quarters Combinations With Aurelien Duarte

Elbows and knees are strikes that can be absolutely devastating if they land. Elbows can cause fight ending cuts and can even cause a knockout if they land in the right spot. Knees can break bones and can cause knockouts, even if they hit the body. Knees to the body, especially the liver, can drop an opponent and keep them down for long enough to finish the fight and obviously knees to the head can easily put an opponent to sleep. 

The only problem is that elbows and knees are very short range strikes. This means that you need to be pretty close to your opponent for them to land. This not only means that you will be putting yourself in danger of being countered by strikes, clinches or grapples, but that they can be hard to work into most striking combinations. 

In this video, Aurelien Duarte shows a simple combination using a knee and an elbow. Aurelien Duarte is a French kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter with a background in Karate. Duarte has been travelling the world to train with different coaches and fighters and brings all that knowledge together to better his coaching abilities.


The combination that Duarte shows in this video is very straight forward. It is a simple knee to the body followed up by an elbow to the head. While it is simple on paper, the combination can be hard to actually pull off. It can be tempting to go for the elbow right after you land the knee but unless you have a solid base under you the elbow will have no power. 

After landing the knee, bring your leg back to your stance and then go for the elbow. This will make sure that you have a strong elbow as you can now properly turn your hips to get more of your body weight into the strike. 

Duarte emphasizes the importance of not being tense and trying to relax while throwing this combination. This way you can flow and have this combination hit more effectively. It’s very important to not try to force power through tension during this combination, as it will only make your technique worse.

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Duarte also says that as you're drilling this combination, you should focus on a specific detail of your choosing for a given number of reps. This can be focusing on pointing your toes down, pushing your hips, or anything else you can think off. It is important to work on these details in isolation, as it is impossible to improve every aspect of your technique at once.

One thing to note is that in the video Duarte’s partner who is drilling the combination is in a southpaw stance. Being in southpaw against an orthdox fighter, what is generally known as an open stance scenario, makes it easier for both fighters to land their rear side strikes. This means that it can be easier to land the rear knee and elbow if either you or your opponent are in the opposite stance of each other. This is especially the case when it comes to the rear knee, as in an open stance scenario more of the body is available to the rear knee to land on. 

This means that if you want to land this combination and both you and your opponent are in the same stance, switching stances or using a switch knee to start off this combination might be a good idea. This also makes targeting the liver of your opponent with the knee possible, which might end the fight on this own. 

Also keep in mind that this is a very close range combination and if you don’t knock your opponent out with it, they are probably going to try to counter in some way. To avoid this there are a few things you can do. First is that you can just disengage and completely exit after landing the elbow, to take away any chance of a counter from your opponent. The second is just to clinch up as you are already in clinch range, this way you can control your opponent and continue to follow up with more knees and elbows. You can even go from takedowns sweeps or throws from the clinch if those are allowed. 

Creating Muay Thai Connections by Aurelien Duarte
If you want to learn more combinations and drills like this from Aurelien Duarte, then checkout our complete video series with him, available now!