How To Use Spinning Techniques For MMA Effectively

Some of the most memorable moments in mixed martial arts are thanks to a well-timed spinning technique landing perfectly. Although they can lead to spectacular knockouts, many lack the knowledge to properly throw spinning techniques without leaving themselves open in return. Here are some ways to use spinning techniques effectively for MMA. 



For any technique to be effective, it must be able to land. Many fighters strive to emulate the picture-perfect form found in movies. Although this leads to an aesthetically pleasing technique, it can often lack the power that is needed to finish their opponent. There are also multiple ways to throw the same spinning technique, which can lead to confusion and debate. Any way that lands on your opponent does damage, and keeps you out of harm’s way, is valid in the context of mixed martial arts. 


Back Kick

The back kick can be found in traditional martial arts such as Taekwondo or Karate. This is a very powerful technique that often results in a knockout, when thrown with precision. Watch as Kwonkicker breaks down how to execute the back kick in the above video 

The mechanics for a back kick in regards to footwork and the final hip drive are almost identical. One crucial detail to note is that this, and many other spinning techniques, are actually linear in nature. Thinking of the spin as a turn instead will prevent you from over-spinning and increase your accuracy.

When training the back kick, focus on balance over power. This can be highlighted by Shane Fazen of Fight Tips on the common mistakes to avoid when executing this technique. Once you are comfortable with the technique, add a small hop or slide to the technique. This will allow you to cover massive distances and catch your opponent off guard. 


Spinning Hook Kick

The spinning hook kick is similar in form to the back kick. The only significant difference is the last half of the technique. Much like the back kick, thinking of the spin as a turn will result in a faster kick. Instead of extending your leg, chamber your leg and throw a side hook kick at the end of the technique.

This will catch many opponents off guard, especially if you set this technique up with a couple of back kicks before coming around their guard with a spinning hook kick.  The wheel kick is a popular variation of the spinning back kick that has resulted in spectacular knockouts in MMA

The difference between the wheel kick and the spinning back hook kick is the kicking leg position. In contrast to the spinning back hook kick, the wheel kick is thrown with a straight leg. This gives it massive power, due to its increased travel time and arc, but it is harder to control. 

When practicing the wheel kick in sparring, throw it with a bent leg, like a spinning hook kick. It is far too easy to injure your sparring partner with a perfect form wheel kick. This bend in your kicking leg also prevents hyperextension when practicing the wheel kick on a heavy bag. 

To make this technique even more effective in a fight, mix up the intended target. Although most fighters aim for the head with a wheel kick, the body, and even the leg can also lead to fight-ending damage. When aiming the kick to the body of your opponent, pick an organ to target, such as the liver or spleen. 

Andy Hug, a heavyweight Kareteka and kickboxer, used the spinning back hook kick to great effect by targeting the legs of his opponent. He would often set this up with low kicks, suddenly bursting into a powerful spinning hook kick. Most opponents shelled up to protect their chins, which left their legs vulnerable. 


Spinning Elbow

This spinning technique has led to some of the flashiest knockouts in mixed martial arts. There are various ways to throw this, the main variation between them being the footwork for the follow-through. The first way is to deliver the spinning elbow, then immediately return to your stance by spinning back in the direction that you came from. The idea is that spinning all the way through would leave you more exposed, as it takes longer to return to your initial stance. 

The second way to perform the spinning back elbow is to spin through the technique to return to your stance. Watch the video demonstration by Evolve on how to execute the spinning elbow technique. This is a complete three hundred and sixty degree spin, as opposed to the one hundred and eighty degree spin in the previous variation. Fighters such as Gaston Bolanos have used this execution of the spinning elbow to great success in MMA. 

The follow-through of the full spin creates a much more powerful strike. To avoid counters, throw a kick or a punch after your spin with the opposite side as the previous elbow. In a closed stance situation with your opponent, the spinning elbow can be thrown as a counterattack off of a lead shoulder roll

For those already comfortable with a Philly Shell stance in boxing, this can be an easy move to make the Philly Shell more suited for MMA. 


Spinning Backfist

The spinning backfist has identical mechanics to the spinning elbow, but with an extended arm. Depending on the ruleset of your combat sport, you can make contact with the back of your glove, or the ridge of your hand, much like a hammer fist. 

Much like the spinning elbow, you can choose to throw this technique with a half or a full spin. There are pros and cons to both, depending on the context of this technique in your individual fighting style. Give yourself some time as you experiment and incorporate these and these spinning techniques. The same goes for all new techniques, practicing and drilling helps build confidence and proper technique execution. Stay safe and happy training! 


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