Monday, 20 July 2009

Muay Thai Clinch - What NOT to Do

Muay Thai is probably best known for its clinch fighting. From the clinch, not only can viscous elbows become available for a fighter to use, but more dangerous knee strikes can be executed. Many will recall the UFC’s Rich Franklin being brutally knocked out by Anderson Silva. Silva, an expert in Muay Thai and clinch fighting controlled Franklin and finished him from this position via punishing knees.

Rather than explaining what you should do if caught in the clinch, the following explains what you should not try and do. They are common mistakes people make and ones, if avoided, should keep you out of danger in order to start thinking about an escape.

Don’t try and move away – Trying to move away from your opponent when caught in the clinch, will extend the distance between the two of you and will provide enough space for them to deliver knee strikes with a full range of motion. You actually want to try and minimise the space as much as possible so knees can not be thrown easily or at all.

Don’t try and grab your opponents hand to break the grip – Many times people actually reach behind, in order to try and pull there opponents hands off the back of the head. This has even been attempted while wearing boxing gloves. By doing this you open up your midsection and weak ribs to knee strikes.

Don’t try and turn your back to your opponent – If your opponent has a good solid grip of the back of your head with both hands, if you try and turn away, you shall simply twist your neck which could result in injuring yourself as well as leaving yourself on the receiving end of some knee strikes.

Don’t try and swing you head under your opponents elbow - If you try and duck under your opponents elbows at the same time he/she delivers a knee strike upwards, well you get the picture…hopefully.

Don’t strike the midsection – Although some may disagree with this, it is one open for debate. Some people feel that by striking your opponents midsection with punches you may be able to make them release there grip in order to protect themselves. This may work against beginners but against fighters who have been training for a long period of time and have conditioned there midsections to take these blows without flinching, all this shall do is annoy your opponent and will probably make them more eager to end the fight quickly. However, an alternative may be to try and strike there face area with hooks or overhand punches. This will give you a better chance of them letting go of there grip.

Don’t panic – This is the most important point to remember. If you get caught in the clinch the last thing you want to do is panic, tense up, use up all your energy via the tension and find yourself in trouble. Just relax, take your time, concentrate on closing the distance between you and your opponent and work towards escaping.

It takes practise and time to be able to learn what to do when caught in the clinch. It is not something where one can just do a couple of sessions on it and expect to be able to defend themselves adequately. Clinch fighting is an art form in itself and something that requires constant practise.


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Anonymous said...

What sort of defenses to the thai-clinch would you recommend? I'm mostly interested in self-defense applications but sports-variants are welcome too.

MARKS said...

To be fair, it is hard to recommend clinch escapes if you do not practise it, and for this reason if you dont, please start soon as it is well worth it. For self defence purposes, always go for strikes to the groin. One or two and your opponant should release.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the traditional thai-defense of swimming but I don't think it would work against a stronger opponent and I don't want to work out so much my neck looks like one bulging mass of muscle. I'd go for the groin or the eye, I just need to work out how to defend against his knees before applying them, you simply cannot count on always being faster than your opponent. Hence my question.

MARKS said...

Swimming does work, but it must always be pertformed at the right time. A good thai clincher will try and keep you very close and pull you down into knees, so if you can find a way to open up the gap between you and your opponant, the swimming technique will work better

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") on Vulnerability of the Fighter to the Muay Thai Clinch.

KS caught this post after seeing the above UFC contest between Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin on TV. Watching the fight really drove home the reality of how devastating a Muay Thai attack of this kind can be.

KS opinion of Rich Franklin is that he is an oustanding athlete, but his fighing game is not as good as people give him credit for--I think they are swayed by his athletic ability. Rich, to me, was unprepared both physically and mentally for this type of attack.

MARKS, this is what caused KS to ask the question about your interest in MMA teaching. With the type of open-minded input you present in the post, I think a talented individual like Rich Franklin could dramtically improve, at least have a fighting chance against a super-star like A. Silva. If I sound like a know-it-all, KS has been taken off guard by this kind of offense, and found himself desperately fighting to recover.

MARKS Wado-Ryu karate style also came to mind. KS recently ran across an individual who pointed out how 'crummy' Tang Soo Do ("TSD") karate is as a marital art. Frankly, the TSD curriculm does have big 'holes' in it, and one of them is this type of close-in infighting. TSD does cover infighting, but it is light on technique and not emphasized in the training regimen. What is offered is not presented very well either.

Moreover, as MARKS you have stated in your choice of karate style, many traditional schools omit or may prohibit this kind of contact, for safety or sporting purposes, I guess.

A lot of MMA people are gravitating to Muay Thai as an effective fighting style. KS asks that Wado-Ryu karate, with its Jui Jitsu dimension & strategy, plus being a traditional martial art, could better prepare you mentally, not just with more versatile technique?

MARKS, you could present either approach (Applied-Muay Thai), (Traditional-Wado_Ryu) as an MMA trainer or coach.

MARKS said...

Many thanks for the compliments. An art is only as good as the effort and thought the practitioner puts into it.

If a Karate fighter decides to train realistically, taking all ranges of combat into account, including the clinch, he will be succesful. This goes for a Muay Thai fighter, a Judoka and anyone other martial artist.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

learn GRECO ROMAN WRESTLING g-r teaches the much needed neck skills that are identical to muay thai clench !

Anonymous said...

are any of the masses of poo style fighters learning pummeling and hand fighting ?
there is so much well documented clinch information on utube and most are not learning a thing at all.

start pummeling and hand fighting into neck control.
greg nelson`s clinch lessons are very good. watch free on utube or purchas the dvd.
malaipet clinch dvd is very good however i have gotten more details out of nelson lessons.
every should study both and get good on the clinch and throws.

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