Monday, 14 September 2009

Dirty Clinch Fighting

To a western style boxer, any type of fighting in the clinch is considered unethical and is normally described with the phrase “dirty fighting”. However, clinch fighting to many other types of martial artists is considered fair play, very effective and well worth practising. Rightly so, it is practised with the intent of being able to deliver devastating close range attacks whilst controlling your opponent in a position where they are very venerable.

However, even people who practise the clinch believe that there are a few techniques that are considered “dirty”, below the belt and should not be executed. These dirty fighting techniques from the clinch are mostly prohibited in competition where clinch fighting is used such as Muay Thai and MMA, but are well worth becoming aware of, just in case you sense your opponent start trying them in the ring or cage and occasionally practising in a controlled manner since for self defence purposes, they could be very effective. Some of these include,

Ear slap – If you have ever been slapped with an open palm strike, right where your ear hole is, you will know how it feels. A slap to the ear can severely damage the ear drum if done hard enough and can disrupt ones balance extremely. It can easily be done without much power as you are trying to gain control of your opponents head. This is one to be practised WITH CAUTION.

Eye gouge – Obviously with boxing gloves on, this is not possible, but with MMA gloves or open handed, it is very easy to eye gouge from the clinch. Controlling the head with the fingers and gouging with the thumb is very effective here. Again USE CAUTION with this.

BitingMike Tyson did this to Evander Holyfield as in the picture while simultaneously applying an arm bar. For the ring, this is completely unethical, but for the street, it surly is an effective way of gaining the advantage. With the fear or catching a disease though, one may want to stay away from using it, but one definitely needs to be aware that it can be used against them. Biting is a survival instinct and is used many times in self defence situations.

Body ramming – Being so close to your opponent it is very easy to slam parts of your body into him/her. Obviously if you can hit vital points it will be better but ramming anywhere will do something. Good ones are shoulder rams, either to your opponents chin if possible or maybe to there own shoulder in order push them back or to create space. A hip ram to your opponants own hip bone or lower abdomen/upper groin may also be effective. Judo fighters will know the pain of this when they have been hit with a strong hip throw.

Striking under the armpit – Weather this is legal in sporting events, I don’t know. What I do know though is that it is painful. If for some reason, your opponent’s armpit area becomes exposed, like when controlling someone in an arm triangle choke position, one can easily strike the exposed ribs under the armpit. These ribs are not protected by any muscle and fat does not seem to travel there much making them easy targets to sustain damage.

Arm locks – Mike Tyson was accused of doing this during his some of his fights, and the reason it is prohibited in boxing is because it works. Circling your opponents arm in order to lock it is very easy and should be practised by all for self defence purposes.

These are just a few dirty tactics that can and are used when clinch fighting. They don’t need much training in order to be useful, but because a lot of people train only for sport and consider them foul play, (and rightly so for competition) they don’t even consider any defences for them.

The problem with this is that when one starts clinching there opponent on the street, chances are they shall easily dominate them as they practise the clinch for hours and hours in the gym. However, being under pressure and controlled, the opponent may start attempting some dirty tactics like groin grabs or hair pulls and because the person clinching is not used to this and does not have quick defences for the techniques, they could end up in trouble. It is important that one practises dirty fighting from the clinch, especially if self defence is on ones mind.

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Anonymous said...

For a guy who questions the value of standing locks you sure do spend alot of time promoting them. The thai clinch is dangerous outside the ring: your two hands are occupied while his are free, if he's competent he'll wipe your eye or grab your groin. I really don't see how you could defend this except maybe by putting your head down between your arms but this leaves you open to knees. I think thaiboxing is overrated: it's all power and muscle but little finess and it can fairly easily be beaten by a guy who's learned to use lightening quick techniques to vulnerable spots and a punishing defence. Personally I'd love for my opponent to try to roundhouse me in the head: either you'll get to see the world upside down or you'll hear a loud pop meaning your knee has been destroyed. Conditioning is all fine and I too do press-ups, sit-ups, weights and the like but certain areas will always be vulnerable (eyes, groin, throat) and it's there you want to aim your strikes. I fail to see how a martial art that allows fights to drag on for round after round can be called the toughest or most dangerous striking art: in reality one good strike is all you need to let the dice fall in your favour and a few more hits after that and he'll be finished. Thaiboxing looks good and it sells but to me it's more of a game than anything else: sometimes it really does look like these fighters sort of agreed on dragging it out to look good and for the benefit of the spectators. True fighting is brutal and effective and usually it's over in under half a minute: a true warrior puts his opponent down in a matter of seconds and walks away, he's not in it for the glory but survival and service to his country and others. In my time in the army I've seen men that could easily crush even the toughtest ringfighter and they don't look like bodybuilders or aggressive bulls. They're plain guys with an iron will, a stout heart and an enourmous sense of duty. They're the ones to be feared and respected, not some numbskull with a low IQ and an ego-problem who steps into the ring for self-glorification and the mindless cheers of a clueless audience.

MARKS said...

Standing locks do work under the correct circumstances, yes they are hard to pull off, but from the clinch one has the best chances of making them effective.

Muay Thai is a dangerous martial art, but no where on this site will you see it stated that it is the toughest striking art. Fighters make toughness, not the art.

tom said...

Mike Tyson gets criticized unfairly for biting Holyfield. (I can't believe I'm defending Tyson, but I am).

Holyfield spent the entire fight butting Tyson. Butts are dangerous in boxing -- they end fights and can end careers. Holyfield is one of the dirtiest fighters in existence, and Tyson probably decided that he wasn't going to put up with it.

The thing about mega-fights like Tyson-Holyfield is that there are really no rules. Yes, there are rules, but fighters break them with impunity. The worst that can happen is that a point gets taken away. And since these fights end by KO, that really doesn't matter much. Barring extraordinary circumstances, no ref will DQ a fighter in one of those huge PPV mega-fights, because there is too much money on the line.

Of course, literally biting a chunk of your opponent's ear off is extraordinary, and Tyson was DQed, but Holyfield's fouls were numerous, dangerous, and impossible for Tyson to avoid. Tyson had only two choices: foul him back in a worse way, or ignore them and risk injury and the loss of a match. He chose the former.

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