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Clinching Notes from Various Sources


Clinching Notes from Various Sources
Original Poster: The BadBoy
Forum: Muay Thai Boxing – Thai Martial Arts
Posted On: 07-05-2005, 17:28

Orginal Post: The BadBoy: Disclaimer:

I was just clearing out my network area at work and came across loads of notes that I have gathered over the last few years concerning different aspects of the martial arts. Now in many cases the sources of these copy and paste jobs are unknown to me (I forgot ok). So I wont be posting sources with a lot of these posts. Some of the work is mine but the majority of it is not. If you come across anything you recognise then please let me know so i can give credit to where it is due. I’ll probably use this as a standard disclaimer for the posts i make about these notes.

First are my notes on clinching. these apply to Muay Thai, MMA, SanShou and others but I feel that this forum would best suit the tone of the thread. Please feel free to make comments and adjustments as necessary. Or ask questions that maybe myself and others can try and answer. I’ll post a little at a time so your not swamped with material.

Post: The BadBoy:

Clinching Basics by Brooks Miller aka Khun kao

Posted to Usenet’s rec.martial-arts Fri, 14 Apr 2000 01:30:08 GMT

You’ve asked, so here it is.
First, let me reiterate, clinching techniques are hard to adequately explain without visual aids, so I will not be going into detail, as I don’t want people to get lost.
For those with grappling experience, you will find this similar to “swimming”. That is where you practice getting a control position by “swimming” one arm in at a time under your opponents arms to get the underneath control position for a throw or the like.

In Thai, the phrase or name used to describe clinching is translated as “Getting Dressed” (think of it as “preparing to knee”)

The difference is, rather than gaining the control position under the arms for a throw, you are trying to gain the inside position on your opponent’s head/neck area.

There are variations on the control position, I’ll discuss the most basic one that I teach. The position you want is to have both of your hands/arms to the inside, grasping your opponents head/neck in a pincher-like grip, and his head trapped to your chest. You can also rest your chin on the top of his head to KEEP his head down.

When clinching, the hand position should be on the back/top portion of your opponents head, not the back of his neck. Keep the elbows locked in TIGHT to pinch the carotid arteries, and to prevent your opponent from snaking his hands back in to gain the inside position on you. (the pincher grip on the carotids is not enough to make someone pass out, but it is enough to make them feel a little faint or light-headed, and any advantage is a good advantage)

The hands themselves can be held in two recommended ways. You can either cross them at the wrist (both palms towards you), or you can cross them with the palms towards each other. Remember, do not interlace your fingers! You will have boxing gloves on!

With your arms in the correct position, your elbows should be pressing into your opponents collar bone. Use this to your advantage, as a fulcrum to pull their head down into your chest.

When you begin to clinch with someone, you should try to “gain the high ground.” Try to get over top of your opponent first so that you have the high position. This way you can rest your weight on your opponent, forcing them to work harder. I teach my students to use their lead hand to reach high and deep to get the upper position, and their rear hand to deflect the opponents hands so that they cannot get a good grip on you.

I also teach my students to grab with the lead hand and apply the clinch with just that hand. To do this, after you grab behind the opponents neck/head, you push the elbow across to the center of their chest and use the upper arm as a wedge between you and him. This leaves one hand free to punch, elbow, or deal with whatever he’s trying to do with his hands. You can use the lead hand clinch to throw your opponent off balance, and then knee as he’s vulnerable.

While “getting dressed” it is recommended to actually keep your chin up! Any other time, you would keep your chin down, but while clinching, if you have your head tucked, it’s easier for your opponent to trap your head.

When clinching, get up on your tippy toes to help get you over top your opponent so you can get the upper position. Once you achieve the upper position, rest your weight on them. Make him hold you up!

While “getting dressed”, only “swim” one arm in at a time. Never “swim” both hands in at once. This would leave you with both hands off of the opponent, and allowing them to have the inside and get your head down.

Also, while “getting dressed”, keep your hips glued as tightly to your opponents hips as possible!!! Do not leave room for a knee to get in. When you “feel” that you are in position to knee, break your hips to the back and fire one (or more) in there, then get your hips back against his!

MOVE AROUND!!! Do not stand in place and clinch, rather, CONSTANTLY be on the move! Use your arms to toss your opponent around. Push on your opponents shoulders/arms while pulling on his neck to throw him off balance, leaving him open for your knee strikes. Try to throw the opponent to the ground if you can! (and KICK him as he falls!)

If you are having trouble with getting the upper control position on your opponent, grab around his body and hug him close. From this position, you can break your hips to the back and throw clinching curve knees. (a technique I’ve not discussed yet. Maybe later…)

If your opponent has grabbed you around the body and pulled you too tight to break your hips back to knee, grab each of his arms in a guillotine-like hold, trapping them, then push forward hard with your shoulders (dig your chin into his face, neck, collar bone) and push your hips back hard also, then attack his legs and hips with clinching curve knees.

If your arms are trapped in this manner, push forward with one, pull back with the other HARD. Once you have one arm free, grab him by the neck and start pulling down and try to get in your own knee strikes.

The above info is by no means complete. There are many, many intricacies to Muay Thai’s clinching, and above are just some of the basics to give people the right idea. I hope that the above info is helpful. Feel free, as always, to contact me with any questions you may have. I’ll try to answer as best as I can.”>

Post: The BadBoy:

Clinching Basics CLARIFICATION!!! by Brooks Miller aka Khun Kao

“Getting Dressed” is the action of your and your opponent “swimming” or snaking your arms inside for the control position. The second your feel your opponent move an arm to the inside, you should move your arm to regain the inside.
Do not wait until you have the control position to throw a knee. When you feel your balance is right and there is an opening, STRIKE!

As you close in for the clinch, get in a straight knee strike on the way in! This may be the most important knee strike of the clinch exchange. It is doubtful that once you get to the inside fighting that you will always be successful at gaining the control position to fire off the devastating clinching straight knees.

Muay Thai and San Shou are like cousin arts, and share some common features. They are both arts that have developed clinch fighting to a high degree. However, the current formats have changed what it is that they do in that clinch.

Muay Thai and San Shou do almost the exact opposite thing in the clinch. For Muay Thai, the defender wants to stand upright, with your hips close to reduce the room for knees. The attacker wants to shift their hips back a bit to create room for those strikes.

For San Shou, the defender wants to pull their hips back and base out so they are not thrown. The attacker wants to drive forward and get close. If the defender were to stand straight up, hips close, they would get thrown.
making any sense yet? :)

A Muay Thai defensive postion gets you thorwn. A San Shou defensive position open s you up for knees.

Currently, a lot of san shou fighters have sloppy shoots. They go in with the head down. With knees, this would get them KTFO. Then again, we discourage it in san shou as well! If you look at the world tapes, with the higher level fighters, you will see guys get KTFO from kicks when they bend their heads down. It is not a proper technique

My guys, because they cross train not only in knees but also in submission, know to keep their heads up (not to eat the knee, not to get guillotined).

Of course, there is also the fact that when you try to knee, you are only on one leg. Muay Thai already has within it many ways of grabbing the knee and exploiting this weakness, but of course in San Shou you are not limited in how you can throw the guy once you’ve grabbed the knee. Particularly grape vining the leg and hooking between the leg works and both are illegal in current Muay Thai.

In a san da format, a fighter has to alternate between the knee game and the throwing game. The knee would prevent sloppy shoots, but as MMA has shown, would not eliminate them totally.

Elbows would not change the game much, they are close range strikes, meaning that using them also puts you close enough to throw.

Blocking the knee strike. There are several methods of blocking a straight knee strike. The first and foremost line of defense is to maintain the superior position in the clinch and launch your own attack. Neck wrestling to obtain the inside position must be practiced diligently. Of course, there are times when one loses the superior position. In these cases, you must use one of the other defensive methods.

a) push hips to defend
b) cross arm block (catch and throw)/elbow point block Use the forearms to shield you against the blows. You can either cross them and attempt to catch or use the drop elbow cover and rolling forearm to deflect.
c) front body lock — heel strikes/throw If seized around the neck, you can defend by seizing your attacker around the waist and pulling them into you (called a front body lock). The front body lock will not give your opponent the room to execute the knee strike. With the front body lock you can also throw your opponent. Lift them off the ground and once the feet leave the ground, you can turn your waist to throw them to the ground.

3. other defenses vs. double neck hold (“plum”) a) place arm across body to set up elbow strikes b) “crowbar” to break hold c) “open windows” defense, push

Post: binhdinhboy:

ooo…very nice. on problem i have though is moving from striking range to clinch range. unless im being hit with a barrage of punches (at which case i explode through to clinch and grab around the body) i find it kinda hard to get an upper control position. or maybe its a comfort thing. tips anyone?>

Post: The BadBoy:

You can follow your attacks into a clinch position same way a boxer would to try and get inside his opponent. I find the double jab is excellent to get in close to a position where i can throw like a cross or a hook from where i can attain the clinch position.

Also you can follow an opponents attack into a clinch. For example if a guy throws a jab constantly and it is troubling me I can time my movement so i can follow that jab as it retreats and get in close to my opponent.>

Post: Ninja Kl0wn:

Binhdinhboy, that’s a problem I used to have (and still do to a slight degree), gaining the clinch offensively. This is what works for me, it might not work for you or anyone else, but there’s no harm in trying it out.

You have to explode in with a barrage of hard shots in combination. Obviously you want alot of punches, since you’re going to gain the plumm off a punch. Make sure you work low and high, throw body punches and long knees. If you go head hunting here, he’s just going to cover and clinch you, and now you have to work for dominance. Make him worry about his body. I like to take the clinch with the lead hand and keep the rear one at my face to a)defend against a counter-punch and b)make sure that other hand is already inside if he tries to shoot his arm in to get a neutral clinch position.>

Post: The BadBoy:

I think these came from various posters on The Underground

Too often, we see two guys hugging up in the clinch. There are a lot of dynamic things that you can do from the clinch if you use it properly. It is a close-range position where you can land knees, elbows, hooks, upper-cuts as well as performing high-amplitude throws.

Positioning: In the clinch, you should strive to get your arms on the inside of your opponents arms. When wrestling, or working for the take-down, this will allow you to step in for the double under hooks, or it will ensure that your opponent’s arms are not between you and a takedown. When striking, keeping your arms on the inside means that there are no obstacles between your fists and his body / head.

Space: The war of space is the main battle that is fought at any grappling range. If there is no space in your submissions, your opponent won’t be able to wriggle free. Creating space between you and your opponent gives you the room to generate power with your punches (the converse is true as well). Creating and controling space is the most important aspect of clinch fighting.

Set ups: Set ups should be used for every take-down (just don’t blindly dive in at their legs) and when in close, they help your punches a lot too. The simplest set-up can be a palm push. Explosively pop your palms on your opponent’s shoulders or chest to get them to straighten up for a moment. Then you can either use the space for a takedown (single-leg, double-leg, or high crotch), or you can follow up with an uppercut. I like to use an uppercut after a pop -after your opponent straightens up, his natural instinct will be to snap back downwards. He’ll move right into your uppercut. Snapping the opponent’s head down will cause him to react by lifting straight up. This will either clear his legs for a takedown or it will make him look right into your left hook.

Takedowns. There are a billion takedowns that can be preformed from the clinch. Single legs and double legs are okay, but you have to set them up. You cannot just try to drop down to a leg from the clinch -it is too easy for your opponent to counter. Set him up, move him off balance, get him out of position, make him turn one way and then go the other way. Another way to use the clinch to set up a takedown is to break from it. Break from the clinch and as your opponent tries to reset himself for distance fighting, shoot for the takedown (this also works wonderfully for punching). You’ll catch him flat-footed and unprepared.

Some of my favorite takedown techniques from the clinch are: the lateral drop (great for when your opponent is trying to back his hips away), the ankle pick (if your opponent is leaning forward), inside trip (if your opponent is leaning back), suplex (if your opponent is pushing into you) and the bear hug (if you can get inside on your opponent). When going for takedowns, make sure to mix up your attacks: don’t reach for the left leg, and then try switching to a double leg when his sprawls. Alternate your leg attacks with throws (my favorite set up for a lateral drop is to reach at my opponent’s near leg, and when he moves it back -BAM!). Work from side to side, up and down, and even mix some strikes in there with your takedown attempts. Keep your opponent guessing about what is going to happen next and keep the pressure on.

Please share your thoughts on clinch fighting. What techniques do you like to use? In what fights have you seen someone use clinch-fighting successfully / unsuccessfully?>

Post: The BadBoy:

Take an Angle When Releasing Clinch
Shuck Head to Post After Releasing Clinch
Strike When Releasing Clinch
Knee Bottom of Thighs When Opponent Raises Leg Shield in Clinch
Crossface in Clinch
Side Choke to Defend Against Crossface in Clinch
Wizzer Arm While in Clinch to Bring Head Down
Knee Body To Bring Forearms Down
Shuck Forearm Across Body and Hook to Jaw or Body
Fake Knees to Face to Expose Chest
Spike Elbows Downward onto Incoming Strikes
Spike Knees Downward onto Incoming Strikes
When cornered rotate cpponent (NOT forward pressure)
Bodylock is offensive
Do not give forward pressure defensively
Only give forward pressure offensively
Forward pressure should be applied low
Use forward pressure when given it
Keep squared to your opponent
Keep your head in their center(NOT off to one side)
Thai clinch is defensive,the knees are offensive
Reach to collar tie towards their weak side first
Thai clinch-pull w/hands& push w/elbows
Never let your hands be empty
Always control the head( even if it is by using your head)>

Post: The BadBoy:

“You can actually use your sholders to strike your apponents head in the clinch. “

Edit The Badboy: If you look at Robbie Lawler versus Nick Diaz at UFC47 you will see a good example of this.>

Post: The BadBoy:

“! I like to whizzer hard with my left arm to try and set up a right cross. If he defends it, I usually get an underhook with my right arm.
If you have an underhook with your right and an overhook with your left arm: Raise your elbow (of the the right arm – that has the underhook) explosively outwards and try to slip your left hand over his head to the same side that’s underhooked. This gives you a great angle, work with your head, bring his head down and knee or soccer-kick or shoot for a double or single leg (did that make any sense at all??)
clinch is way cool ! “>

Post: The BadBoy:

“Fighters that no how to fight from the clinch are extremely successful. If you want to learn how to fight from the clinch the best thing that I’ve seen so far are Mario Sperry’s Vale Tudo 1-6 Tape series, he covers closing the gap, proper clinching and excellent ways to finish your opponent off. My favorite one is popping the guy with your shoulder in order to distract him and position yourself for a strike to the head with the opposite hand. Tried it in a street fight….worked well, I left with a small mark on my cheek, the other guy was messed up. “>

Post: The BadBoy:

“Ankle picks are made to be down when the opponent puts his head down. Drive his head toward his far leg, putting all his weight on it, and then pick. If done correctly, no can defense. “>

Post: The BadBoy:

“The clinch is my favourite game. If you spar me, I will end up armdragging you at some point.

My current favourite combo from the clinch: go into Thai clinch 1 (hand on neck, elbow in chest) with both hands, throw some knees.

A) if they back up their lower bodies, switch the right arm for the forehead in chin/cheek (keep it tight) and go for a right underhook. Push, if you get a strong push and the guy stumbles back, pop in a right elbow. Always keeping in mind the standard set of Greco takedowns. I am working on the ankle pick- play the knee game aggressively then look for the takedown.

B) if they come in tight, pretend to give up inside position on one arm to transition into Thai clinch 2 (arm on top of head, elbow on chin). For some reason, a lot of people don’t realize there are lots of variations in the Thai clinch, these two are the most basic. Going between elbow on chest and elbow on chin can throw people (sometimes literally).

C) If they come in real tight and get a body lock, go for a whizzer. I am currently playing with whizzer uchimata and whizzer taiotoshi.”

Edit: C is an excellent counter to the bodylock.>

Post: The BadBoy:

“In Thai, there is no fear of getting taken down, the fear is getting your head pulled down and catching a knee in your grill. You stand straight to make your whole body into a straight line, making it alot harder to be pulled off balance by the person holding your neck.

Those slapping circular knees you see are being thrown as a distraction if they werent turning their knees over and just hitting with the inside of their leg. If they were throwing circular knees and turning them over all the way and hitting straight on with the knee, then they hurt like a bitch.

You see a lot less of the standard “plumb” position because two fighters who are closely matched find it is not an easy position to get to when fighting an experienced opponent. The plum position is emphisized so much in training and when showing someone technique because it is the “ideal” position and the one where you have most control from. But in reality you dont just slip into the plum position, your opponent knows it and knows how to defend it so you have to go to other positions(basically any tie up imaginable is legal) until you can find an opening to try for inside control(another way to say “plum”) or the ref breaks the clinch. And also remember that plum is not always the best position in every situation.

With a little modification the Thai clinch is extremely useful in mma. As good as Greco is for throws and takedowns in the clinch, thats how good Thai is for striking in it. “>

Post: The BadBoy:

“Thai clinch in MMA is defensive,the knees are offensive
If you do not agree with this statement you will when a D1 wrestler or higher plants your but to guard.
You should NEVER give forward pressure high with the plumb-in fact you should be backing up/angling off while using the double collar tie as I call it.

If you give high forward pressure like is done in thai boxing to get hip to hip(chest to chest or belly to belly)you are failing to make a simple strategical adaptation and will render a useful position in MMA useless.

Now if you are talking about a single collar tie and incorporate close range boxing(uppercuts and elbows)then the game changes slightly but still the lack of forward pressure is still essential for not having it used against you.
Thai clinch-pull w/hands& push w/elbows “>

Post: The BadBoy:

Once you have inside control you should be backin up to pull your opponents head down.>

Post: The BadBoy:

“You do not pummel for a thai clinch in MMA you pummel for a bodylock,right?.A thai clinch usually happens when you lost the pummel battle but kept your hips far away enough that he cannot interlock his hands and merely has double underhooks(not a full bodylock)


The thai clinch happens when you intercept an opponents double or single leg attempt and use it to make a wedge as it were between you and him in order to shove him off and strike.

The clinch cannot be offensive because you have to back up while doing it.
Because an offensive move is something you initiate.That is why we have the terms defense,offense and counter because they are different strategies and should have a specific mindset guiding their use.

I mean you can always argue that something which is proactive is offensive and something that is reactive is defensive.In this case I believe being proactive with the thai clinch(initiatory) to be an error in strategy.And by the way I say this because it is an error I am personally familiar with making in several of my fights. “>

Post: The BadBoy:

Hope these are making sense. Should I keep posting or are they just waffle that only make sense to me?>

Post: Ninja Kl0wn:

They’re waffle, but there are good points in them. Keep making waffles.>

Post: The BadBoy:

Lol, i thought they might be. If I see a good post somewehre I just copy it into a word document. They make sense to me because I’ve read the original thread. But I guess its the little points that they contain that matter. Ok here ae some more waffles for ya.

“The clinch is a different animal when takedowns are included and I agree with everyone that it needs to be adapted. (Just as much as greco-roman wrestling needs to be adapted for strikes).

One thing that I have been experimenting with is an alternative “plumb.” Lots of MMA fighters will try to go for the double underhooks from the clinch, and in order to break this, I do a modified crossface by reaching across their shoulder and sticking my ass out. At the same time I reach my other arm inside of their underhook. What I end up with is an underhook on one side, my elbow in his face (usually it twists his head), and my hands clasped on top of his shoulder.

The final position almost looks like a “plumb” but I am “plumbing” his shoulder, not his head. I like this position because it is less square than the standard plumb, and I feel that you are in a much better position to let loose with the hands if your opponent breaks the clinch or if you just let go of it.
Have any of you played with this position? “>

Post: The BadBoy:

“Constantly transitioning from the plumb to the single underhook to the double underhook… never try to “force” the position with strength, flow from one to the next. That being said, these tech’s have worked well for me lately… (my terminology sucks, so if my descriptions make no sense, sorry)

The tie up I find myself working from is the variation off the plumb – one hand behind the neck/head, the other hand controlling an arm with the “v” of the thumb and forefinger wedged in the bicep area. Weakness of this position is you don’t control the other arm. I tend to nullify strikes from that hand by constantly off balancing with the neck-tie hand and being offensive. (Variation – instead of the neck tie, if you can underhook that side you’ve got better control – the trade off (for me) is it’s harder to get to).

From this position (right hand behind the neck, left on the arm) my high percentage moves are:

1 – Right knee/left elbow. Repeat as needed :) I seem to land this all the time. Bread and butter for me.

2 – Snap down to front headlock (right hand) and underhook (left hand). From there, corkscrew takedown into side control.”>

Post: The BadBoy:

“someone goes for a single leg, try grabbing the hand behind the leg,(outside your leg) then go into a granby roll. this is hard, even harder without gloves; try to squat down an pin the hand with your leg, grab the hand, and then roll be careful, this really hurts once exicuted.”>

Post: The BadBoy:

“Most of the wrestlers I roll with favor inside position for the collar tie. You can still hit your duckunders from there, but it puts your arm between your opponent and you, so you can defend takedowns better. Inside control is also a bonus in MMA because your opponent has to punch around your arms, while you can deliver straight shots to his abdomen or head. “>

Post: The BadBoy:

“I disagree totally that moving forward with a double head tie will have wrestlers take u down. Once its locked, its impossible to get out of (well near), moving forward/back whatever look @ tito v ken, tito was moving forward with it and ken is good enuf to be able to take a simple double if he could. Wanderlei does it, gilbert etc….its fine to move forward, u just need it locked on tight
that being said u should use lateral movement in particualr, but people saying u can move forward aggressively in the thai clinch against wrestlers are wrong”>

Post: The BadBoy:

“”people saying u can(not?) move forward aggressively in the thai clinch against wrestlers are wrong ”

Actually no -we are right.

Allow me to explain why we are right before you instinctually take offense to me being so blatant in my opinion.

First lets KILL this idea that if so and so does something and it works for him then it is ok.

BS!People often succeed inspite of what they do and NOT because of what they do.
What Tito and Vanderlei do is fundamentally WRONG!

Though you are partially right when you say the following:

“i disagree totally that moving forward with a double head tie will have wrestlers take u down”
“look @ tito v ken, tito was moving forward with it and ken is good enuf to be able to take a simple double if he could”

You are right in that what you don’t have to worry about is the double leg when using the double collar tie.

What you do have to worry about is any type of lateral drop,rolling kickover,or sacrific throw that will use that forward momentum to send you up and over.

The only time someone has a chance to try a double leg or single leg against a thai clinch is before the thai clinch is on.They can land a double easy as hell if you at any time reach to obtain the thai clinch.

The position of double collar tie should happen naturally after throwing a punch combination while moving forward or during a pummel when you naturally assume a singe collar tie.

I repeat the double collar tie should never be obtained through reaching of any sort!

If you disagree with what I say still then I recommend you look at a wider variety of strategies rather than those limited to Muay Thai,BJJ,Freestyle Wrestling,etc.

And start looking at those strategies that would be employed by a Sambo,Judo, or Greco-Roman competitor. “

The next lot make a lot more sense.>

Post: The BadBoy:


I would like to put in my two cents about some “dirty-boxing,” since I am a wrestler at heart.

The most important thing about clinch fighting is head control. Usually this is done by grabbing the head. One common mistake people make is that they grab the neck of their opponents. Don’t grab the neck, cup your hand high over the back of your opponents head. This will naturally cause his head to drop and his ass to stick out. This not only neutralizes his ability to throw a solid punch, but it also takes explosiveness away from his shoot.

And just don’t reach up with your elbow out to grab the head. Keep your elbow in tight to your body (this will help give you a little bit of defense) and plant your forearm against his collarbone. This does two things: 1) it acts as a fulcrum against which you can exert pressure on the head, and 2) it puts your arm between him and a shot. Now fire away with upper-cuts and hooks (depending on his defense). Watch Couture vs. Vitor for examples on how to do this. Henderson is a good fighter to watch also.

Another way to control your opponents head is by using your own head. This means crouching, getting down low, underneath and inside of your opponent. Now place the top of your head under your opponents chin, bringing his head up and standing him upright. Slug away at the body, and when he tries to come down (because you are jacking him up), step back, let him come down and unload a shot to his head.

You can also place your head on the outside of his chin. Work inside, get an angle and place your head on the side of his chin. This will turn his head away from you. Again, fire shots to the body and when he tries to turn back
toward you let him turn right into a right cross.

The whole concept behind head control is to twist your opponent’s head into an uncomfortable, unnatural position. You also have to be dynamic with head control and “dirty boxing,” (I really don’t like this term too much, can we just say in-fighting?). Don’t just try to latch on to the top of the head and slug away. It is actually a lot more of an art than that. You will need to alternate hands and switch sides as your opponent moves against your head holding. If he tries to stand straight up because you are pulling him down, let him stand into a clean shot, and then work inside and underneath him. Ultimately the body follows where the head goes. Use your wrestling to put his head in weird positions, twist up his body, and fire away.

Remember, this is MMA, not boxing. Grab, hold, step on his toes, and do all those things that you are not supposed to in boxing. This will only make you a better MMAist.

More on In-fighting

“Heavy on the head”

On thing that you’ll hear Jens or the other Miletich fighters talking about is “heavy on the head.” This means putting a lot of weight on your opponents head in the clinch, getting his hips to move down and his ass out. “Heavy on the head” doesn’t mean pulling down with your arms; you’ll actually “sag” your hips downwards while locked up. This will help apply pressure.

“Popping, and pulling”

This is an in-fighting technique used by wrestlers. “But wrestlers don’t in-fight,” you say. They may not throw punches, but a good freestyle or greco-roman wrestler is physical and aggressive on the inside. They are constantly jacking, snapping, pulling, shucking, and popping their opponents to disrupt their balance and put them into awkward positions.

In-fighting is all about putting your opponent in these awkward positions in order to: 1)Establish control and 2)Neutralize his offense. Now lets go over some simple movements that will help disrupt your opponents balance, put him or her in awkward positions, and neutralize their offense. A key point to all of these movements is to keep your elbows tight to your body.


A good short “pop” can really put your opponent on their heels. It is not a punch. It is a short, explosive movement with your heel palm (you can also pop with the top of your elbow or your shoulder). The majority of the power in this movement comes from the snap in your wrist (or elbow or shoulder).
Pop your opponent on his or her shoulder or chest in order to turn them. Here is a sequence I like: slip inside, put your forehead on your opponents collarbone (the back of your head should be pressing into their jaw.) Position your arms inside of theirs. Pop ’em with your right hand (this will turn them square to you) and follow up with a left hook and right hand.


This movement is exactly the opposite of popping. Cup your hand and use the entire thing as a hook. Power is not generated by a long pull of the arms, but by an explosive snap of the wrist. Good places to latch onto are behind an opponent’s tricep or the top of their head. Use this technique in conjunction with a pop for a greater twisting effect. It is also good to snap someone in a direction that they want to go. If you are “heavy on the head,” an opponent will sometimes try to back straight out of it, or go under your hand. Snap them downwards in order to strech them out or extend them (ole!). If they don’t have to break their fall by catching themselves with their hands, they’ll react by standing straight up. Fire away at will.

You might ask “why would I want to snap or pop when I can just punch?” There are two reasons for this: The snapping and popping are meant to be used when you run out of space to punch. It will open up space for you to punch. Secondly, these movements will help you set the trap. It will put your opponent in optimum position to eat punches.

This principle of popping can not only be used for the hands, but also for elbow shucks or even a shoulder punch. Put your opponent on their heels, get them moving backwards, and pour on the pressure. These tactics will distract, frustrate, and harry your opponent. Too many MMAist have separate modes: “grappling mode” and “striking mode.” By using your grappling to set up strikes, you can confuse your opponent and keep them guessing.

I am interested in what other people have to say. I have had a lot of success as a in-fighter in a country that does not specialize in in-fighting, so don’t take my words as the absolute truth. Get in the ring, spar, and see what works for you.”>

Post: The BadBoy:

The Clinch (I am no expert in the area and most of my knowledge comes from tapes. I have put in a lot of practice and have become resonably competent in the clich but if any of you guys have any mistakes to correct plese do. it is appreciated.)

The clinch is basically made up of three areas. The Control Tie Up. Striking which can be either unattached or attached, and takedowns/throws.

Control Tie-Up

As with ground fighting, I feel this to be the most important part of the Clinch. Position before submission as they say and seeing how the spacing between you and your opponent is similar, I feel it is necessary to get your dominant position before you try to get your striking or your takedown in. On the other hand if you do not utilise, contorl positions, you will alwasy be open to strikes and takedowns yourself.

Unattached Hitting

Unattached hitting is basically hitting with no control position or body contact. Tool I basically like to use here are the Elbows, Forearms, Headbuts, knees, footstomps and short hooks and uppercauts. I believe you can work these best by using corner drills, Look at the MMA/Stand-up drills section for a description of the corner drill.

Elbows are very good to cut open an opponents head, forearms and elbows can cause pretty good knockouts as can uppercauts as they are hardly seen. You know, Umy has said it so many times, Its the punch you don’t see that knocks you out.

Knees are good, but I tend not to throw then at the midsection simply because they are too easy to grab. I like to go for the groin, thigh, head.

Also thumbs to the eye can be really good attached or unattached. I drill eye gouges by simply running my thums across the eyebrow of my training partner. I think this is about as close as you can get without actually hurting him.


My favourite drill to use when drilling the clinch is the pummell. Its hard to describe this drill, probably best if you ask someone who knows how to do it to describe it to you. Basically when you first do the drill you a good way to get starte is to just get the motion with theshoulders, swimming but not using you rams. Then when you get used to this add the arms and start swimming. Start using your boddy to apply pressure and use your legs to push your arms through. If you try using only your arms you will get pretty tired pretty quick.

Things to Remember

Basic things to remember when your working the clinch are:

1. Keep yoru head up. If you lean forward and put your head down you will be suseptible to a snap down from your opponent. If your head is up, you will be able to regain posture and stop snap downs and guillotines etc.


2. Keep your elbows in. as with BJJ, Boxing, Wing Chun etc, if you let your elbows point out you will leave yourself open and also weaken your structure, so keep those elbows in.

Here we go

There have been a number of Control tie-ups described here already, Mainly the double neck tie (Plum), I also like the single under hook. Their is the double underhooks, overhooks etc. I want to write a little about single underhooks, as I already have notes on it, so I don’t need to do much thinking. But if you guys ask i’ll write more on the other control positions aswell. What I want to do is talk about the Control tie up position which you should be able to attain if you work your pummelling and clinch drills as described in the MMA clinch and stand up drills thread in the MMA Training section of the forums. Then from there I’d like to add a bit about thing sIliek to do as Far attached/unattached striking goes and some takedowns from that position.

If you guys know anymore then please add it to this thread. I would like this thread to be the most comprehensive thread on the clinch on the internet, so If we have any experienced, Thai Boxers/ Wrestlers/ MMA/ kino Mutai (sp?) guys or anybody who works in that area please post here.

Single Underhook

Its very hard to describe these things in writing but I will do my best. I suggest you ask someone to show you if your not quite sure if you get it or not. Or if someone can come up with a better descripton than me then please, be my guest.

To attain the Single Underhook, you basically want to swim your arm up (palm facing up) under your opponents arm pit and wrap it down on top of his deltoid (Palm now facing down ontop of his shoulder).

If you then pinch him arm in yours by bring up your elbow, or I find you can pinch your elbow to your side if it helps and try and touch your hooking hand to your shoulder (same arm). This will make your underhook nice and tightso as to not having it broken if your opponent tries to get the overhook on you.

Ok now you will notice that your opponent still has his other arm free to hit you. So you can either take hold of the wrist on his free arm with your free hand, or simply check his bicep with your free hand. Now you should notice that he is unable to hit you especially if you mow move him around and keep him of balance. Which shouldn’t be too difficult to do.

That is basically the single underhook as I do it. Different people have different ways and you will onlyfind your way of doing it by getting in their with an uncooperative opponent and trying it out.

Attached Striking

From the single underhook, you have a lot of tools to your discreton where as your opponent basically only has his free hand that you are checking.

I like to get my free arm behing the head/neck of my opponent and cup my hand behind it (same side as underhook). Kinda like a neck tie with one arm as wqell as the underhook only on the same side as the arm I have trapped. From here I can pull his head down and knee him, Punch him in the face head but him etc tec, where as he can’t even reachme with his free arm.

Takedowns/Throws from single underhook

Now the best way to stay on your feet in the clinch in my opinion is to have an understanding of the throws which can be applied from their. If you don’t know whats coming and how it works your gonna have a hell of a time trying to stop it. So i will describe some basic throws from the clinch. Again its hard to put into writing, so if you have any questions please ask.

1. The first one is basically the snap down, Wrestlers do this all the time. If your opponent, leans his head forward then simply snap it down, he will either go to his knees or more likely put his head down, so guillotinge or knee. The counter to the guillotine is pretty simple. Throw your arm over the opposite side of the opponent. the opposite side being his side with the arm that is not performing the guillotine. Now hug tight and he wont be able to choke you. But if someone counters your guillotine that way then on the side on which he has thrown his arm over your shoulder. Wrap your arm under his shoulder around his back and grab on to his lat. Step back with the side thats got the guillotine and turn and throw your opponent. Keep hold of his head and follow him to the floor, Now from here you can knee, choke, neck crack, transit to arm bar etc etc.

2. You snap down on his head but instead he pulls up and regains posture. What you want to do hear is tighten that underhook and get the neck tie on the other side of his head, now latch your hands behind his head in a pincher headlock, use your head to control his. Now again take a step back with the side thats not got the under hoook, Turn and thrwo. Again landing in side control do as you please.

3. You have the underhook and are checking the other arm with your free hand. Now slide that arm down to his knee on theside of your free arm, basically just push against the side/back of his knee and walk forward.

4. You have the underhook, controling his opposite arm, change level and use your head/shoulder to cntrol his opposite arm, keep in mind not to lean but to change level. Now relese the underhooks and drive throw with a double leg takedown.

Thats basically it for now. if you would like me to do teh same thing with other conrol positions or would like a clarification or would like to post anything at all. Please do so.


Post: The BadBoy:

Posted by Rodney King on The SBG Public forum. It shows two basic escapes to the double neck tie. Pretty eay to get the jist of whats going on, even without the commentary and textual descriptions.

Above is a video teazer of one of the current threads on the Interactive Gym (Basic Tie-up escapes). This is just a partial video only, minus the full description of what is exactly going on and how to accomplish the techniques coached.

The Interactive Gym allows members to ask any question relating to their stand-up game, Rodney personally answers with a video answer, plus an explanation. The process is then carried on until the Athlete feels he has it.

To sign-up for the interactive gym go to:

You won’t be dissapointed!



Post: The BadBoy:

The Low Clinch of Muay Thai

by Brooks ” Khun Kao Charuad” Miller

It has been said that within the sport of Muay Thai, the techniques of the clinch are practically an art unto themselves. Most are familiar with the Muay Thai neck clinch, but this only represents one single facet of the grappling techniques of the sport. Grappling in the sport of Muay Thai includes a wide variety positions, holds, and escape techniques (even some takedowns and throws).

In the sport of Muay Thai, the main objective of the clinch is to control your opponent’s movement so as to deliver devastating knee strikes. Most commonly, boxers attempt to do so by grabbing their opponents head and neck in a pincher-like grip between their forearms. This position, which will be referred to as the ?Head/Neck Control Position?, is arguably the most dominant position in Muay Thai and is used to bend an opponent over so as to deliver the most effective knee strikes to the head and torso.

Achieving the Head/Neck Control Position, however, is not always an option or possible. Just as Boxers train to gain this position, they likewise train in techniques to prevent being caught in the position themselves. It is during the fight for control of ones opponent that the ?Low Clinch?, or Body Control Position, comes into play.

There are many situations where fighting for, or continuing to fight for, the Head/Neck Control Position becomes futile. Perhaps ones opponent is taller, stronger, or faster, thus enabling them to achieve this position with more ease. Rather than continuing a fruitless battle for the ?higher ground?, a fighter may instead ?lower his sights? and instead fight for the Body Control Position.

In the Body Control Position, the fighter reaches around his opponent’s ribcage in a literal ?bear hug?. He pulls his opponents torso in close to his own body, while pressing forward with his head and shoulders into his opponent’s upper chest. The pushing and pulling action of this hold serves to unbalance and cause discomfort to ones opponent, thus rendering any attempted attack ineffectual.

When a fighter finds himself fighting a losing battle for the higher ground in the clinch (Head/Neck Control Position), it may be for any one of several reasons. For instance, a taller opponent has a decided advantage in the clinch. A taller fighter is able to easily rest his weight upon his opponent, making the fight for Head/Neck Control exceedingly more difficult for the shorter fighter.

There are other scenarios in which a fighter may find himself at a disadvantage when battling for the dominant clinch. As previously mentioned, perhaps a fighter is stronger or faster, enabling him to gain the dominant clinch position over his opponent. In situations such as this, the Body Control Position is a valid tactic to employ in effort to nullify the Head/Neck Control.

When a fighter realizes that the battle for the dominant position is not going in his favor, he should be prepared to escape or counter with a new tactic. That tactic is often the Body Control Position. When a fighter attempts this, he bends his knees to dip his body, which serves to momentarily ease the pressure placed upon his head and neck by his opponents clinch. He then steps into his opponent to press his shoulders into his opponent’s ribs and grasps around the middle of his opponents back in a bear hug.

It is important to note that in the sport of Muay Thai, grasping your opponent around the lower back in this manner is a foul tactic. The frequency of lower back injury due to the tactic of clinching around the body low was what led to this rule being enacted in the sport of Muay Thai.

It is also important to note that a fighter should react to the dominant clinch position BEFORE it has been fully applied. A fighter who allows the head/neck control position to be applied may find himself without the time or ability to counter the hold.

As previously mentioned, when the Body Control Position is applied, a fighter must press forward into his opponent’s chest with his head and shoulders, while simultaneously pulling in with his arms to make the position as uncomfortable, and unbalancing, for his opponent as is possible.

Once this hold has been properly applied, it becomes quite simple for the fighter to attack his opponent’s lower body and legs with knee attacks. Often the most effective attack from this position is short, straight knee strikes to an opponent’s legs and hips.

The Body Control Position is, however, vulnerable to counterattacks from your opponent. It is therefore necessary that one know how to properly transition from this hold to either another safer clinch position, or how to properly break the clinch.

As an example, once Body Control has been established, a fighter may transition to resuming the battle for head/neck control by standing up as straight as possible and arching his back in effort to create the space to work ones arms back to the inside battle for dominance.

Another example is a technique used from the Body Control Position to break the clinch. A fighter straightens his knees and bumps his hip into his opponent’s body. He arches his back and literally tosses his opponent off and to the side in a legal throw whose technique begins quite similarly to a wrestling suplex. The key difference, of course, is that this technique is only used to create separation from ones opponent, rather than take him down to the mat.

The ?Low Clinch?, or ?Body Control Position? is an important facet of clinchwork in the sport of Muay Thai. A serious student or fighter of the sport must familiarize themselves with not only the techniques of the low clinch, but the strategy and timing of their use.

About Brooks “Khun Kao” Miller>


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