Training in Thailand: It’s not cuddling!!

Clinching is something I have seen in muay thai fights and has always seem to me as a form of neck wrestling with brutal knees and elbows thrown in for good measure.

My only experience of it was in MMA but MMA clinching is geared more towards getting the takedown than destroying your opponent with knees and elbows.

My first clinching session was a bit shock. I remember seeing a video which talked about getting control of your opponent’s neck with both hands and throw some knees.With this and the limited MMA clinch experience I had, I jumped in the ring without a care in the world.

When the bell sounded, I charged towards my opponent, reached for his neck and tried to land a knee. I was flat on my ass before I knew. I got up only to be thrown back down almost immediately.
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!

I continued with what seemed like the longest 30 minutes of my life. I lost count of how many times I had to get up from the floor or how many knees I took to the side of my body. I had some serious neck pain the day after and very ribs.


An Art in it self
That was 2 weeks ago. Since then we have been clinching about 4 times a week and it has been amazing! I have been lucky in that the trainers pair me with experienced practitioners each time so although I get destroyed, I learn one technique from that person and then use it on the next person I clinch with.
Kru Dhepit and Kru Arlee have been super helpful. Kru Dhepit has been teaching me some trips while Arlee has been helping me with how to control my opponent’s head, knees and has taught me a nice body lock throw.

Muay thai clinching is a martial art in it self.  I have broken it down into 4 elements that I need to master:
1. Neck control
Inside where both are around the opponent’s neck giving you full control over their head.
Outside where one hand is around the neck and other is controlling the bicep.


2. Striking
Destructive knees and devastating elbow strikes can be landed in the clinch.


3. Trips, sweeps and throws
There are a plethora of leg trips and throws from the clinch.


4. Balance and footwork
Loose, bouncy, rhythmic,  on the balls of your feet.

I am so happy today because even though I got destroyed, I wasn’t dominated as easily as before. I even managed to hit the trip Kru Dhepit had taught me a few times
After clinching, Kru Arlee who had been overseeing the session told me how much improvement I have made in my clinching and how much better my knees look.

I am loving clinching!

Eat, Learn, Fight


30 thoughts on “Training in Thailand: It’s not cuddling!!

  1. I feel your pain! Some guys (like my son) put all their weight on your neck to try and make you bend at the waist so they can guillotine, etc. The next day my neck feels like the picture you posted!

      1. of course, i have seen it on ratchadamneon but i was not sure if the throwing was intentional. do you get extra points if you throw your opponent?

      2. Not as far as I’m aware. I think it’s worth the same as a sweep but I will ask tomorrow to confirm. I just came back from some fights at suwit stadium. Got a chance to go back stage and help my trainer prep a guy for his fight. Got to do a pre fight massage

      3. i will get back to shape so i can train there. i have been out for a month. what kind of budget should i look at for training and living there say for a month? i will convert you and make you a seafood believer.

  2. Thank you for this informative post! I’ve never tried thaiboxing. In krav maga we often are taught to hold both arms at the same side of neck when clinching to help prevent that your opponent head butts you or bites you in the face 🙂 we are taught to fight dirty 😀

      1. I do… I would like to visit someday as I am discovering the differences between the Muay Thai there in Thailand and Muay Thai here and do some comparisons with how both Muay Thai practices differ with Yaw-Yan

      2. It is… that is the reason Hybrid Yaw-Yan is dominating local MMA scenes here in the Philippines. Some of them do not usually fight under bigger promotions like URCC but mostly, underground

  3. I had Yaw-Yan training like 12 sessions under Hybrid Yaw-Yan and it was fun. However, I decided to join a team that will give me an opportunity to fight.

      1. Yes it is a beautiful art. However, all forms of martial arts are beautiful. BJJ and Judo as well are fantastic, Wusho as well looks fabulous.

  4. muay thai clinch throws ?

    can you pummel and hand fight like a greco roman wrestler ?

    g-r is much like thai clinch entries… you must accept and beleave this .

    there are about five different allowed and used methods of throws from clinch .

    1)first group is over hook– plaaam. single or double collar ties.

    2)next is belly 2 belly .upper- mid- lower=back crack position

    3)mixed grip . i have called half love vs body lock full love .

    4) ***half over collar and other hand on bicept – c-grip-some will call this meat hook-swand grip . cobra grip.!!!
    this is the most desirable grip because you can stear or move into elbow and more.

    you must learn to pummel and hand fight -TRANSITION OUT OF THESE GRIPS.
    slow and light weight pressure -grippings..

    if you cant find a partner to practice with lift weights . bumbells and kettle weights- non-stop for five minute sets..
    them middel eastern wrestlers use indian clubs and spin them all about the body -over head and around for

    strength conditioning.

    GRECO clinch aids every thing about muay thai clinch..

    lets talk about CLINCH throws .

    1 ) there is a knee bump lead in to pull type throw- this is like the one bukow does.
    this is for a fast nimble fighter only. learn about push pull hand action for throws.

    2) there is a leveraged throw -fulcrum , where you place your knee aside of the opponets thigh just above the knee

    cap and pull them. YOU MAY NEED TO FORCE AND FALL DOWN ON TOP OF THEM-if fulcrum action is

    ineffective or failed..

    3) twist throw -mostly from body lock .
    4) pull down -sit down throw. MOVING FORWARD OR BACKWARD HELPS. backwards is much like a lateral

    drop but has a knee entry ..

    5) from double collar tie-plumm twist an arm and stear the apponent step direction to twist quickly and jerk

    there head down.
    the majority of the time a knee is a predesessor -lead in and PLANTED in the proper place for the next action to

    therefore you must have and use a good round knee and PLACE it next to the opponents thigh and explode into

    you next move.



    becoming intimate and dexterous with the clinch techniques presented will make a very competent muay thai clinch fighter.

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