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.
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