Untangle the toughest opponent’s clinch with these techniques. . .
GET CLEAR OF THE CLINCH!
Clinchers are arguably the most exhausting opponent to go up against. They give you no breaks, no rest time – just relentless, suffocating pressure and punishment.
Some of the best fighters have lost to clinchers simply from being worn down and/or unable to get the longer range back. Clinchers tie you up, beat you down, and, often times, put you down.
There are methods to prevent a clincher from doing what he or she is most comfortable doing. Stop clinchers dead in their tracks with the following preventative and protective measures.
CLOBBER CLINCHERS WITH… TEEPS!
Ahh, the teep – the good ol’, reliable, “trumps every attack” teep. Being that clinching is the closest you can get to a person in a fight, you want to keep them away… far, far away. The most trusted weapon in Muay Thai will do just that – keep them at distance and unable to tie up.
Teeps will also wear them down and make them frustrated. If they can’t enter the short range, they can’t clinch. If they can’t clinch, they’re not exactly living up to their name.
CLOBBER CLINCHERS WITH… ELBOWS!
Many clinch fighters have a tendency to barge right in and look to do nothing but clinch.
Because they’re coming straight towards you, it’s the perfect opportunity to throw some elbows. Elbows are also a short-range weapon and are best thrown when they’re coming at you.
Think of two cars colliding – this is how you want your elbows to land against a clinch fighter. A few elbows can and will puff up their face, making it hard to see. Elbows are also notorious for cutting up faces and dropping people if well placed and well timed.
CLOBBER CLINCHERS BY… STAYING OFF THE ROPES!
If you back up in a straight line, you will eventually hit the ropes or a corner. This is where you DO NOT want to be, as you have nowhere else to go. Use footwork, circling, and angle techniques to force your opponent to chase you down.
Now if they’ve got you in the clinch already, there’s no need to fret. In the clinch, the main goal is to discourage and demoralize them from wanting to clinch further. Discourage the clincher from tying up by:
SWEEPING & DUMPING: When you see or feel their knee come up, time a sweep or “dump.” You can also catch their kneeing leg and send their ass to the canvas. Falling and getting up takes a lot out of someone; if you do it enough times, they will lose confidence in the clinch.
PUSHING WITH YOUR ARMS: When they’ve got you in the clinch, wait for them to “settle.” This is when they’re no longer looking for a comfortable spot in the clinch, meaning they’re relatively relaxed. This settled moment doesn’t last for long before they start throwing knees. As soon as they settle, push their chest or shoulders with your arms. This will off-balance them.
USING LONG GUARD WITH YOUR LEGS: Throw a few knees in the clinch, then use a long guard with your legs to prevent them from being able to throw more knees. This can be done by placing your shin over their hips. Push with your shins so their hips go back. The further they are from you, the less of the chance they’ll be able to get out of it and clinch.
CLINCHING (???): Sometimes the only way to beat a clincher is to fight fire with fire. Similar to how they’re wearing you down, you can do the same. Even if you’re not very confident in your clinching skills, fight back – you never know what can happen in the clinch!
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.