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Clinchology 101

Until today I consider myself as someone who knew how to handle the clinch.  That was until Ian dropped some knowledge on me.  True muay thai fights with elbow strikes, which changes the dynamics of the clinch significantly.  Your desire to drive forward and wrassle in the clinch is diminished by the prospect of cuts and knock outs due to crisply thrown elbows.

Loose clinch (heads are far apart)
  • Pivot step 90°, keep pushing away, deliver a knee to the body or head as appropriate to the rules you are fighting under.
  • Swim inside (bring first one hand, then the other inferiorly and medially to their clinch) and establish your own clinch.
  • Swim one hand inside, use the other to drop inferiorly pulling on their arm while pulling them into the upward elbow.
Hip space clinch
Overhook and grab their head on one side, place the ipsilateral shin across their waist like a roller coaster seatbelt.  Drive your shin down and away from you by extending the hip while simultaneously turning your chest away from your opponent

Tight clinch (heads are tight)

Overhook one side and on the contralateral side place your palm in their axilla or hip. Step the foot opposite the overhook in close to your opponent, dip the knee.  Immediately thrust with this hip as your pull with your overhook and push with your contralateral hand.  Rotate as if to throw your opponent behind you while simultaneously sweeping with the leg opposite the side you bumped their hip.
If their arms are parallel, their elbows will close off the space to allow you to swim inside and re-clinch. Overhook one side and turn 90° away from this arm, lifting your chest higher.  This should extend and break their clinch, but you may need to do the same going back the other way to free yourself. If they stop your turn with flared elbows, swim inside.

One hand push variations
Each of these uses the push to your opponents face to set-up clinch counters.  The hand goes superior and lateral to their arm on the same side. Straighten your arm to create space.

Long range sweep

Hook their opposite cubital fossa with your glove, pull down as you push, spinning them, sweep with the same leg if needed.

Pivot step

Using the push pivot 90° away on the same side as you are pushing, control the far hand with your free had, throw the knee to the gut
With near elbow: If you feel them pushing against your hand, collapse it medially to throw a horizontal elbow to the head
With far elbow: Collapse your outstretched arm on your opponents arm to tug them close, throw the horizontal elbow with your opposite arm.

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