Alrighty... I know it has been a while in this thread, and I really wanted to update this with more technical instruction after the destruction of Rich Franklin at the hands of Anderson Silva’s clinch, but I got distracted by other things (namely other threads). As noted by the bout above, the MT clinch is a bad position to be in when you are on the receiving end. So, let’s say that you are in the ring with a guy who has a real strong MT clinch, now what?
Principles of Breaking the Clinch: Reaching a Neutral Position
Okay… On this end we want to create a relative “safe zone” to allow you some time to re-gain your bearings. Two good ways to achieve this: The “Head Rest,” and Work for an Over-Under Clinch. On this end, you want to work for the latter first as that position will offer you more offensive options. So, let’s take a quick look at that first.
Working the Over-Under Clinch –
1) From the inside of your opponent’s clinch, pummel your arm (let’s say your left) up between your opponent’s arm, while your right arm is down to act as a barrier between you and your opponent’s knee. In fact you can check their hips with your right hand, and then their leg when you feel a knee coming.
2) Once your left arm swims clear of their right bicep, loop it over their arm and secure and overhook on that side. Doing so should break the grip on your neck if you do this with force and purpose.
3) Once you have the overhook secure, move your left hip in close to your opponent’s hips. This should help guard your left side while you defend knees coming in to your right by checking the leg with your free hand.
4) While moving your hips close, bring your head up from the center of their chest and rest it on the side of their head your overhook arm is on. This will allow you to “hide” in the cover of your opponent’s head. Yes you may get punched while you’re in the process of doing so
, but with your body position being so close to your opponent their punches will be muffled and have less impact than normal.
5) Once your head is clear, step your right leg back, square up to the opponent and underhook their left arm with your right.
6) Once you have your Over-Under clinch secured, make sure that you keep your leg on the side of your overhook arm forward, root down on your opponent by lowering your base and keeping your weight on their overhooked arm
You do not want to lean on your opponent that will allow them to knee without pause. If you root down by lowering your base, you make them carry your weight on their overhooked arm
. This is all accomplished by moving your hips back and bending your knees to lower your base. When you have the Over-Under rooted, when your opponent begins to shift their base to throw a knee, you will feel it. When you do, all you have to do is tug, push, or pull on their overhooked arm through upper body movement and footwork and their base will be thrown off which will take the danger of the knee away. At that point, you can use an Overhook snap, Underhook snap or “Bump” to disengage back to a striking scenario, or you can work for a variety of Greco-Roman Takedowns.
I will address the Head Rest in my next post.
Crap... I forgot my sources:
Muay Thai: The Art of Fighting by Yod Ruerngsa, Khun Kao Charuad and James Cartmell. Links to this text can be found here
and The Clinch
by, Mark Hatmaker.
Bas Rutten's Big Book of Combat
by, Bas Rutten