Like other forms of martial arts, Muay Thai involves different fighting techniques. Muay Thai is a fighting art of contrition where blows are exchanged by opposing parties. Almost all techniques used in Muay Thai involved the entire body movement, where the hip rotates with every kick, punch, elbow and block.
One of such techniques which Muay Thai fighters try to master is clinching. This technique is also used in Judo, amateur wrestling, mixed martial arts (MMA) and Sambo.
In Muay Thai, clinching is described as grappling of the hands around the neck of the opponent during an offensive or defensive combat. This particular technique is used as an effective method to subdue the opponent or control the aggressiveness of the other fighter.
The clinch technique is different from other martial art forms such as Judo as it permits utilizing the knee techniques, punching, kicking and delivering elbows. Being able to use these various attacking methods provide the boxer with the advantage of striking using the Muay Thai clinch.
How Muay Thai Clinch is Done
As opposed to western boxing, Muay Thai fighters are not separated when they clinch. Aside from using the knee and elbow techniques when they clinch, a little bit of stand-up grappling is also used.
The Muay Thai fighter holds the opponent through the head, body, or neck. The fighter then presses his forearm on the collar bone of the opponent. The typical clinching technique in Muay Thai involves the tapping of the head downward before releasing a throw. He can cause the opponent to lose balance by throwing him to his left.
There are three reasons why clinching techniques require the fingers not to be intertwined.
With the fighters wearing gloves when fighting in the ring, intertwining the fingers is no longer possible.
The front clinch involves pressing the head of the opponent downwards. This becomes easier if the hands are locked behind the back of the head instead of behind the neck. The arms should be putting as much pressure on the neck as possible.
A fighter may incur an injury to one or more fingers if they are intertwined and it becomes more difficult to release the grip in order to quickly elbow the opponent’s head.
A correct clinch involves the fighter’s forearms pressing against the opponent’s collar bone while the hands are around the opponent’s head backwards or elbow them as the clinch requires both participants to be very close to one another.
Muay Thai has several other variants of the clinch technique which include:
Arm Clinch. This technique requires one or both hands to control the inside of the defender’s arms and where the second hand, if free, is in the front clinch position. The fighter will be able to control the opponent so he can apply a knee strike or throw.
Side Clinch. This technique requires one arm passing around the front of the defender with the attacker’s shoulder pressed into the defender’s arm pit and the other arm passing round the back which allows the attacker to apply knee strikes to the defender’s back or to throw the defender readily.
Low Clinch. This technique requires both controlling arms to pass under the defender’s arms, which is generally used by the shorter of two opponents.
- Swan Neck. This technique requires one hand around the rear of the neck used to briefly clinch an opponent before applying a strike.