Muay Thai clinch techniques: 4 tips on how to fight in the clinch

Muay Thai clinch techniques are an essential part of Thai Kickboxing. Fighting in the clinch gives a fighter a perfect opportunity to use devastating knee and elbow strikes.

One of the simple ways of getting into a clinch is throwing a basic punch combo. Start with jab+cross and follow it up with a short hook. Close the distance to your opponent and then get into a clinch position.

Clinch techniques in Muay Thai

4 Muay Thai clinch fighting tips to remember:

  • When you're practicing clinch fighting with your bare hands, don't intertwine your fingers behind your opponent's neck. Just place the palm of your hand on the back of the other hand. Then lock your hands behind his neck to be able to press his head down.

    The main reason to do so is practical: you wouldn't be able to do it with boxing gloves on during a fight. Another benefit of this hold is that it allows you to deliver a quick elbow to your opponent's face without changing your palms position.

    This wouldn't be possible if your fingers were interlinked.
  • Put as much pressure on your opponent's neck and shoulders as possible. He will struggle and waste a lot of energy to release himself. This will wear your opponent down over the course of the fight.
  • Always try to maintain a dominant position. Lock your elbows tight around your opponent's neck to prevent him from getting inside your clinch and taking it over. In the top position, you can control his posture and deliver a devastating elbow blow.

    If you don't have a good position, throw a knee or two to his midsection. This may force him to lower his guard and then you can try to get a dominant position. If you still can't get in there, release the clinch and try again later.
  • When you want to escape the clinch, use your hands to push your opponent's chin up. A quick elbow slash on the escape from the clinch is a good defensive tactic that you should try.

    If you are an MMA fan, you have most likely seen Joanna Jedrzejczyk utilizing this elbow technique in the octagon.

Types of Muay Thai clinch techniques:

  • Arm clinch: when one or both of your hands control your opponent's arm. This type of clinch is useful to hold him before you deliver a knee strike to his midsection. From this position, you can also easily throw him on the ground.
  • Side clinch: when both of your hands are holding a side of your opponent's neck. One hand passes around the front of his body and another one around his back. This allows you to hit his abs with your knees.

    It is a very good position if you want to target your opponent's front midsection and lower back section.
  • Low clinch: when both of your hands are holding your sparring partner under his arms. This type of clinch position allows you to lift your opponent up and throw him on the ground at will.

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