Saturday, July 01, 2006

Defend the Thai Clinch

I have often expressed my love for the knee (here, here, here, here, here, and several others), and it hasn't waned at all. I enjoy locking someone up in a Thai clinch and delivering multiple, full-power knees more than few other things. So, I have been asked how you defend the knee, but more important, how do you avoid getting kneed in the first place. To do that, you need to know how to escape or defend the Thai clinch.

Inside/Dominant Position
The first thing you need to know is that the inside position is the dominant one. That means that you have the ability to pull your opponent down into the knee, and you can move him around by moving your feet and pulling him in the same direction your body moves. Bottom line: whoever has the inside has the advantage.

Keep your head up!
The first defense is keeping your head up. If you are pulled down into the first knee, trust me, there'll be more! If you are bent over, knees will drive your nose into the center of your skull, then a downward elbow to the spine will paralyze what's left of you. Sorry to be so graphic, but I want to impress upon you that you don't want to be there. Keep your head up and resist being pulled down, while at the same time, position your knees and hips to deflect any outside knees to your thighs, and avoid any straight knees to your groin.

Forearm your way out of trouble!
Joe Lewis taught me this one in a seminar: Just drive your forearm into the face of the man who's got you clinched and he will let go-he has to! Try this. It works. The only problem with it, if one must be named, is that afterward you are back to square one, and no one has the advantage. I like to gain, or regain the dominant position or initiative by reversing an attack, not just neutralizing it. That's why you should...

Reverse dominant position and gain the advantage!
Drive one arm at a time between the arms of your foolish attacker, then latch onto the back of the neck. If you want to try to gouge his eye on the way, go for it. Pull the opponent in toward you, and make sure your elbows are in so that you can use them to block his attempt to regain this dominant position. Then do the same with the other hand. You may need to back up, or buck your hips to make room. Clasp both hands behind the head of the opponent, pull him down, then drive your knees into his head. Use the inside Thai clinch to move him around and keep kneeing as long as you can, or until he goes down, then stomp until it's safe for you to go somewhere you can call rescue!

Use the lever move to get out!
Last, you can escape the clinch and get an angle on your opponent for striking by using the lever move. Step to your left quickly, put your hand, palm-up, under the enemy's left elbow with your right hand, and push up quickly, then step in that direction (to your right). Or you can do it the opposite way: step right quickly, the lever move with your left hand and escape to your left. The important thing is to do the initial move quickly to create the gap for your hand. Watch Mike (white bandana) do this on Sam.

Realize that defending the knee strikes themselves are a different subject. Try these techniques. They work!

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Arwing11 said...

thanks for this

Defend University said...

Thanks Nathan for the great article. Do you have a related entry on defending against knees?

Ronin said...

Good post Nathan! We learned Thai Boxing from Chai Sirasute and learned the same escapes. We called it "swimming." I like your breakdown on the reversal of positions. We actually combined the lever to gain entrance for the upward driving arm. We also came "over top and underneath" the opposite arm to lever and make the hole for change of position. Well written dude!

Anonymous said...

Awesome teaching; why didn't Rich Franklin do any of this to Anderson Silva to at least make some attempt to retain his UFC Middleweight belt? Many thanks.

Dean Coulson said...

Good article. The main point here is to keep your head up or you can be in serious trouble as you mentioned.

An alternative would be to bring an arm over both of your attackers arms and grip them together then bring your other arm over and push his face up and away.

This totally disorients your attacker. I would immediately then bring your dominant arm under and between his arms and deliver the elbow upwards to the face and down on his clavicle and gain head control with that hand.

At this point you can bang him around using your shoulder as you bring your other arm under and upwards in the same move before springing your arms up to release his arms from behind his neck.

Of course this has to be fluid at then you have control where you can do what you want or escape.

Anonymous said...

They are actually doing it wrong. This is how you do it:

SenseiMattKlein said...

Some great moves here Nathan. Just bought Anderson Silva's MMA Muay Thai Clinch DVD. It is fantastic!

Nathan Teodoro said...

Wow! Somehow I missed responding to any comments on this post. I will make amends via a couple of additional posts on the subject to answer.

Thanks for the comments, and apologies for the very late response.