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In The Arena Blog

MMA Coaches Breakdown Several Options in the Clinch

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In this video, MMA Coaches Charles Martinez and Vince Salvador breakdown the clinch from both an MMA and a Mauy Thai perspective. They cover ways to both defend and set up attacks while in the clinch.


Coach Vince Salvador:
How’s it going? I’m coach Vince Salvador from the Arena.


Coach Charles Martinez:
And I’m coach Charles Martinez. And we’re here to discuss some options for the clinch, different than what you may have seen before. So we’ll start here.


Coach Vince Salvador:
So a lot of times in the clinch, the basic rule for the clinch is to have my hips close to his hips. People say cup to cup or belt to belt. If I’m out here in a clinch, I’m going to get kneed all day. It’s easy to stop my head down if this is MMA. If I see my feet in the clinch, I’m probably going to see a knee in my face as well. So, I need to bring my hips in and I need to trap the inside of his biceps. And when I do that, it prevents him from being able to grab me. It prevents him from hitting me, punching me, throwing elbows, also if he tries to throw a knee, I have a steering wheel.


So, the steering wheels is what I’m going to use to open up the space for me to land my shots. So if I’m controlling the bicep here and I want to make some space, I’m going to use my inner thigh and my steering wheel to open up one side. So if you come around to this side, you can see on this side. So we’re hip to hip. I have no space I cannot knee from here, so I need to make some space. What I’m going to do is I’m going to get his weight to this side, so his, this leg is light and the way I do that is with the steering wheel. I can use this grip, this grip, either or, it’s really a preference thing. I like this grip and this is going to make it easy for me to bring his head down.


So for me to do that, I distract him with a knee and then I… his weight goes here. I pull where my inner thigh is going to meet the inner thigh of his inner thigh, to open up his body. I’ve already opened up that side with my elbow lifting. Now my left knee just comes up and bring it back down. When I land that… don’t want to leave it there too long because he might grab it, if it’s a minute, one of my back. So it’s quick and down. If he does grab it, I can still kick my leg down, throw an elbow to attack on that same side. But as long as I have the bicep, I’ll be strong here.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, so oftentimes we are taught this. Everyone’s taught to clinch the head right away. That means that you’ve gotten past all these other phases of pummeling and clinch. I saw a lot of times here, this happens in the pummel, right? He goes to swing his hands inside, if I reach for the head and I’m strong, he has a hard time breaking this off. But if he swings his hand to the inside, he can use the bicep to start to clear that grip, right? If he swings his hand to the inside to the collar tie, right? When I clear the bicep, I also use leverage in my body and I try and establish that inside control. And if you want to think about it from an MMA perspective versus a Muay Thai perspective, when I’m controlling the biceps, he reaches in, tries to grab it under hook. I’m already in contact, right? So, if he tries to try and run his body that way, I’m able to start whizzering hard on that side and I’m already in contact versus being up here where it makes it easier for him to kind of bump and establish this good heart under hook that he’s really looking for. So close, head in, right? And then I’m able to start advancing to a better clinch from here to deliver the unbalances, knees, elbows, and I’m able to be attached to him to prevent these take downs.


Coach Vince Salvador:
That’s your tip of the week.


Coach Charles Martinez:
That was good detail too.

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