The clinch is a technical aspect of Muay Thai that requires you to hold your opponent in order to launch your attacks, or most commonly, knee strikes. It is the best way to close the distance between you and your opponent as well as neutralize their attacks.
If you’ve ever been caught in a Muay Thai clinch, you’d know how difficult it is to get out of it, especially if you’re up against a strong opponent. The stronger their hold is, the more difficult it will be to set up your offense and even defense. Thus, learning how to effectively escape the Muay Thai clinch is one of the most essential tools a Muay Thai fighter could ever have in his arsenal.Today, Evolve Daily shares 6 Ways To Escape The Muay Thai Clinch:
1) Push the arm
As your opponent holds you in the clinch and throws some knees, lift his right arm and circle to the side. Control his arm with both hands and quickly launch a knee to his face. As you can see, stepping to the side gives you the perfect angle to throw a knee to the face. Because you are controlling his arm, it is difficult for him to regain position and attack.
2) Hand to the face
Another way to escape the clinch is to use your palms to push your opponent’s face away while moving your shoulder in at the same time. Doing so would not only break the clinch, but also force him to create distance due to the impact of your palm on his face. If you do this with enough force, your opponent will be tempted to swat your hand away, giving you the opportunity to attack.
As your opponent holds you down in a clinch, sweep up your right arm over his, creating an overhook. As you grab the overhook, use this momentum to off balance your opponent and deliver a knee to his face. Remember, you must always quickly launch your attack after you’ve escaped. You should take every opportunity to attack, especially if you’re up against an aggressive opponent.
What to do before your opponent catches you in a clinch:
In the video above, observe how multiple-time Muay Thai World Champions Petchboonchu FA Group and Sagetdao Petpayathai use and evade the clinch during a technical sparring session. Both fighters are constantly pummelling and using footwork to keep the sparring going.
1) Keep on moving
Before your opponent catches you in a clinch, one way to avoid is to keep on pummeling. If you’re faced against a much stronger opponent, pummeling and getting out of the clinch is essential. You need to constantly move your arms to prevent your opponent from catching them and locking you down in the clinch. As you know, if you get trapped in the clinch, you’d be very vulnerable to knee strikes and other attacks, so keep moving and avoid the clinch.
2) Control the head
If you’ve read our article on essential tips for the Muay Thai clinch, you’d know the importance of controlling your opponent’s head. When your opponent controls your neck or your head, they control your balance, as well as your ability to defend and attack. Hence, you must try to control your opponent’s head as much as you can. Doing so will make it difficult for your opponent to posture up and launch any kind of attack in the clinch.
3) Redirect your opponent
The minute you feel your opponent pulling you into a clinch, you must try to redirect them. You can slap their hands away as they try to pull you in and use footwork to evade the clinch. Step away to the side, circle away and find the perfect angle to both avoid the clinch and attack.
Remember, the minute you get caught in the clinch, the more difficult it will be to escape from being attacked with vicious knees. Don’t let yourself get stuck in the clinch and practice the tips above to break free. Don’t forget, when you’re in a fight, you’ll need all the energy you can get and nothing will drain you more than being stuck in a clinch.