• 5 Clinch Techniques for Muay Thai Self Defense

Martial arts do more than just teach self-defense. It is about learning patience, timing, and strength. Not just physical strength, but mental strength as well.

Muay Thai self-defense teaches people how to utilize their whole body to defend themselves. They learn how to trust themselves and feel comfortable in any environment.

Muay Thai also teaches people how to get out of a clinch. Meaning, when a person is placed in an impossible situation they aren’t sure they can get out of, when all seems lost, using Muay Thai may mean the difference between becoming a victim or the victor

What Is Muay Thai Self Defense?

Muay Thai is a form of martial arts that was developed from combat fighting. The human body then became the weapon itself.

Using eight points on the body – the fists, elbows, knees, and feet are all used to defend oneself. While nine points were originally used, the head is now deemed too vulnerable to use in professional or amateur fights.

In Muay Thai a lot of emphasis is on the clinch. Meaning a situation where stand-up grappling occurs. It’s where almost every fight will end up and it can quickly determine who wins or loses.

The clinch allows someone to apply:

  • Strikes
  • Locks
  • Breaks
  • Chokes
  • Throws

Unlike in boxing and most other professional sports, clinching is encouraged and the fighters are not separated. This is one of the reasons why Muay Thai is effective as part of a self defense program. In real life, there are no referees and most of the time, both fighters will find themselves in a clinch almost immediately.

Which means it’s vital to understand how to get out of a clinch and become the winner.  In a clinch, even a smaller or weaker opponent has less of a chance of being punched out. Also, if the opponent isn’t schooled in martial arts, it’s possible for a smaller man or woman to get the upper hand of a larger male.

In certain circumstances, knowing how to effectively prevent a drunk or smaller person from injuring themselves or others is reason enough to learn Muay Thai. 

Which means everyone can benefit from understanding these 5 clinch techniques for Muay Thai self defense.

1. Head and Arm Control for Muay Thai Self Defense

The head and arm control is the most commonly used position in Muay Thai. With one arm position against the opponent’s neck, the other is used to underhook or under-wrap his or her arm. The shoulder can also be used, as is commonly done in wrestling.

To protect the head against strikes, it should be kept low. However, if this technique is done properly, the pressure on the opponent’s neck would make the likelihood of him or her being able to strike rather small. 

There are several ways to obtain head and arm control such as the smack and hack. Another excellent move is using the crash against punching attacks. This will put the defender inside an opponent’s arms allowing for a quick transition to head and arm control

This move can also be easily followed with strikes, locks, throws, and chokes.

2. Arm Clinch for Muay Thai Self Defense

With this technique one or both hands are required to control the inside of the defender’s arms. If the second hand is free, it’s in the front clinch position. The fighter can then control his or her opponent in order to apply a throw or knee kick.

In wrestling, this is known as two-on-one. The arm clinch is also the second most used control position after head and arm.

This technique works well because:

  • It allows for control over the opponent
  • Offense techniques can be applied
  • Allows a defender some cover against potential attacks
  • It’s difficult for opponent to escape from

Even if the opponent is significantly larger, the arm control still works effectively. Rather than allowing the opponent to push or pull away, the control is in the hands of the defender.

A palm blast to the opponent’s face can be a quick way to gain arm control.

3. Low Clinch

The low clinch involves both controlling arms to pass under the defender’s arms. This move is generally used by the shorter of the two opponents.

The opponent may try to hit the defender’s side abs with knee strikes. They may also try to punch the defender in the abs. However, since the two opponents are so close together, direct blows are not really possible.

To win, an opponent can step backward, allowing for space to place a knee directly to the defender’s abdomen.

While Muay Thai fighters wear boxing gloves in the ring, in a street match the impulse may be to intertwine the fingers for a better grip. Unfortunately, this could result in a serious injury. 

4. The Side Clinch for Muay Thai Self Defense

The side clinch involves one arm passing around to the front of the defender. The attacker’s shoulder is then pressed into the armpit of the defender. The other arm then passes around the back allowing the attacker to apply knee strikes to the back. 

This move will allow the attacker to throw the defender. It will also allow the defender to hit the opponent’s abs with knee strikes. 

It’s a dominant position which can be used to apply throws. It’s also extremely effective when looking to strike at an opponent’s kidney section at the lower back.

5. Clinch Elbow Technique

Elbows are hard and not used in other forms of martial arts so they really come in handy when using Muay Thai self defense. But beware that Muay Thai elbows inside the clinch may lead to cutting an opponent’s forehead.

A blow to the temple can also knock out an opponent. A blow to the jaw might render an opponent useless.

Learn Muay Thai today

Learning Muay Thai self defense can be a fun and healthy way to learn how to take care of oneself and learn a new sport. It’s perfect for kids, adults, men, and women.

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