Modern mixed martial artists must be adept in striking, grappling and everything in between. Frequently people divide these categories; they’re either training wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or they’re training boxing and Muay Thai. However, Muay Thai and mixed martial arts both include a middle ground between striking and grappling; the clinch. 

Muay Thai fighter landing a knee at clinch distance

            Clinching is a style of close range combat where an athlete can grab onto their opponent to control them, throw off their balance and pull them into strikes. Clinching can be a great tool for both strikers and grapplers alike. Understanding how to control someone in the clinch creates great opportunities for short strikes like knees and elbows, and usually allows one to dictate where the fight will take place. A skilled clincher can wrap up their opponent if they need to slow down the fight or can choose when to break away from the clinch, landing hard strikes on the break. Grappling heavy fighters can use the clinch to disguise takedowns or to control their opponent against the fence.

Two men grappling in black and white
Coach Brian McLaughlin and professional fighter Andy Main clinching

            Understanding the Thai clinch is a staple in any modern mixed martial artists toolbelt. The legendary Anderson Silva continually added to his highlight reel by landing gruesome knees and elbows from various clinch positions. Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion by throwing a perfect hook as he exited the clinch. 

Stipe Miocic was knocked out by a hook as he exited the clinch with his hands too low.

            Here at Precision, we want to ensure that our students understand how to defend themselves in any hand-to-hand scenario. Our head Muay Thai coach Karl Nemeth includes clinch scenarios in our regular Muay Thai classes, teaching Poughkeepsie mixed martial arts students to effectively use their strikes to close distance or go from clinching into a striking exchange. We also offer a class specifically dedicated to clinching, taught by active police officer Joe Carbone. Coach Joe specializes in clinching, displaying various techniques to protect yourself from strikes, off balance your opponent and begin to land your own strikes. Both Coach Karl and Coach Joe show a variety of dumps and trips designed to get your opponent to the ground. Coach Karl also offers an MMA class that places a heavy emphasis on establishing a standing clinch and using trips, dumps and takedowns to maintain control all the way to the ground where we can start to hunt submissions.

students practicing muay thai kicks together
Coach Joe demonstrating a kick on Poughkeepsie martial arts student Vincent VanRiper.

            With so much material to cover, Precision offers more classes than any other facility in the Hudson Valley. Open seven days a week, offering basic, intermediate, and advanced classes, Precision Boxing and MMA is home to some of the most talented and beginner-friendly instructors in the world. Give us a call at (845)392-8495 or click HERE for a free one-on-one lesson and tour of our facility. 

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About the Author

Oliver Swanson is an assistant boxing coach at Precision Boxing and MMA and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. As a dedicated and passionate martial artist, Oliver spends most of his time on the mats practicing his boxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. He spends his free time writing about mixed martial arts and enjoying time with his family