Muay Thai Techniques- Clinch & Neck Wrestling

In wrestling in the western countries, two opponents will be separated by the referee if they get into a clinch that seems like a stalemate. However, in Muay Thai, this is not the case. When two fighters are in the clinch in Muay Thai, they use knee and elbow techniques to compensate for their other appendages being locked in the clinch. In order to do the most damage in a strike and bind fashion against an opponent for both offensive and defensive reasons, small moves of stand-up grappling will be used while they are in the clinch. The Mauy Thai techniques used for the clinch are the arm clinch, the side clinch, the low clinch, and the swan neck.


The clinch must also be performed in a certain way to maximize the amount of damage done to the opponent when trying to attach in the clinch. The front clinch should only be performed with the palm of one of the fighter’s hands on the back of the other hand. However, the fingers should never be intertwined. This is because in the ring, most fighters wear boxing gloves and are unable to intertwine the fingers; also, the Thai front clinch primarily involves the pressing of the opponent’s head downwards which is much easier if the hands are on top of one another. The arms should be able to put the most pressure possible on the neck, which is easier to do if the fingers are not intertwined. Finally, a fighter can incur injuries to one or more of their fingers if they are linked while in a clinch as it becomes more difficult to release the grip and elbow the head of the opponent before he or she can defend.


A proper clinch will also involve the forearms of the fighter pressing up against the collar bone of the opponent while the fighter’s hands are up around the head of the opponent rather than his or her neck. The Muay Thai techniques used to get out of one of these clinches is to push up against the opponents head so that they are jolted backwards or elbow them so that they have to break the clinch, giving the fighter the upper hand. These can always be accomplished because, in the clinch, the opponents must be very close to one another.


The fighter that is losing the clinch may get their arm underneath and inside the formation of their opponent’s clinch which can establish them as the dominant clincher.


These specific variants of clinching may be used to better increase the effect of winning a clinch. The arm clinch is when one or both hands that control the inside of the clinch defenders arm and the second hand is free before the clinch position. This particular clinch is only used to control the opponent for a moment before delivering a knee strike or a throw.


The Side Clinch is a type of clinch where one of the offender’s arms pass around the defender’s front with the offender’s arm pit. This can allow the attacker to apply various knee strikes to the back of the defender or throw the defender from the clinch, thus winning the clinch.

The low clinch is executed by passing both of the offender’s arms under the defender’s arms and hugging the body. This is often used by the shorter of two opponents. It can be used to keep the opponent from throwing effective strikes as it closes the gap between the fighters.

The swan-neck clinch is often used as a transition from a neck clinch. This clinch involves using one hand around the rear of the opponent’s neck when striking. This technique is often referred to as “dirty boxing.” Its effectiveness comes from its ability to maximize the force of a strike.

The clinch is integral to Muay Thai techniques and will help a fighter gain control and position during a fight. Knowing how and when to use the four different types of clinches will improve anyone’s game and effectiveness as a fighter.

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