The Three Keys To Successful Clinching in Muay Thai

The Three Keys To Successful Clinching in Muay Thai

If you’ve ever had the chance to clinch and spar with a professional Thai fighter, you’d know how helpless you are when you’re completely dominated.

If you’re a Thai, you’d know that you were taught to clinch almost from birth. At five, you’re taught to grapple and by the time you’re 16, you’re more experienced in the clinch than most foreign fighters twice your area. While it’s true that some foreigners are quite good, the locals are just even better because of how long they’ve been training.


Chances are, you are a foreigner and you may be interested in improving your Muay Thai clinch.

If that is so, here are five tips that should help you with that:

  1. Proper Arm Control

The key to a successful clinch is to put yourself in a strong enough position to be able to control your opponent. If you have a good grip on your opponent, throw them off balance should be easy. Not to mention you’ll be able to put yourself in a better position to attack.

This sounds so easy on paper, but clinching is exhausting and requires extensive training in proper arm positioning.

In a clinch between two professional fighters, the one who wins is the one who has the best cardio and the one who’s able to get the most points.

  1. Balance and Body Position

Balance isn’t something that’s easily taught. In fact, the best way to have it is to learn it through experience, just like learning how to balance on a bike.

To have better balance, you’ll need to experience shifting your weight around to counter how your opponent tries to pull you around while inside the clinch.

The best clinchers have amazing control over their bodies, able to shift around easily. Try to throw them around and they’ll counter you without a second thought.

This sort of expertise is something that’s developed only through experience and for that to happen, you’ll need to take your clinching sessions properly to better be able to learn how to position your body properly and control your balance.

  1. Entering and Exiting

Entering the clinch is a skill on its own and you’ll need to invest plenty of time practicing the clinch to master such a skill. However, not only should you be good at entering the clinch, you’ll also have to be better at getting out of it.

During practice, try to find a way to practice transitioning from sparring to clinching, and avoid focusing only on one of the two. By doing this, you’re able to get a better glimpse of how to clinch during a real fight, as well as how to get out of it. Though, more importantly, you’ll learn how to prevent people from entering the clinch, which is also just as important as entering it.

As a final word of advice, work on your technique with someone who’s better than you.

If you have someone in your class who’s fighting professionally, ask them kindly to clinch or spar with you to have a better idea of clinching. Also, invest in time watching high-skilled fighters fighting it out, as in Muay Thai, you’ll find them clinching more times than your hands can count.

Invest in learning how to clinch for a few solid months and you’ll find yourself improving significantly in your balance, strength and technique, as well as your ability to clinch overall.

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