Breaking The Clinch Grip To Elbow With Liam Harrison
Being able to dominate the clinch is an imperative part of Muay Thai, from being able to control your opponents positioning and posture to fire off knee and elbow strikes. Sometimes though, you will find that your opponent has the inside control of the clinch, placing them in a more dominant position to attack. Here, Liam Harrison shows how to counter their controls to land a big elbow strike!
Liam begins by explaining that this technique is used from a non-dominant position. The dominant position in this case is where his opponent has one collar tie and one hand hooking the inside of Liam’s bicep. Liam wants to control the inside tract of his partner but shows that the opponent can counter you when you try to swim inside. A good option is to set up the elbow strike. Liam shows that by stepping back on the side his opponent has a collar tie and pulling his arm down, he can create an opening to land a hard elbow to the opponent's face.
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Liam further shows that you cannot just pull your partner's arm off of you by striking down on their elbow. You must step back and look to pull their arm off at the wrist, the end of the lever, where it is much weaker. If you step back and do pull their arm down at the bicep or forearm, you may get the collar tie off a bit, but not enough to land your counter cleanly because the hand and forearm of your opponent are still in a strong position to jam your shoulder, preventing the elbow strike.
Remember, this technique works on both sides. Liam can just as easily clear the other side hand if that is the side that he is caught in a collar tie, all he does is switch his stance and steps back with whatever leg is on the side of the collar tie. When throwing the elbow, Liam looks to whip his hips through the strike dealing as much damage as possible. If he hits the chin or temple it will knock the opponent out, if he hits the brow or forehead he can look to slice them open.
A main takeaway with this technique is that you can vary your clinch game. If you are unable to swim and gain the inside dominant control, you can still counter your opponent. Sometimes you swim inside someone's collar ties, instead look to drop your weight back, clearing their grip at the wrist and come back with a sharp elbow to their head. If your arm clear fails, go back to swimming for control, being able to vary your gameplan is a very important skill when fighting high level clinch fighters. Using swimming to open up your hand clearing and looking to clear hands to swim back in. Get a partner you trust to not knock your teeth out and give this technique a try!
Power Muay Thai by Liam Harrison is a 3-part deep dive into the ESSENTIAL Muay Thai techniques! Check it out today!