Countering The Jumping Knee With Jean-Charles Skarbowsky
The knee strikes are the bread and butter of Muay Thai, and there’s a good reason for that; it’s a powerful strike that carries tremendous force with it, which can break even the most formidable opponents.
Muay Thai fighters love throwing the knees, and they usually throw them from inside the clinch, although on some occasions, they throw the long knees from a distance where they can catch their opponent without being anticipated. If a knee has ever hit you, you know how bad the feeling is, especially when you are not ready for it; the knee strike is a devastating blow that carries a lot of bone-crushing power behind it, so never underestimate them.
Defending the knees is essential for a Muay Thai fighter, as it is thrown countless times inside a fight. A fighter who cannot deal with them will suffer a lot, and the damage will eventually shut the fighter down as the damage accumulated breaks down his body.
The problem many practitioners have when they try to deal with knees from the clinch, the problem many practitioners have is that they try to block the knees with their hands. Defending the knees by lowering our hands is terrible as we are open to elbows, and a good Muay Thai fighter will cut us open, and as we come back to defend the face, he will continue to knee the body.
The correct way to defend against knees in the clinch is to posture up and get into a hip to hip position, where there is no space for a knee to penetrate and damage us while we keep our hands up against elbows.
Who Is Jean-Charles Skarbowsky?
Jean-Charles Skarbowsky is a French professional Muay Thai fighter who has retired in 2006. Jean-Charles has a unique style that attracts many fighters to watch as he looks like a dangerous “Drunken Fighter,” which fight fans like to watch. GSP has brought Jean-Charles as a coach in the television show TUF, where he taught the fighters to rely on knowledge and skill instead of athleticism and conditioning.
Check Out Skarbowsky’s Other Instructionals HERE! Click Learn More!
Jumping Knee Counter With A Sweep
In this video, Jean-Charles Skarbowsky will teach us how to defend the knee in the clinch when the opponent is jumping. We will use this defense in a neutral clinch position where we hold a mutual collar tie position and an outside bicep tie.
From this clinching position, our opponent will throw a knee to the side of our body instead of a straight knee, and he will add a jump to it, which will hurt more than the standard side knee and give him more points.
This jumping knee has one problem; when you are jumping, you don’t have a base as both your legs are off the floor, and you trade balance for power. So as the opponent jumps to hurt me with his knee, I will mop his leg with my foot and get an easy sweep as his leg is weightless when he is off the ground.
Now notice that we must add a rotation of his upper body with our hands as we sweep the leg. We do it in a motion that resembles stirring a wheel, and as we see that he is off-balanced, we simply throw him on the ground for a sweep.
Like in any counter, the key here is anticipation; as we feel that he uses the flying knee inside the clinch, we let him throw it a couple of times, and once we get his rhythm, we will anticipate him and sweep the leg.
Learn More From Charles Skarbowsky!
If you liked this video breakdown by Jean-Charles and would like to learn more from the Muay Thai technician, check out “Muay Thai Masterclass - Advanced Edition” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.