Entering The Clinch by Rafael Cordeiro Breakdown
The clinch is an important part of both Muay Thai and MMA and someone who is well versed in clinch work can dominate an entire fight just using that one aspect alone. However, in order to dominate in the clinch, you have to get into it first. In this video Kings MMA head coach and legendary striker Rafael Cordeiro teaches you the proper way to enter the full Muay Thai clinch, also known as the Plum position or the double collar tie.
This is a really powerful position, but it is pretty different from the wrestling clinch positions that you might be used to. It's worth learning however, as while you do lose the ability to do a large number of different takedowns and throws, you are now in an ideal position to land some devastating strikes. From hard knees to the body and head, sharp elbows to cut up your opponent and some pretty slick trips and sweeps, this position provides so many openings and a level of control that is too good to pass up.
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To start, Coach Rafael doesn’t want you to reach out for the clinch, which exposes your head and body to counter strikes, instead, Coach Cordeiro uses the clinch entry itself as a counter to a head hook.
For the first clinch technique he shows, Coach Rafael says to wait for the opponent to hook and after defending, reach out with just your lead hand to get a single collar tie. Remember to change your level slightly if you have a height advantage and to move forward when grabbing the collar tie, don’t fully extend your arm as you become open to counter shots.
After getting that single collar tie, place your rear hand over your lead hand, palm over palm as some people say, to secure the Thai clinch. It’s really important to make sure that you are fast, but never try to get the full clinch all at once, always secure a single collar tie first, then quickly add on your second hand. As Coach Rafael says, defense 1 – 2, not defense, then the full thing.
You also need to make sure that your elbows and forearms are in front of your opponent’s collar bones. This stops them from shooting for double underhooks or a double leg, negating all the work you just put in and putting them in control.
If you’re not too well versed in the full Muay Thai Clinch, Coach Rafael gives you another option after you get that single collar tie. After you get the single collar tie, you’re going to push off of it, giving you space to land an elbow with your rear arm.
The start is the same, defense to single collar tie. When you are pushing off the collar tie, make sure to remember not to just extend with the elbow of the collar tie arm. You need to put your body weight into that push or your opponent isn’t going to budge. using your forearm to push, not just extending with your elbow, will provide you with the force to create the space you need to land that shot.
Also keep in mind that after landing that elbow, you need to move as to not stay in the line of fire. You need to be close to land an elbow and if you stay in that range, your opponent is going to fire back, so you need to get out of there!
Muay Thai Fundamentals by Rafael Cordeiro is a 4-part series that will build your Muay Thai striking skills from the ground up. Learn from Legendary Coach Rafael Cordeiro!