Head Control Concepts From Anderson “The Spider” Silva!
Learn from the best! Anderson Silva, largely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, is here to show you how to deteriorate your opponent's clinch by controlling their head. You may know how to throw punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. You may even have some grappling background. However, the clinch is a hybrid between striking and grappling. When standing while grappling, fighters defending in the clinch have better immediate mobility than if they were on the ground.
This is due to fighters being sandwiched between their opponent, and the ground. When standing, even if the fighter’s back is against ropes or a cage, being on their feet gives the defending fighter greater ability to move side to side and escape the situation, or reverse positions. Regardless of the differences, one thing rings true throughout the entirety of any situation where you are in a battle to control another person's body. That universal truth is, control the opponents head, and you control their whole body.
Within Anderson Silva’s extensive career as a mixed martial artist, he has shown time and time again how a fighter can use their head movement in extraordinary ways constantly maneuvering himself out of the way of oncoming strikes. Silva has also shown powerful displays of the Thai clinch position and its ability to control a fighter’s head.
When facing Chris Leben in 2006 at UFC Fight Night 5, Silva used his hands to control the head of a recovering Chris Leben as he stood up after being dropped by Silva. Anderson used his control of Leben’s head to put him in a Thai clinch and finish the striking battle with a devastating knee in the first minute within the first minute of the fight.
In Anderson Silva’s next fight against Rich Franklin for the Middleweight Championship belt at UFC 64, he showcased his ability again to control the head offensively, when he put the current champion in a dangerous Thai clinch multiple times in the first round, unleashing an absolute terrifying flurry of knees starting at the body and arms, then transitioning to Franklin’s head with more knee strikes that would consequently end the fight before the round came to an end. When Silva fought Stephan Bonnar over five years later at UFC 153, he put on an unforgettable showing of both offense and defensive control from the clinch, to set up another first round referee stoppage. Anderson Silva has consistently shown his ability to control an opponent's head for both offensive and defensive purposes with terrible results for the opposing fighter.
In this video, from Anderson Silva’s “The Comprehensive Strikers Guide” Instructional, Silva explains the general concepts for controlling an opposing fighter’s head, where to place your hands, and strikes that can be thrown from the defensive end of the Thai clinch.
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He begins the video by expressing how important it is for fighters to know where to hold the opponent so that they can always protect themselves when in clinching situations. After stating this, Anderson begins demonstrating by turning his assistant away from the viewer, and pushing their head to both sides, showing how as the head is pushed to one side, the body follows it. Silva explains how this applies when pulling the head forward inside the clinch, or pushing the fighter’s head away as well. He then turns his assistant to a different angle, and repeats the demonstration to show how the body of your opponents will always follow the movement of their head.
After the second demonstration, Anderson and his partner engage in the clinch. Silva states that, while many people try to use their arms to fight their opponents arms to gain advantage in the clinch, what he has always done and believes to work best, is fight for control of the opponent's head. Anderson demonstrates this by working from inside his partners Thai clinch where, rather than fighting his partners arms, he pushes their head to the side, off centering their balance, and as a result minimizes the effectiveness of what is one of the most dangerous positions in Muay Thai and MMA. As the former champ dives into the technique more, he shows how one hand pulls the head to the side from outside the clinch position, from there he brings the other hand up between his opponents elbows inside the clinch and strengthens the downward force on his opponent’s head.
Once in this advantageous position, “The Spider” shows how fighters can attack with knees anywhere on the opponents defenseless body, including striking their arms! Silva shows the concept again from a different angle before taking time to speak with the viewer, again emphasizing the importance of understanding the basic principles for controlling the head, and therefore the body of opposing fighters.
This type of effective, unorthodox offense is what elevates legends like Anderson Silva past the status of champion, and towards the title of the greatest ever. Check out Anderson's masterclass instructional today!