Make Your Opponent Regret Clinching with Elbows from Benson Henderson
There is a lot of variety in striking arts. Whether it’s Muay Thai, Traditional Karate, Kickboxing, Boxing or Self-Defense arts such as Krav Maga, there is always a discrepancy of how techniques are thrown. What part of the leg to hit with when you kick, where is the most vulnerable part to strike on the defending opponent, etc. No matter what, there will always be someone saying, do it this way, not that way. The clinch is not different, however due to its nature of being a grappling technique, there are only so many ways to go about striking an opponent with certain techniques.
When you begin comparing what clinch work each art has, you find that the technique is relatively the same when found in each style. Elbows and knees from various angles as well as certain punches are often seen from the clinch, and there are only so many ways to throw these techniques while maintaining a grip on your opponent. Fighters who are comfortable in both grappling techniques and striking have the advantage here, and can set the pace of the fight from point blank range. Benson Henderson is that fighter.
A former WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion, Benson Henderson earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do which he started at nine years old. Benson also was named an All-American during his high school wrestling career, and has since earned a black belt in Jiu Jitsu under John Crouch making him a poster boy for the term mixed martial artist.
Henderson has been in wars with various fighters of different styles and has engaged in the clinch with most of these fighters. This applied knowledge is part of what makes Henderson’s instruction so valuable.
As Former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson said “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Benson Henderson has continually executed his plans after having punches, kicks, elbows, knees, and takedowns thrown at him! As an active fighter, he will not only show you the techniques in his instructional, but he will also show them in action in his fights!
In this clip from Benson Henderson’s Instructional, Henderson takes time out from the kicks to show the viewer what other options are available when kicking isn’t. After the video has begun Benson expresses how the clinch in M.M.A isn’t as traditional as other arts, and it is often different from the Muay Thai Plum clinch or traditional wrestling variations of the clinch. He insists that in a Mixed Martial Arts fight, clinches are just that, a mix of all the styles of clinching available in martial arts.
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For this elbow technique, Henderson and his partner start in a single collar tie variation with their right hands controlling the crown of the others head, and the left hand monitoring the control arm at the crease of their partners elbow. Benson explains the first goal of the technique, removing the partner's control hand from your own head. When the control hand is in place, the opponent's hand prevents the fighter from leaning back while the forearm and elbow pressure on the fighters chest stops them from moving forward. Without removing the opponents control hand, there can be no real movement and any strikes will lack power.
To detach the opponent's hand from the crown of his own head, Benson takes his left hand, and using a chopping motion puts force onto his opponent's control arm right at the crease of the elbow. Immediately after the chop, Henderson pulls the control arm back towards him, pulling the opponent off balance and into the oncoming elbow. As the elbow is thrown, the control hand not only stops the opponent from evading the elbow, but it brings their head into the elbow. This causes the opponent's head to be in the middle of two opposing, oncoming forces. A similar example of this is when a fighter's first strike moves their opponent into the second, such as Kevin Lee’s right cross, left head kick combination which knocked out UFC prospect Gregor Gillespie.
With a devastating technique and no escape for the opponent, a striker is capable of ending a fight immediately. Fighting is a quick and dangerous game, and the clinch is a face to face battle like no other. If you are going to win in the clinch, you need to be able to trap your opponent and keep your attacks readily available. That’s exactly what Benson Henderson is teaching the viewer to do in this video.
Check it out here!