Punish Jumping Knees With Jean Charles Skarbowsky
Knee strikes are a staple of Muay Thai. Knees are some of the most powerful strikes that the human body can throw and so much time and effort is put into training them when one practices Muay Thai. When looked at from a purely sport and competition perspective knees are also some of the highest scoring strikes in Muay Thai. They can cause a ton of damage and score you a ton of points, even in Kickboxing and MMA, so it's important for a practitioner of combat sports to train them.
What might be even more important than learning how to throw good knees is being able to defend knees from somebody who is an expert at them. In this video, multiple time european Muay Thai champion Jean Charles Skarbowsky shows how to defend against jumping knees in the clinch.
The clinch plays a huge role in Muay Thai, because as long as there is action going on, it won’t be broken up under Muay Thai rules. In order to keep from getting struck with the more traditional and powerful spearing knees that most people see, fighters will get very close to each other, to the point of basically hugging. This leads to what is commonly known as either cinch knees are side knees being thrown. These can damage your opponent and score points, but you can do more damage and score more if you do a jumping side knee.
These are really impressive and very hard hitting, but since you are jumping while you’re doing them you have no balance and can be swept for that second that you're in mid air. THat is what Skarbowsky focuses on in this video.
A big part of this sweep, like most sweeps, relies on timing. You’re going to need to be able to see when your opponent is throwing a jump need and react while they are still in the air. The technique for the sweep itself is pretty simple.
Skarbowsky demonstrates this sweep from a 50-50 position where both he and his opponent have a collar tie. From here to drill the technique, Skarbowsky will have his opponent throw a regular side knee and then a jumping one. When his opponent throws the jumping knee, Skarbowsky pushes off his opponent's head with his collar tie arm and pulls on his opponent's collar tie arm. To secure the sweep, Skarbowsky then sweeps with the opposite side leg that the opponent is using to knee strike.
Since your opponent isn’t touching the ground they will easily fall to the floor. This will not only negate their knee strike, but it is also likely to stop them from throwing the strike for the rest of the fight. This will also help you get top control in MMA and while sweeps might not officially score in Muay Thai, it still looks really good for you.
This sweep can also be used with normal side knees, but it will not be as easy to do, as your opponent will have one leg on the ground on which they can balance on. This means that you are going to need to put more effort into the sweep and you might not get a full sweep, but you will off balance your opponent and stop them from throwing knees.
Get more top-tier tips from Muay Thai Champ Jean-Charles Skarbowsky!