Tonight’s MMA private lesson focused the clinch, but also contained setting up from stand-up range. After a warm-up of mobility exercises and calisthenics we went onto the focus mitts. This part of the lesson began with boxing combinations using MMA gloves, which allowed for some interesting angulations with the hands. Then we moved into high, mid and low entries. The cover was brought in to allow for a smothering counter-attack. I paid attention to transitioning from the cover to making a collar grip, underhook or low line grip. Next I brought out the Thai focus mitts. We worked off simple punch-kick combinations and then used low kicks to set up for single leg takedowns.
Moving onto the clinch area in earnest we looked at a transition from a single leg to a rear waist-lock. The single leg is used as a feigning attack, setting up for taking the back. The movement is trickier than it might seem and requires a smooth yet explosive muscular action. The fighter is required to shot into a half-kneeling position as he hooks under his opponent’s leg. As the opponent moves to counter down, the fighter switches the torqueing the motion higher and completes the action with a waist-lock. The torque might be comparable to low hook/high hook punching combination or a low round kick feign into a mid or high round kick. Once we had worked on getting the transition correct, we fully applied the technique and then further integrated into a jab/cross/lead round kick/single leg feign/rear waist-lock combination. In typical Muay Thai fashion, the first straight punches set up for the low kick. This either stuns the opponent’s lead leg or he checks the kick or steps back. Either way it leaves the lead leg vulnerable for the single leg. The combination works by feeding and changing ranges – two high attacks followed by two low attacks followed by a mid-line attack to the back.
The lesson was finished with a round of MMA sparring.