Sunday saw the latest Vagabond Warriors Workshop. The subject of the lesson was the clinch where we focused on positional control and striking whilst grappling. Various drills were taken from Western Boxing/Dirty Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts. This workshop was supported by the Oxford School of Martial Arts and held at their dojo.
After some dynamic stretching and sport specific callisthenics we took an unusual approach to the clinching subject. Typically I would begin with the basics of stand-up grappling and positioning from a wrestling perspective. However, I felt that we might as well begin with the transition from the stand-up range to clinch. We looked at as both an attack and a counter-attack, taking our cue from Western Boxing and Muay Thai. This included prompting an opponent to shell or cover and clinching from the outside, shelling/covering from a barrage of strikes and clinching from the inside and using the slap-down parry to clinch with the long guard. During this last drill we worked in a knee-bump as well as a diagonal knee strike.
We then went through three basic clinching positions taught as drills – collar and elbow tie, plum/double collar tie and overhook/underhook pummelling. We discussed the dominant position in all of these that would then be used to break postures and set up strikes. From the collar and elbow we set up inside punching and also curved knees, and from the underhook/overhook position we drilled punches to the body. We then looked at using an extension on the collar tie – the ear rip – to combine the underhook which became its own cross-face extension, setting an opponent up for knee strikes to the legs or transferring into a double-handed single side head clinch set up for speak knees.
Training then went to the wall where we put together an MMA combination of shoulder punch/spear knee strike on the underhook side and slashing elbow from the overhook side before re-pummelling. When both sides were drilled the compliant partner then practised a reversal and took their turn at the same combination.
All of the clinch striking drills relied a lot on transitioning to set up strikes as well as breaking postures. The main objective was to blend the techniques together into a flow of grapple/striking.
We finished the workshop with some dirty boxing combinations, using shoulder bumps, elbow strikes to the body and knee-bumps to manipulate ranges.