Create the Trap, Find the Clinch (diary entry)


Tonight, my client continued his Dirty Boxing/Stand up Mixed Martial Arts course and we made it to the three-hour mark. After a preliminary warm-up we did some basic wrestling drills. This was to build up a familiarity with gripping and clinching positions. We drilled collar and elbow ties, over-hook/under-hook pummelling and arm-drags. Then we moved onto some grip-fighting sparring, emphasising circling to break and regain holds.

Attacking the cover1Next, taking Roberto Duran as inspiration, we engaged in some boxing sparring. Here I used Duran’s closing tactics, his circling jab and clinching methodology to put over the dirty boxing point. This provided us with the basis for the technique training that was to follow.


The rest of the training was done using MMA gloves, allowing for more effective and versatile wrestling grappling holds. We trained grappling inside a guard, clearing from outside a guard (using George Foreman and earlier self-defence training as an inspiration) and circle jabbing. These techniques promote offence clinching as opposed to the Jack Johnson style, which involved baiting an opponent and then tying them up.


Using a process of application, drilling and pad-work we worked through four setups:

  • Inside arm-trap/cross/uppercut/shovel hook (liver or spleen)
  • Outside arm clearance/cross/hook/outside arm clearance/cross
  • Circle jab/collar tie/cross
  • Circle jab/clinch/body shots


The circle jab creates openings and opportunities. We also referenced Thomas Hearns’s and John Anderson’s blinding lead hand tactic, which can frustrate and disrupt an opponent.

Referenced videos below:

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