Over-Hook Double-Arm Trap (diary entry)

body clinch



Tonight my client continued with our theme on trapping. We continued down our old school boxing route and explored a technique taught by the early 20th century world champion, “Gentleman” Jim Corbett, adding to it from an MMA perspective.


We warmed up with mirror footwork. Then we combined clinching and breakaways, setting up various basic strikes. This moved into plumb and pummelling exercises, and finally a couple of rounds of wrestling sparring.


Previously we used the under-hooks to set up various strikes in the clinch. This time we looked at the much neglected over-hook. Under-hooks have become favoured in MMA because they give so much control from a grappling perspective. A single under-hook with the head on the right side can set up a shoulder-lock and various Muay Thai lock-off positions for knee strikes. It can also lead to taking the back position. Double under-hooks are an effective means for setting up various takedowns – Thai sweeps, suplexes and throws. The over-hook provides an opportunity to trap an arm. This was used a lot during the early days of gloved professional boxing. Bob Fitzsimmons and Jack Johnson were very adept at using the over-hooks to wear down and control opponents.


We focused on Corbett’s double arm-trap, using it to set up shovel hooks and overhands off the same side. This is what Corbett is seen throwing when he demonstrates the technique on Gene Tunney in the famous 1925 sparring footage. We also added on a knee and also paid attention to the relationship with the hips and the head. The shovel hook is thrown with the hips deceptively far back with the head in tight, a la Joe Frazier and Roberto Duran. The overhand is then thrown with these positions somewhat reversed, using the hips to block the body and freeing the head to throw the overhand punch. The positions are reversed yet again as the knee strike is thrown. Corbett’s double-arm trap involves wrapping one arm in an over-hook and then gripping the opposite arm’s bicep or tricep. We then brought in a switching element, using bobbing and weaving action along with trapping from the other side. The entire technique began with a Roberto Duran circling hook.


We broke down the techniques by isolating the striking combination on the focus mitts and then isolating the arm-trap switch. It was all then brought back together. Then we went back over the previous lessons upper-cut/under-hook set-up.


The lesson finished with a suggestion for a short heavy bag workout I recently used over the weekend:


3 minutes – outside Boxing

3 minutes – inside Boxing

3 minutes – outside Thai Boxing

3 minutes – inside Thai Boxing

3 minutes – Wrestling clinch

3 minutes – Groundwork




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