Having spent the past four lessons focusing on takedown defence I thought it was time we swapped roles and looked at MMA matters from a grappler’s point of view. Whether one is seeking a takedown, trying to control an opponent for more effective close range striking or simply trying to smother an overload of strikes, getting the clinch is definitely a tactic every well-rounded fighter will have to seek at some point.
We warmed up with the usual mobility/muscle activation calisthenics we have been using lately. We then moved onto some cover-work using the focus mitts. Using some aspect of the cover is an effective way to close the distance on a striking opponent.[i] The coach on the focus mitts prompts the fighter to cover and close into a clinch or a takedown entry.
We then moved onto some bulling and neck-wrestling. This then progressed into some Thai clinch work. After this we did some under-hook/over-hook pummelling that progressed into mid-level takedown entries and then low-level takedown entries. I also used the opportunity to train some new combinations from the clinch, including the jab/rear horizontal elbow/standing arm-bar and the arm-wrap/standing arm-bar.
Then, using the active feedback loop method, we fed this information onto the cover/focus mitt training.
[i] See my chapter “Take Cover” on the correct use of the cover.