Working the Clinch (diary entry)


Ahead of teaching my client’s martial arts class on Monday, I suggested that we have a teacher consultancy lesson covering the clinch. Monday’s lesson is all about anti-grappling in connection to my “When Parents Aren’t Around” webinar series. Through experience, I have learned that it is important for students to have an understanding of stand-up grappling if they are to use effective tools to extricate themselves from a grappling situation. This is also important for partner work. It seems rather pointless having a partner feed you grappling attacks to thwart if they cannot grapple at a basic level.

After a warm-up, we went through some basic clinching and takedown practice. We began with a cut-off solo drill that became a partner drill. It consisted of performing the cut-off footwork first and then using it as an application against a rear waist-lock. I then added on an arm-drag and turned it into a flow drill. This exercise promotes the principle of defending and taking the back.

Then we moved onto basic clinching positions. Having an understanding of basic neutral holds and how to transition through them provides a good familiarity with someone trying to manhandle you in a standing position. From here you get an understanding of how to close down their attack and retain your balance whilst moving around a restisting body. These are very relevant attributes if you are seeking to strike, bite or eye gouge a stronger person who has grabbed hold of you. We trained the collar and elbow tie with wrist grips. Then we trained over-hook/under-hook pummelling and taking the back.

Next we moved onto two types of double-leg takedown and sprawl into spear knee defence.

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