Originally Posted by RJJFan
I agree the clinch wrestling aspect is exhausting. I've been dropped with knees to my ribs just under the armpits. I'll have to ask you how to defend this other than to push them off.
Muay Thai sparring for me is not as damaging in degree, because there are more targets to hit and more defenses to use whereas in boxing the punishment concentrated, mostly on the head. I've had more headaches in boxing than in MT.
Fair enough, I understand what you mean about it all being localized & agree you definitely feel it when you've done a good few rounds with a quality boxer.
Still for me the power and damage generated from feet and knees dwarfs the kind of pain and damage done by hands in sparring. If you wanna talk headaches just cop a few hard knees to the head or eat a shin sandwich a few times, your head will be pulsating for days. In my experience in western MT sparring it's unfortunate but commonplace for lasting damage to be done in way you never seem to get in boxing. But either way, in a heavy sparring session of either sport youíre gonna get tested!
About defending the knee, as you know RJJ it's the most complicated aspect to MT & varies according to ring positioning, type of clinch your in, the strength of your opponent etc. etc. In the scenario you mentioned you said youíd been dropped with knees high on your ribs in a clinch. Sounds like your giving the guy too much room to get his knees off and both your hands are reaching too high to grab him high behind the neck.
OK, whilst trying to keep your arms on the inside remove one hand from his neck and put it on his bicep or shoulder whilst keeping one hand behind his neck. Keep your back straight & push your hips close to him to close down the space, itíll automatically shut down many target options for him. Relax, put your head down so you can see the action, feel his strength, body movement and try to get a sense of his balancing. As he throws a knee you simultaneously side step round him on the opposite side of he is kneeing with pulling with the hand you have behind his neck whilst pushing with the controlling rudder like hand you have resting on his bicep. You'll easily avoid his knee whilst turning the clinch into your control. You may need to alternate the hand positioning depending on which knee heís throwing with. Thatís a pretty basic clinch knee defense. Youíll find from that positioning openings for your own knees and if you get the timing right youíll find him easy to throw form that position, you'll just fluidly feel the momentum tipping him over.
If that sounds abit hard to follow and you really are up shit creek without a paddle facing a much stronger fighter with good knees, the secret is trying to keep your balance and trying to off balance him when heís throwing his shots. But if you canít relax enough to do that here are two spoiling techniques thatíll keep you safe.
If he has you in the plumb, put your extended arms on top of his and cross your hands at the wrist pushing the insides of the gloves into his face or neck. Itís uncomfortable, forces him to lean back, gives you control of his arms and makes it awkward for him to see and throw.
This is a super useful one, if you just canít get anything going. If the guy is just making your life hell with the clinch, go full square onto him, push your hips right into his whilst keep your back straight and wrap your arms around his waist and lock your gloves, then pull him into you as close as heíll go. He canít do shit, until the ref breaks you. Itís also possible if you spread you legs out a bit, bend your knees a little and twist him real fast whilst heís struggling, youíll catch him off balance and heíll fall over the knee of your slightly spread and bent leg.
A word of warning though, yes the above 2 spoiling techniques are very simple, but a more experienced fighter can counter them with throws. One last thing about defending against the plumb, as I know itís very popular way to clinch in the west (even though you very rarely see it used in the ring in Thailand). If a guy has you in the plumb and your struggling to break it and heís throwing you round real good, just push your hips towards his, and the same time pull your back & neck straight, this breaks his control. You must never arch your back or bend when being held in the plumb, remember to keep that neck and back straight upright and then work for better hand positioning.
Remember clinch work is all about being relaxed, having the correct hip, foot and hand positioning and putting the other guy off balance, itís nothing to do with strength it's all about fluid effortless technique. There is loads to clinching, many many variations and techniques that never really get to see the light of day in the west.