After training with Sakmongkol in the afternoon at WKO we departed a bit early and took the motorbike back over to Petchrungruang Gym to have some clinching with Kru Nu’s son, who is ranked 2nd in his weight class at Lumpinee. He must be around 45 kilos, since you have to be 100 lbs to fight in Lumpinee and he’s definitely not much more than that. He’s a good 6 inches shorter than I am. But he’s amazing. This kid is so strong and incredibly well-trained. He just crushed me around the neck when I got a good angle on him. I could kind of slither my arms out of bad positions or try to push his head with mine to gain better angles but there was no turning. He dumped me a few times, too. I was getting some instruction from Filippo Cinti, who is an Italian ex-fighter (and works with fighters for the Yokkao promotion) who assists with training at the gym and has been there forever. That was very helpful and he gave me little digestible pieces to work on right now, as well as planting seeds of ideas for things I’ll be working on later. He explained how everything is about advancing, little by little, gaining position and advantage. The entire experience was really valuable even though it was only about 25 minutes of clinch. I was nervous because the patriarch of the gym, this really sweet old man who owns and runs the place – I think Kru Nu is his son and the kid I was clinching is his grandson – was watching me pretty closely. As we were leaving after I’d done some shadow and conditioning I wai-ed to him at the door to say goodbye and he gave me a very quick, very good 40 second clinch instruction by just showing me what I should have been doing with my shoulders, my arms, locking the back of the head, etc. Then he added (this was all in Thai) that my strikes are strong so I can just stay out of the clinch until I’m better at it. Oh… if only. I’m a clinch machine.