A few days ago I watched the whole gym shift into the two rings while I worked outside of them. Everyone was clinching except me. As one of very few women at the gym I do not have sparring/clinching partners and as the only woman who trains and fights consistently, such partners are badly needed.
I pestered Den and he said he’d help me get Big (a Thai boy who is my size at the gym) to clinch with me and then I doubled my odds by making Thaywin promise to clinch with me the next day. This is some video of my clinching with Thaywin as he teaches me a technique to turn your opponent from a pretty tight tie-up.
A few notes:
1. I’ve learned this before, but slightly different. Master K has you push the face and flip the arm around really quickly – like as soon as you tie up. I did okay (never great) with it when he was showing me. Kaensak also showed me a similar technique, using one hand and then the other to push the head away, opening up space and off-balancing the opponent so you can do the arm-twist. And Augie showed me how to angle your arm to get the best pressure on the opponent’s arm for the turn – kind of JiuJitsu style joint manipulation – but I never really got it in the short time we had to work it.
2. When I watched this video a couple hours after training I noticed right away that the reason I can’t get the angle and turn Thaywin is because my hips and body are so far out from his. When he demonstrates, he’s basically got both legs right on either side of one of mine and his hips are ON my hip. It makes all the difference. I started to get closer near the end – incidentally rather than having figured it out because I was successful in turning with my shoulder, rather than my forearm. But that’s because my hips are closer, not because of my own arm.
3. At one point Thaywin tells me that he figured out the problem: it’s a “difference between men and women,” by which he either means there are anatomical anomalies which allow my shoulder to get buckled and his not, or that I (women) are not strong enough to do it. I was pissed BECAUSE that’s not it; it’s not a strength issue. I got the blade of my forearm right into his arm and could turn him because of the pain it caused him, but it exhausted me. The reason it’s NOT a matter of strength is because it is so much easier and more effective to keep the hips in and turn from the inside. Not strength – angles.
4. Another thing I noticed is that Thaywin’s leg is in front of mine when he turns me and I keep stepping behind him. I’m having a hell of a time coordinating my upper body with my lower body stepping out for the knee. The difference in placement on that leg might be the secret.