5 minutes of our session together showing 2 mid-clinch escapes – see the full 48 session here, suggested pledge $5
Join and Study from the Patreon Muay Thai Library – suggested pledge $5
I’ve worked with Yodkhunpon numerous times now, on video and off. He lives right next to the gym and will conduct private training lessons some afternoons, usually with middle-aged western men, some of whom have been training with him during brief stays in the Kingdom for a decade. Very often Yodkhunpon, or “Khun” as it is shortened (not the same khun meaning “you” but with a rising tone that has a meaning of a title something like a knight), will call me over at the end of his sessions to help explain or demonstrate something, or most often just because he wants to work with me on something. He’s very generous with me in this way and I absolutely adore his demeanor and style.
This video is 5 minutes from one of our private training sessions, more than an hour and a half broken in two parts in the Library. In it you get a good feel for Khun’s personality, as well as his smooth movements and gentle attitudes that might suddenly flex into beautiful and violent demonstrations of fight dominance. He’s amazing. In this video he shows me two escapes from the body clinch, or a waist grab, which I’ve watched countless people struggle with as they just push their butts back and try to wriggle their way out to no avail. This is a really important clinch lock to counter in Thailand, as it is used often to seal a victory, stalling out rounds or to demonstrate physical dominance when ahead, or to nullify attacks. Struggling against these locks just make them look all the more dominant. These two escapes are wonderful in that they can work effectively and quickly but don’t require so much speed or timing in any case, so you can move to them after other options have already failed or without a great deal of rushing.
Arm Break Escape
The first one is an “arm break.” It kind of looks and works like magic. When the opponent grabs middle or lower back and your arms are on the outside, you wrap your arms around theirs so that your biceps are behind their elbows. Putting your gloves into their belly to position your leverage, (you don’t fundamentally push the belly or hips back, this is just for the angle), you lightly push your hands out in order to initial a squeeze of your upper arms together so that you essentially break open the opponent’s grip like a nutcracker. You can then add in a good push of your hips backwards and your upper body putting downward pressure on your opponent. But really a solid and explosive squeeze of your arms helps to crack open the grip rather than extending the pressure for an eventual release of the opponent’s grip. It works suddenly, not like a squeeze. This is a little tricky because if you don’t get the right angle just behind the elbows (see the yellow arrow at top) it will just feel like it will never work. But the right location of pressure and the arms just break open. Even in the slow motion GIF above you can’t really see how it works. But believe me it does.
The Peel Away Escape
The second version is ideal for a higher grip, under your armpits, (though sometimes it can work with a lower body lock). If your opponent grabs up high you can’t get the correct leverage for the first break (the arm break), so the better option is more of a “peel off,” rather than a break of the grip. Get your stance wide, preferably with one leg on the outside of your opponent’s knee and making contact. You’re going to peel toward that knee, so pick the side you wish to pull toward. With the same side as the leg to the outside of your opponent’s knee, grip the back of your opponent’s neck as in a normal clinch grip, pinching the opposite side arm under yours and placing your glove – heel of your palm – against the ribs just under the shoulder. You’ll have to try this a few times to figure out where you want your head to be, but it can’t be on the same side as the arm you’re pulling with – so where your head ends up determines which side you will use for pulling. You pull back on the neck, like a lever, rather than around or over, and push with your opposite side palm in a kind of twisting or “peeling” movement without twisting your own body. Your leg works to stop your opponent from following along and they will kind of resist you for a period of movement before finally there’s a degree to which they can’t follow anymore and they’ll peel right off. It doesn’t take a great deal of power, which is great, but the angle of the pull is important: back, not around. In the GIF above this is a real time motion. He is going as slow as he can possibly go, showing how there is no strength, or even speed necessary, though those of course can intensive the peeling off.
Don’t forget to knee your opponent in the gut after each of these successful escapes.
Yodkhunpon is an incredible instructor. You can take privates from him at my gym Petchrungruang in Pattaya.
If you are unfamiliar with Yodkhunpon, here is a highlight video of him, above.
Study from the Muay Thai Library
Yodkhunpon was one of the most feared elbow fighters in Thailand in the Golden Age, but as in the case with so many greats of that time, even if they specialized they possess untold amounts of knowledge. These lock escapes are a prime example of the kind of knowledge I’m trying to capture and preserve in my Patreon Muay Thai Library. Right now there is over 15 hours of long form training sessions. You can support this documentation and also learn from it as it grows with a suggested pledge of $5.
Take a look at what is already in the Library:
The Growing Technique Library
#16 Thailand PInsinchai – Attacking Shell (62 min) watch it here
Former Lumpinee and Rajadamnern champion Thailand Pinsinchai teaches the beautiful framework for his attacking, elbowing style. Lots of minute corrections, small vital details that turn working techniques into dominance. You get the entire picture of a Muay Buek fighter out of the legendary Pinsinchai gym .
#15 Yodkhunpon “The Elbow Hunter” part 2 – Escapes (48 min)
Part 2 of my session with one of the most feared elbow fighters of the Golden Age, Yodkhunpon Sitraipom, The Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches. Lots of fine details in this one, escapes from clinch locks, turns and catches. Best is his floating, gentle style that also holds such violence.
#14 Chatchai Sasakul – Perfecting Hands (106 min)
Former WBC world boxing champion at Flyweight, and winner of Best Coach of the Year in Thailand, Chatchai in this nearly 2 hours of video makes micro adjustment after micro adjustment, honing in pristine technique in the basic strikes of boxing, for use in Muay Thai. It’s all about weight transfer.
#13 Kem Sitsongpeenong – Building a System (52 min) watch it here
Kem, one of the best fighters of his generation, shows me building blocks of his system. He teaching a firm, defensive frame, and especially likes an upward elbow that explodes out of blocks, checks and fake teeps.
#12 Andy Thomson – Mad Scientist of Muay Thai (56 min)
Andy is absolutely unique in the lore of Thailand Muay Thai. An instructor for more than 2 decades, a mentor to so many, he innovatively teaches a Muay Thai emphasizing symmetry, strength, balance and explosiveness, expanding what the body can do under duress, holding pads like no others do.
#11 Karuhat Sor. Supawan Session 2 – Float and Shock (82 min) watch it here
In this session one of the greatest fighters who ever lived really digs into what must lie beneath techniques, a general state of relaxation and rhythm, the thing that made him one of the most dynamic fighters Lumpinee has ever seen.
#10 The Clinch Techniques of Yodwicha – Session 2 (34 min) watch it here
This is my second session with Yodwicha, you can see the first further down below. This one really gets into the specifics of clinch technique and defense. One of the best clinch fighters in Thailand, co-Fighter of the Year, sharing his unique attack style.
#9 Yodkhunpon “The Elbow Hunter” pt 1 – Slicing Elbow (37 min) watch it here
Simultaneous Raja and Luminee title holder at 118 lbs, Yodkhunpon was one of the most feared elbow fighters in Thailand, and in this session he teaches the looseness and spacing that made his lead elbow such a viscious weapon. He also shuns the traditional rocking chair knee, and instead teaches a powerful stand-in crossing, open-hipped knee that compliments his elbows up top.
#8 Sangtiennoi Sor Rungroj – Advanced Clinch (52 min) watch it here
The Golden Age Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Champion, a legendary Muay Khao fighter who fought all the greats instructs on the finer points of clinch technique. Small differences that make big differences. Advanced tips on the swim-in and turn, and the importance of going from long distance techniques to short distance grab and lock.
#7 Karuhat Sor. Supawan – Be Like Sand (62 min) watch it here
2x Golden Age Lumpinee Champion (112 lb and 122 lbs), Karuhat is considered elite among the elites. Mixing an explosive style with constant off-balances, angling, and melting aways, he was nicknamed the Ultimate Wizard. I can only describe the things he’s teaching here as: Be like sand. This is very subtle, advanced stuff, far above combo techniques or specific defenses. It may take a few viewings to absorb what he is teaching. Everytime I watch this I learn something new.
#6 Namkabuan Nongkipahuyut – Explosive Attack (28 min) watch it here
266 wins, 15 losses, 2 draws. Namkabuan may be the best fighter I’ve ever seen, and it was an intense privledge to train with him. I can honestly say that it changed me as a fighter, inspiring to become more. He combines Muay Khao fighting with technical precision and explosive energy. The knee he teaches in this session is really like no other I’ve seen, like it is shot out of a cannon.
#5 Hippy Singmanee – Developing Power (69 min) – watch it here
Two-time Lumpinee champion Golden Age legend Hippy Singmanee takes me though one of the most unique and valuable hours I’ve spent with a top trainer. He is building ground up how power and relaxation are related to each other. This session has been highly influential upon my own training. Learn how spacing+timing+relaxation produces dynamic power.
#4 Yodwicha – Clinch and Muay Khao (Knee) Specialist (35 min) – watch it here
Yodwich shared the Fighter of the Year award as only a 16 year old, and his success in the Lumpinee ring made him one of the most feared clinch fighters in Thailand. In this session he goes through his favorite Muay Khao techniques, shows why he prefers side-attack locks, and turns.
#3 Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn – The King of Knees (54 min) – watch it here
Dieselnoi is the greatest knee fighter who ever lived, and it just wasn’t because of his height. Spending this hour with him lets you feel how much love and energy he pours into his Muay Thai, even at this age, the real secret to what make him dominant in the Golden Age of the sport. There is nobody like Dieselnoi. Nobody.
#2 Joe Hongthong – Developing Muay Khao Style (87 min) – watch it here
This is nearly an hour and a half of straight on Muay Khao instruction. Joe was a top stadium fighter and he’s watched me fight for several years, so this is Advanced Level tweaking, as he teaches how to bring elbows and knees together, discussing the ways that dragging back can work for a forward fighter, and the differences with more technical (femur) approaches. Muay Khao is a technique unto itself.
#1 Pi Earn – Head Trainer of PTT Petchrungruang (34 min) – watch it here
PTT is the rising star of my gym Petchrungruang. He was so sought after he turned down title fights at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern and instead signed with Thai Fight where promoters feel he’s going to become an International star. Pi Earn has been a trainer who has sculpted PTT’s methodical Muay Khao fighting style, and in this session he starts right away making the tiny changes in my technique that are necessary for the strong, forward fighting approach that he favors.