My Clinch Crush – Leverage in the Muay Thai Clinch Lock

This is about a moment in my last fight when I crushed my opponent to the ground in the clinch. She was so surprised that before even getting up...

This is about a moment in my last fight when I crushed my opponent to the ground in the clinch. She was so surprised that before even getting up off the canvas she immediately protested to the ref that this was a foul. He ignored her, because it wasn’t (and isn’t) a foul. In Muay Thai you cannot crush, or “back break” the low-back with a waist grab, but this was very far from that: this is a lock around the neck, one that’s pretty inescapable, and I used leverage to crush her down. Here’s the GIF of it below.

Crush Clinch GIF

Aside from this unexpected success, scoring an aesthetic edge in the round by giving a show of strength which is an important feature in my fighting style, I want to point out that this crush came out of countless hours of being crushed myself by Bank, Pi Nu’s son. I want to share it here because, though unorthodox, it’s a point of control that has been in progress for me for a while now.

It grew out of this hand position shown by Bank here: Video Tip: The Hand Position in the Muay Thai Clinch Lock. It’s not the exact same lock, but it evolved from my own experiments with it. My opponent here in this fight is Baifern. She’s a very experienced knee fighter, something uncommon among Thai female fighters. She likes to work to the double plumb and give strong straight, dramatic knees; she’s a knee fighter more than a clincher. She’s probably about 3 kilos bigger than me, and significantly taller. Her height works against her a little in this moment, once I get the lock in.

The lock becomes effective due to some disruptive bouncing I begin with, to show energy and destabilize my opponent. The bounce is something I only very recently added, really just this week, but already I feel very comfortable with it. I talk about the bounce here in my post Speeding Up My Game, Showing Energy on the Bag and in Clinch. When I start to bounce in this move I drag her backwards with me. She tries to put her hip in to take away any space I might have for knees. If I wasn’t locked in so hard, this would have been a good defensive move on her part. Instead, I feel the advantage and just crush down, collapsing the left side of her body. Important is that my head gets over on the side of the lock, on the same side that my gloves are on.

I’m not entirely sure how this is scored. It’s not something I’ve seen in any Muay Thai fight, male or female, and I’m sure the judges found it unexpected as well. No doubt gamblers poured money onto my side after this in the 2nd round. As the smaller fighter, if I’m not going to out-quick – and that’s not my style – I have to visibility demonstrate physical control over my bigger opponent. If we both have equal control over each other, as the bigger fighter she will just visibly appear to have more control of me. The burden of proof is on the smaller, not the bigger. Aside from landing knees, I have to move her, turn her, and at best put her on the ground or I just won’t appear to be winning.  In terms of scoring, I also could have and should have been more dramatic with my crush, the slowness here is something I probably have practiced against training partners, and it unconsciously followed me into the ring. I tend to lay my opponents down as if I’m putting them to bed. I need to finish stronger, as power aesthetics are a very important part in my score card, especially in what I’m trying to do as a Muay Khao, Muay Chon fighter. My opponents are attempting to look as un-affected as possible, even disinterested – you’ll see very smart ones when we clinch up look off into the imaginary distance, beyond the crowd, in a ho-hum way – and it is up to me to demonstrate how affected they really are.

So a thank you to Bank for painfully crushing my neck endlessly in practice, and putting me into inescapable positions. I’ve absorbed some of this and turned it into my own.

Here is Bank’s Demonstration of the Lock:

Here is the Full Fight if you Missed It:


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Muay ThaiMuay Thai ClinchTechnique

A 100 lb. (46 kg) female Muay Thai fighter. Originally I trained under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K) and Kaensak sor. Ploenjit in New Jersey. I then moved to Thailand to train and fight full time in April of 2012, devoting myself to fighting 100 Thai fights, as well as blogging full time. Having surpassed 100, and then 200, becoming the westerner with the most fights in Thailand, in history, my new goal is to fight an impossible 471 times, the historical record for the greatest number of documented professional fights (see western boxer Len Wickwar, circa 1940), and along the way to continue documenting the Muay Thai of Thailand in the Muay Thai Library project: see


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