Muay Thai Clinch Counters to the Over-Under Position and Double Underhooks
Rambaa Somdet M16 is a world renowned Thai fighter who was the first Thai to hold an MMA world championship title. I’ve been training with him the last 10 days, leading up to some important fights. In these videos he shows me some escapes, counters or attacks against two “under” positions that are pretty common in Muay Thai. You can read about Rambaa’s gym in Pattaya here.
Counter in the Over/Under Clinch Position
This is a clinch position with one arm over and one arm under, those positions being relative to the opponent’s shoulders/arms. Imagine a hug, it’s like that. Because of the lock this can be tricky to get out of, as the forearms and hands locking behind or to the side of the neck “vice grips” you and it’s difficult to find an out before getting kneed or turned. Rambaa’s solution requires you to move quickly, slipping your shoulder under the”over arm” of your opponent and tucking your head into their shoulder as you step behind them. You have to slip your entire grip (but don’t let go, just let it noose around as you move) but once you reach the body position behind your opponent you can vice grip again and really take them down. Note: he seems to be able to go in both directions, but under the opponent’s over arm seems easiest. He also gives two options for what your legs do: 1) step wide with the leg on the same side you’re turning and pivot out, dragging your opponent down; or 2) keep your legs in place and tip your opponent over the leg on the side you’re pulling from (watch the video if that’s unclear).
Rambaa showing the attack/counter from the over/under clinch position, video above
Counter in the Double Underhook Muay Thai Clinch Position
The double underhook is less common in clinching, but it’s tricky to get out of without just stagnating and waiting for the ref to save you. What I like about Rambaa’s solution is that it starts out with the first way I ever learned to deal with a low-clinch lock, which is to drop your weight, and pinch down with the arms which can either break the lock immediately or at least significantly minimize the risk of being thrown. He drops his weight and calls that “balance,” which means his weight is on both feet, his hips are down and back but not too much “ass out” and it forces me into a similarly squatted position. From there he puts one hand on my lats and one on my head, then basically peels me to the side in one swift motion. He emphasizes the importance of speed for that peel-off, for the turn. From my own experience of trying it and from also being thrown by it, you don’t have to grip the head due to the leverage of your opponent being locked on you, but it definitely makes it more forceful if you can grip the head as you turn. Where the head goes, the body goes. The turn is tight, like a whip-down, not a slow pulling or dragging. Just twist toward your hip and grip the body on one side – they’ll fly.
Rambaa showing the counter to the double underhook Muay Thai clinch position, video above
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You can read an archive of all my articles on Muay Thai clinch here.