Sylvie’s Tips – Counter to the Wall of China Block and More
In Sylvie’s Tips I try to capture on video various small techniques that I run into while training. The way that it happens in Thailand, things are seldom taught to you in the form of formal instruction, rather they come up suddenly in training and then are gone. I’m pretty shy, so it’s hard actually go around and request these things; I don’t want to stop everyone and have them repeat things for the camera. In this case though we arrived at O. Meekhun gym to find organized instruction being given to Phetjee Jaa and one of the boys named Yee. The guy teaching them is named Long and I’ve never seen him before or since. He was just dolling out interesting techniques. I have no idea how he ended up there but I reckon he ran into them at the fights the night before, and in fact Phetjee Jaa’s father Sangwean didn’t really seem to be all that happy about it, but it was good stuff. So Kevin grabbed a camera and captured a few pieces as maybe these are things that can help others out there. They certainly helped me – I wasn’t even involved in the instruction but I’ve worked them into my clinch practice. The view isn’t always great, but it is something. In the video is Phetjee Jaa, the best pound for pound female fighter in Thailand.
The block we call the “Wall of China” is extremely common among female Thai fighters in Thailand. It’s a regular part of the femur fighter arsenal. It works to lock up an aggressive fighter, using a horizontal leg, and the grip on the arms to neutralize. When you first start fighting out here, coming from the west, you may not realize that opponents are scoring with this move. No strike is thrown, but because the aggressor is seen to be controlled, when fighting defensively this definitely can add a fighter’s overall impression. Knowing how to counter the Wall of China is an important part of learning how to adapt to fighting women (and men) in Thailand.
Pin Counter to the Wall of China
Here Long shows how to pin the shoulders and step back from the Wall of China block. I’ve learned to step back, taking the pressure off the leg, and attempt to arch a knee over the block – it helps to initially pressure into the leg first (thus causing a counter push by your opponent), and then to suddenly step back – but Long adds an important element, pinning the shoulders first. You’ll see at the end of the video when Phetjee Jaa attempts the move, she does not pin the shoulders, instead staying in the arm lock she largely uses, and this leads to a few problems with distance.
Knee Grab Counter to the Wall of China
Above Long shows how to counter the Wall of China by a hand to the face, and the grab of the elevated knee. The push to the face is an important first step in getting the opponent leaning back. The cupping of the neck and pull down then completes the move.
Counter to the Counter of the Face Smush
Above. The “face smush” is one of the most dependable counters to the double inside collar “Thai plumb”. If aggressively done it is very effective. I’ve never seen this counter to the counter, but as I’ve been working on the arm lock like this, this is something I’ll definitely add.
Arm Trap Counter to the Jab
Above, this is Phetjee Jaa and me blocking out an arm trap counter to the jab offered by Long. At this point Long came over to Phetjee Jaa and me, who were sparring, and offered a few technical tricks. (We were actually just supposed to be sparring, free-style boxing; he couldn’t help himself and turned 15 minutes of it into a drill.)
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