Learning Advanced Clinch Technique from Yodwicha – Side Attack Patreon Preview
above is a couple of minutes of Yodwicha working with me on his side attack, you can see the full 34 minute session by joining my Patreon Muay Thai Library here with a suggested pledge of $5
You can see footage from my first session with Yodwicha here
Yodwicha’s Side Attack in Clinch
In this video clip Yodwicha is showing me a technique to slip over to a side lock. He times it with the arms swimming for position and makes his move when his arm is on the outside of my arm. When someone has an inside position on you, so they’re grabbing your neck and your arm is outside their grip, the trick is to use the opponent’s shoulder as a vector point and move around toward that same side in order to basically put them in a tie hold where their own shoulder/arm is pinned. I mis-spoke in the voiceover and say it’s like a “half nelson,” but that’s not what a half nelson is. Hahaha, sorry. But it is similar to a wrestling or grappling move in how you use the shoulder joint as the weak point of your opponent to change position. I have a hard time with it due to the height difference between me and Yodwicha, but the aim is to get behind your opponent’s shoulder and force it forward – the whole body will bend with it.
Yodwicha also times this slip-over-to-the-side move with knees (he times everything), so you make your move when your opponent is on one leg. He whips around so fast that he ends up putting me in something a headlock and is to the side of me, rendering any counter I might imagine totally impractical. You can see also how he positions his own lock so that his forearm is on the side of my neck – if he puts the squeeze on me from that position it’s really, really painful. He also adds a kind of jerking down motion as he slips behind you for good measure, which makes a knee to the face a probability as well, and importantly rotates around moving behind.
What’s interesting about this move, and about Yodwicha’s system in general, is that a lot of clinching is forward and backward. Lateral movement or turns are used just to off-balance and throw a knee. But Yodwicha in this approach does very little forward and backward once he’s actually engaged in the clinch and his whole operation is slipping around to the side of his opponent in order to gain a side-lock. It’s an incredibly advantageous position, if you can work out of it. In my own clinching, I often make an error in getting myself turned sideways and then can’t attack. But if you slip around to the side of your opponent, so you are at their side and not turned sideways yourself, plus having a solid lock, there’s not a lot they can do and a whole hell of a lot that you can do. From this side-lock, Yodwhicha uses the blade of his forearm on the side of the neck, which is a nerve and pinching there can both weaken the opponent as well as just be so painful that it’s hard for the opponent to counter. Some clinch strategy is wrenching and pulling, but Yodwicha’s clinch is largely getting into your blind spot, which is very cool.
GIFs from the Full Session
Below are four GIFs from the full session so readers can get a few nuggets of what is covered.
The Door Stop Tip
Timing with the knee, Yodwicha attacks the standing leg to off-balance and probably throw someone down if he weren’t being polite to me. If you look at this GIF you can see he uses the bottom of his foot against the front of my ankle, right where the top of my foot meets my shin. I believe this is technically a foul, but everyone does it. What is important is to do it very swiftly. A good way of thinking about it is that you just use that foot as a stopper and the real power of the off-balancing comes from up top, where he pulls my shoulders into himself while the foot holds my leg in place. It’s not so much that you are kicking the leg out from under someone who is otherwise stable, it only appears that way when you do it quickly. You don’t really kick with that foot, you just hold the standing leg in place and pull the body over it.
His timing on this is so beautiful. I’ve got the inside position and a solid hold on the back of his neck, so you know I’m going to try to turn him counter-clockwise with a big step to my right. He waits for that and pops my arm up as I turn, then uses his left arm on my neck to whip me around and practically take my back. Look at his foot positions in this GIF, how he steps/rotates at exactly the same time I do and uses my own energy against me. From that side position at the end there he could just nail my ribs with a nice knee as I’m falling.
The Shrug Off
This one is the inverse of the move just above. Instead of pulling me toward my own potential right step, Yodwicha takes the outside position and then uses his own shoulder to knock my grip off his neck. The part I always forget (Sangtiennoi taught me a variation of this) is pulling your head back so that the glove clears – you can see him pull his face away as his shoulder pushes forward, that part is important. But, again, once he’s pushed me off from my grip my left arm is going to be across my body and if Yodwicha closed his grip it would be caught between us, making his move to the side position incredibly easy. He can also use my shoulder joint potentially as a vector point.
The Yodwicha Squeeze
Here he’s showing me how to use the blade of the forearm in the lock. It’s painful even with gloves on and you can see him point to the range where you want contact, which is basically from the base of the thumb to midway up the forearm. He has his thumb turned toward himself, which is important for really getting the blade of the bone on the neck instead of the flat part of the wrists, which is what you’ll get if you turn your thumb upward (ie, make this lock palm to palm, not palm to back of the hand) – Bank taught me a similar lock dynamic (palm to palm), but used for squared up locking. Yodwicha instead uses this palm to palm forearm lock pressure in a rotating side attack. You don’t pull with the arm that has the bone on the neck (you don’t squeeze with that arm), you just use it as a bar; all the leverage comes from the other arm, which grips the palm or wrist (he cups with his hand, which is harder to do in gloves but it’s more or less the same thing) and squeezes with his left arm (I squeeze with my right because I grab with my left; Yodwicha is Southpaw). It’s also worth mentioning that the shoulder of his “bar” arm tenses and pushes forward to solidify his lock and add to the leverage for the crank. Watch his right shoulder as he shows me the squeeze.
Side Attack on Entry
In the GIFs above you can see a number of techniques Yodwicha uses to get to the side from an engaged clinch. What I love about this one is that he just gets right to the side on his clinch entry. No messing about. He, like all the greats I’ve worked with, uses teeps and long-range weapons to corral his opponent into the ropes, then he fakes a teep but then just steps outside of me and loops his arm around my neck to get that side position, practically taking my back, and driving a knee into my open front straight away. If you have an opponent who is bigger or likes to lean on the ropes, this is a perfect way to cut that out – you can’t lay on the ropes when someone is behind you. Look at the close placement of his right fight, at my outside foot, touching it. Despite, or perhaps because of his length, one of the difficult things about Yodwicha is that he uses a side attack, which compliments his teeps and knees.
Below is an excerpt from my Patreon Only post which has the full session:
For my own purposes, I want to learn clinch from Yodwicha. The thing about Muay Khao (knee fighters) is that they have to be relentless and always pushing. Because Yodwicha can clinch, too, which doesn’t always occur in tandem with knee fighting, his style includes locks and turns that are really beautiful. He’s like a ring shark. I was really excited to work with him this second time – – because I’d learned a great deal from our first encounter and he’s an incredibly nice and patient instructor as well. I’m amazed at how well he can actually engage in clinch with me given our size disparity, which I believe is a testament to his thorough understanding and skill within the specialized art of clinching. Because we’d worked together before he built on some things we’d already covered, but I also was much more comfortable and so I was able to move with him and learn on the fly in a much less structured and far more organic exchange than our first lesson.
Here are some of the aspects covered in this session:
- Catching the arm of your opponent as they’re trying to grab your neck on clinch entry
- Controlling and “steering” from the elbow joints
- Locking behind the elbow for leverage
- Pushing with your forearm behind the neck as an alternative to pulling the neck
- The advantages to always angling for side-control
- Timing for turns and throws
- Agreeing with Dieselnoi and Yodkhunpon, “don’t lean back” on straight knees
- Bend in the knees for constant control and flexibility
- Using the shoulder for escapes and turns
You can read all my articles on Muay Thai Clinch here
Go and train with Yodwicha Yourself at Kem’s Muaythai Gym in Khorat
The Muay Thai Patreon Library
You can get immediate access to not only this 30+ minute commentary session with living clinch Legend Yodwicha, but also to over 7 hours of long form video of private sessions with some of the biggest names in Muay Thai history. This is an unparalleled collection of technique, some of it threatened to be lost with the passage of time. This is my documentation project to preserve and communicate not only the techniques, but also the strategies of the best that have lived and fought. These are videos meant to be studied over and over. So join the support of the project and learn along with me, for a suggested pledge of $5.
What you will find in the Library so far:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dieselnoi pt 2 – 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.
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.
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 the 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.