How To Defend Yourself by Fighting “Dirty” In A Clinch


Today, we’re going to learn how to fight in the clinchThis is where we’re going to get up close and dirty.

How To Defend Yourself by Fighting “Dirty” In A Clinch

We’re going to be grabbing our opponent around the neck and being in tight with him and fight dirty. Here we’re going to be using our headbutts and elbows and knees. This is a great self-defense tactic. And the reason why is this that people are natural born punchers. If anybody who hasn’t had any training and they could still fight a little bit, they know how to hit. That’s kind of their main thing.

Principle One: The Clinch Smothers An Opponent’s Punches

With the clinch fighting you can get inside of his punches, just like a boxer does. When a boxer gets in trouble, he’s on the ropes and he doesn’t want the guy to hit him anymore. What does he do? He clinches. He wraps up his arm, grabs around the head, holds him tight, holds him close and it’s too close to get off a good punch a lot of times. So, it kind of smothers the punches.

That’s what we’re doing here with our clinch. We’re coming in and we’re grabbing the guy around the neck and smothering his offense with his fist. So, this is a good way again to deal with an attacker in the street because you don’t have to trade blows with him.

If you trade punches with him and if he’s not trained a whole lot, or if he’s kind of on par with you, and if you clinch him like this he can’t really get a good punch off and you can deliver some fight ending damage while you’ve got him smothered.

It’s kind of like a way of of holding him and hitting him at the same time. That’s really what you should do. You’re going to hold him and hit him with your head or your elbow and stuff like this. So, clinching is very effective in this regard. It’s kind of a nice compliment really to the kicking range.

Smothers the punches – Hold your opponent tightly and hit him with your head or elbow.

With kicking we’re standing outside of his punches. When we come into the clinch we’re passing through that punching range and we’re smothering his punches again. So kicking range avoids the punches by staying too far away and causing damage while clinching avoids the punches by smothering them and being too close and causing damage. So, it’s a very good way to fight for that range reason and taking away his punches.

With clinching you can stay close and yet avoid the punches by smothering your opponent

Principle Three: Headbutt or Use Your Elbow Or Knee

We know that the human head is very hard. The skull is quite solid. People have called the human head like a bowling ball with teeth. It’s not something that you always want to hit with your fist if you’re not comfortable with that and hitting the right targets. You don’t want to hit someone on top of the head.

I’ve broken my own hand in a kickboxing match by throwing a punch and the guy ducked in and and I hit him on top of the head. So you can break your fist on someone’s head. Not that punches are bad for self defense. We see that they’re good for self defense. It’s just one of the cons. Everything has a pros and cons. That’s one of the cons of punching – you can hurt your fist.

With clinching, instead of using your fist, you may try headbutt, or your elbow or knee.

With clinching, you’re using weapons like your headbutt which is very solid for the same reason. You’re not going to break your head on a headbutt. You’re going to use your elbow. This is a big bone. So, when you come in close to  your opponent, smash him with your elbow. You’re less likely to hurt yourself on his head with your elbow. And the same goes for the knee.

So, I think for these two reasons – the smothering effect of the clinch and the fact that the weapons that you’re using in a clinch that are the headbutt, the elbow and the knee – they’re just a more solid piece of equipment. For these reasons, I think, the clinch is a great idea for self-defense.

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Father of eight, Dr. Scott Sullivan is the chief instructor at Bam Bam Martial Arts in Houston, TX. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and is a seasoned martial arts instructor with over 30 years of experience. A firm believer that martial arts really does help people become more fit, safe, and happy, he remains vigilant about helping people improve their lives through martial arts.