Clinch Fighting

Updated: Sep 30

Clinch is a close-quarters competition or fight where the opponents are close engaged for traditional punching. Clinch fighting has been considered an intermediary position on the way to a takedown preceding grappling.

Clinch Fighting

It occurs when two opponents are in a stand-up fighting position 1 foot or less. The opponents have their hands on each other in a clinch.


Clinch Fighting techniques have been around for thousands of years. The popularity of MMA has increased the demand and needs to develop refined skills for Clinch Fighting both offensive and defensive.


The strategy of clinching an opponent was brought about to defeat an opponent's ability to use kicks, punches, and other striking weapons while transitioning the fight to the ground.


Many opponents use the clinch strategy as a bridge taking the stand-up fight to the ground with the use of takedowns, sweeps, or throws. Its popularity is seen in;

  • Amature Wrestling

  • Catch Wrestling

  • Judo

  • Muay Thai

  • Sambo

  • Wing Chun

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

  • Mixed martial arts.

Grappling Techniques In Clinch Fighting

The clinch position is an effectual medium for grapplers to launch into a commanding position in ground fighting. Many techniques can be applied depending on whether or not the opponents are wearing heavy enough clothing capable of withstanding grips and tugs used to gain leverage or unbalance them to set up throws.


Some fight disciplines do not need clothing at all. The double undertook is a popular move and is considered a favorable position allowing the user to perform throws and takedowns in many combat sports such as jui-jitus and wrestling.


It is considered a dominant position to be positioned behind the opponent commonly known as taking the back. It is very difficult for an opponent to defend from the back position. From the back, the aggressor can move to any number of chokes including the rear-naked choke.


Striking techniques With Clinch Fighting

There a plethora of strikes that can be thrown effectively from the clinch. Elbows and short looping punches such as hooks and uppercuts can be used effectively from the single collar tie position. Open palm strikes to the head, face, and cup hands stikes to he ears can be useful.


The distance between the opponents in the clinch cancels many kicks to some degree, however, many kicks are still powerful. Foot stomps, shin kicks, and even shorts kick to the knee are effective.


The double collar tie can be used to control an opponent while kneeing the head, ribs, or groin.


Submission Techniques With Clinch Fighting

Submission techniques from the front are few and far between. Very few can be employed effectively from a clinch position. The most well-known technique is the guillotine choke, which can be deployed from a single or double collar tie.


The opponent's height should be considered as its beneficial when applying a guillotine choke from the clinch, due to the leverage is needed to get the opponent to submit.


Other possible submissions from the clinch position are the arm triangle, rear-naked choke, Ezekiel choke and baseball bat choke.


Head and Flesh Maipuilation From The Clinch Position

The close proximity of the clinch invites gutterfighting tactics such as ear-biting, eye-gouging, and groin claw. The double tie position offers an advantageous hair-head and neck control.


Another sensitive area is the jugular notch or “neck dent”. It is a large, visible dip in between the neck in humans. Drive 1 or 2 fingers in and deep down behind.

Another sensitive area is the jugular notch or “neck dent”. It is a large, visible dip in between the neck in humans

Headbutts From The Clinch Position

The clinch position put opponents at the perfect range for a headbutt strike. Targets could include the nose, eyes, face and temple. Headbutts could be deployed incidentally or direct impact.


Clinch Fighting and Weapons

Clinch fighting largely thwarts the use of impact weapons like sticks and bats it does put your body in weapons range for edge weapons and must be a consideration. You must remain vigilant checking the opponent's hands and fingers constantly. If they disappear for a second it could mean the pulled out weapons from cover.


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