Building a Better Muay Thai Clinch Fighter (Part 4 – “The Body Lock”)

While the Double Neck Tie is a very strong, dominant position, it is also limited in what one can do.  As mentioned previously, the only real practical technique from this position is the straight knee attack.  One of the first defenses a fighter learns against the Double Neck Tie is the Body Lock Clinch.  When a fighter feels his opponent closing the pincher-like grip of the Double Neck Tie, he steps into his opponent and drops down a little to grasp his opponent under the arms and around the shoulder blades.

Just as fighters practice the Double Neck Tie with Neck Wrestling Drills (sometimes called “Getting Dressed”), fighters practice fighting for the Body Lock by pummeling in or swimming… reaching one arm in at a time to snake in under their opponents arm to lock the body or control the shoulder.

It is important to understand that a proper Body Lock Clinch does not extend below your opponent’s shoulders.  When grasping your opponent around the body, you must keep your arms up into their armpits.  If the arms go lower, the referee will immediately step in to break the clinch.  Needless to say, the “Crack-Back” technique of clinching around your opponents lower back and pulling in while pressing forward with your own shoulders is illegal, and a fighter may be disqualified for doing so.

The Illegal “Crack-Back”

When a fighter succeeds in grasping his opponent around the body properly, he now has two options.  He may knee, which usually consists of short thrusting knees to his opponents thighs and hip, or he may lift and throw.  A fighter must be careful while lifting and throwing.  Lifting his opponent up in the air (off of his feet) is illegal.  Therefore, a fighter can just lift enough to initiate a throw.  Fighters do so by bumping their hips forward to disrupt their opponents center of gravity, then use a knee bump on the outside of their opponent’s thigh to turn them sideways and dumping them to the canvas.  Fighters who discover themselves being lifted in this way are trained to spread their legs wide, allowing them to get their feet under them no matter which direction they are twisted.

A fighter finds himself in the Body Lock Clinch has options to reverse this clinch.  One of the simplest methods is to use wrestling “overhooks” to trap both of your opponents biceps, then driving your hips back to not only break the hold, but to them slam your own knees back into your opponent.  Another method is to turn sideways so that the fighter can snake one of his arms in between his opponent’s arms, then turning this into an arm lock with your opponent’s head bent over your knee.  Another variation is to use your own head to press against your opponent’s head to create room for your to snake your hand in and push your opponent’s head away as you step to the side and deliver your own knee strikes.

While rules changes in Muay Thai have made the Body Lock Clinch less effective position than it once was, this is still a powerful clinch position when uitlized properly and is important for a fighter’s arsenal.

(Next:  Head & Bicep Control)


About khunkaogym

Kru Brooks Miller has been training in both Muay Thai & Boxing since 1992. He is a 3x Muay Thai champion in 3 different weight classes. His "Khun Kao Promotions" was the first to feature full rules Muay Thai competition in the state of Virginia (DC Metro Showdown - Feb. 23, 2008 in Lansdowne, VA). He currently assists Operation Octagon Productions promote the "Thai Championship Boxing" Muay Thai series and coaches his fight team in Alexandria, VA Kru Brooks is available for Muay Thai seminars. For more information, contact
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