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During the clinch or just prior to the clinch the opponent very often throws knees to the torso area. I am not considering whether the opponent has managed to pull the head down for knees to head.

Putting an arm down to block is a bad idea for various reasons eg. lose balance and get thrown down. not having a guard against elbows etc.

What techniques/defense measures exist to block those knees from impacting on the torso (stomach/rib cage/ thighs/ hips)?

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The idea is not to block the knees but put your arm on the opposite hip. I suggest you to look some UFC fight. –  Krokop May 24 at 1:18
@Krokop, are there no Thai boxers here to give a thorough answer? UFC will have some great techniques with more wrestling though. An arm on the opposite hip opens you up to an elbow easily. –  Vass May 24 at 14:05
It all depends on what your goal is. In muay thai they come regain control and staying the quark elbows. –  Krokop May 24 at 16:37

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If your opponent throws a knee while not in clinch a good way to stop it is to extend your arm (jab) to their chest. If you lean slightly into it your arm should reach longer than their knee. You may as well hit the chin instead of the chest.

If you are locked in the clinch you can try to throw your opponent off balance as soon as they lift their leg to throw the knee. You do this by rotating them in the direction of their standing leg. (If they throw right knee, you rotate to your right.) Moving their weight beyond their standing leg you may get the possibility of throwing them or to counter with a knee yourself (Right knee). This technique needs some practice because it's usually hard to see you opponents leg when locked in the clinch. You'll have to learn to sense it mostly from how their weight shifts.

Edit: Finally found a Video that shows the throw as a defense against a knee in the clinch: http://youtu.be/Co-rINOoMn8?t=5m15s and http://youtu.be/Co-rINOoMn8?t=18m55s

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great answer. I saw this a few times in training I think, by more experienced fighters. I wasn't exactly sure of how the mechanics worked. It makes sense and I will practice it :) –  Vass May 25 at 22:37
also, have you seen a technique of turning the body and placing the shin at the base of the opponent's thigh and then leaning on it while holding their head/neck with the leading arm? –  Vass May 25 at 22:40
I think what you're describing in the second comment is some kind of lock. It is sometimes used in a weak position in clinch because it immobilizes both opponents and will cause the referee to break up the clinch. –  kioopi May 29 at 12:52
Updated the answer with a link to a video. –  kioopi Jun 2 at 7:11
great videos! and perfect how you linked them to the timing to see immediately the move in action! I have been trying to get it to work in practice, but looks like I need more practice^^ they simply do not fall over like in the videos –  Vass Jun 2 at 16:42

I am not overly familiar with the rules, but I found the elbow to be very effective against knees. The elbow should make impact with the muscle of the upper leg, as connecting with the knee will be too dangerous for the defender.

Elbows are also great for "discouraging" kicks to the ribs and it has the added benefit of keeping your hands in a position to guard your face.

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First, you need to keep your own posture strong. Then you need to force them to stand up straight, usually by placing your own forearm across their face. They can't throw knees if they are standing up straight.

Second, you can force an arm between theirs, and then use it to lever yourself out of the clinch.

Or you can stand them up straight, grab the side of their arms, roll down like revving a motorcycle so that your hands are under their triceps, and then lift and if you are Matt Hughes strong, carry them and slam/throw them, or for the rest of us, do a de ashi barai.

You can also work on ways to trick their energy and as they go to come in on you, step in on them, and pop the elbow up and off, and then duck under to a side body-lock. This last one is difficult against a skilled clinch artist.

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From the clinch;

*Keep your posture and get your hips close to their hips so there is no way for them to generate the power to throw a knee. I.e. Close the distance. Be wary of trips or takedowns. Or do them yourself.

*As stated above; when they do a knee; especially one from the side, trip them to the opposite side; this works better when your hips are close to theirs; so after the above 'tip'

  • Block their hip with your elbow. If you're losing the clinch and they're breaking your posture down, use one hand on their hip to block the hip from generating any power. Be prepared to a sit out or a shot or to walk your hips below yourself and squat up again.

So: *don't let your posture be broken *close the distance

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good advice to not let the posture be broken. i had that happen last night when a guy brought me down from shear force on my neck and I couldn't squat enough –  Vass Jun 13 at 14:19

Although I've never had to experience, but somewhat familiar seeing it on MMA fights. I think the route I would go is to move into it. As they are pulling you in move it so close that they have to continue to step back to use their knees. As your stepping forward make sure to stomp their feet. At any point they loose balance take advantage or push out.

Another thought as when they clinch with their arms around your neck, pop their elbows up and hard, then collapse their arms exposing their face.

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block incomming knees with your own knee. must beat the timing and impose your. knee onto the opponets inner thigh area. generally this is a diagonal outward knee.

utub has too many video on thai clinch , everyone needs to use there utube resources.

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