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"So You Wanna Knee Like a Thai?" Part 2 - Generating Power

From Coach Jason Webster, a multi-part series on clinch & knee fighting.

  1. Part 1 - Anchoring
  2. Part 2 - Generating Power
  3. Part 3 - Forward Intent
  4. Part 4 - Engaging with Forward Pressure
  5. Part 5 - Negative Pressure

Power is generated by the circular motion of the hip (just like the kick). My belief is because as Westerners we are habituated to stick-and-move type fighting and frankly abhor that level of close and intimate beatdown. This one is simpler but just as elusive. For some reason this concept and type of movement is radically hard for most to adopt. But here's the facts: you'll have FAR more opportunities to strike your opponent with the circular type knee than you will the straight knee.

The majority of your knees during 'prum' (clinch drills) should be these types of circular motions for two major reasons. One, they are essential to punishing your opponent when you are tightly clinched (a high percentage of the time in clinch); making space to knee by extending your arms gives your opponent equal opportunity to attack or just releases offensive pressure. And two, the movement more closely approximates how you WANT to knee. Like Langsuan, you should be moving your opponent in a direction other than center then using that anchor to launch the knee. Simple example: while clinched you pull hard on the left arm causing your opponent to spin slightly to your left. As his or her feet thud on the canvas and continues to move slightly away from you (impeded in part by your arms entwined around his or her neck) your body becomes slightly stretched out with the right leg almost straight. But with your left hip turned partially already (because your arms are around the neck), the most natural movement is for the hip to 'close' -- producing a circular motion.

Study these following videos of training in a Thai camp. Each clip has a section of fighters working prum. While there's a lot going on (hey, it's a camp full of pro Muay Thai fighters) I would request you really try to focus on just the clinching knees. Make a mental note of how close your clinch practice is to it. Also you might reflect on why your movements do or don't reflect what you see in the videos.

(NEXT POST...The core pre-requisite to seeking the clinch.)