Mar 21, 2008

Effectively Closing the Distance to Clinch (Randy Couture)

As per reader request of Chih Lin-

He asked "How do you effectively close the distance on someone with a reach advantage?"

Two years ago, this was exactly the problem I tried to solve by myself, and with that, started my path to learning about the clinch, and ultimately, the ground game. Now, I'm not short by any standards (5'11'') but it just so happens that fighting, especially MMA and Muay Thai, attracts a lot of, forgive my language, tall motherf@#$ers.

The video that taught me how to close the distance the most effectively was this video by Randy Couture (important bits starts around 1:50):

He calls it an Elbow Destruction, but it's one of the many techniques used in the school of thought I follow when it comes to closing the distance... I call it "Crash and Grab"

At its very core, it works in two ways:


  • Bait opponent into attacking
  • Shell up, cover chin and foward side of head as he shows (For just Muay Thai, I'd use the Crazy Monkey Defense)
  • Simultaneously slip punch and shoot forward
  • Crash into opponent
  • Pummel into clinch
  • Use a overhand/stiff jab/low kick to distract opponent while ducking low and shooting forward (Don't drop your rear hand)
  • Crash into opponent
  • Pummel into clinch

As a one sentence summary: it's waiting/causing the opponent to move either forward or back, and using a short burst of aggressiveness, moving forward.

Unfortunately, against taller people, waiting it out for your opponent to open himself up to safely shoot in often ends up with you catching a misjudged punch in the face, so this proactive game plan works best, whether wrestling or kickboxing, against taller opponents. Don't just shell up and stay there, either (something I used to do). If you don't move forward, you're going to eventually let a few shots through, and when you're not sparring with big gloves on, like in MMA, that's a recipe for disaster. Dive in, get the clinch, use your Wresting, Judo, or other grappling style to take your opponent down, and finish him with a little Jiu Jitsu or Ground and Pound.

So, in short: Be proactive and aggressive, and you will prevail.

PS- this fellow seems to have all or most of the Couture Videos of the series:


Chih Lin said...

Thank you! I will definitely try to implement some of the strategies that you posted in regards to closing the distance with someone who has a reach advantage.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

yeah, this was an awesome post!

Punch Kick Choke said...

you are very much welcome- feel free to shoot me any more questions.

thanks for reading :)