Muay Thai Clinching: The Plum

Attacking and defending “in the clinch” is fundamental to Muay Thai. Unlike other kickboxing styles and in Western boxing, grappling with an opponent in Muay Thai is legal.

The Plum (a.k.a., Muay Thai Clinch, Muay Thai Plum, Thai Clinch, Double Collar Tie) is a clinch position where a fighter wraps both hands behind their opponent’s neck and pinches the forearms together. This technique can be used to control the posture and movement of an opponent, set up knee strikes, and trip or throw the other fighter. Read on to learn more about The Plum!

Grappling in Muay Thai

In the Muay Thai Plum, a fighter wraps their arms around the back of the opponent’s head, positioning their palms behind the opponent’s skull. The fighter typically interlocks their fingers for a secure grip and presses their forearms against the opponent’s collarbones. This creates a lock that’s difficult for the opponent to break.

General applications of the Plum include:

1. Defense: The Plum offers defensive benefits. By clinching tightly, a fighter can nullify the opponent’s striking game because it makes them unable to generate the necessary distance for powerful punches or kicks.

2. Control: & Off-Balancing: The Plum allows a fighter to control the opponent’s posture, put them off balance, and dictate the pace of the fight. This control can set up other striking combinations or defensive maneuvers. The Plum allows a fighter to control their opponent’s movement, restrict their striking abilities, and potentially tire them out by exerting pressure and forcing them to support the weight. In this clinch, fighters can use footwork and leverage to off-balance their opponent, making it easier to land strikes or set up throws.

3. Striking: The primary offensive move from the Plum is delivering knee strikes, which is a hallmark of Muay Thai, to the opponent’s body or head. These knee strikes are powerful and can cause significant damage. Fighters can deliver powerful knee strikes to their opponent’s body or head while in the clinch. Fighters can transition from the Plumn to deliver elbow strikes to their opponent’s head, especially if the opponent tries to counter or escape.

Head GMAU Muay Thai Instructor Nick Vasallo and a student

Advantages of the Plum

In Muay Thai, the Plum is important for a number of reasons:

1. Versatility: The Plum is a multi-faceted position that allows fighters to seamlessly transition between striking and grappling techniques. It provides a bridge between Muay Thai’s stand-up striking and close-quarters combat.

2. Control: When a fighter establishes the Plum, they gain significant control over their opponent’s head, neck, and posture. This control enables them to dictate the pace of the fight, set up strikes, and prevent their opponent from effectively countering.

3. Devastating Knee Strikes: The Plum is the gateway to delivering powerful knee strikes. Fighters can generate substantial force by using their hip movement and body mechanics, making these knee strikes highly effective for both scoring points and causing damage.

4. Tiring Opponents: Clinching and applying pressure in the Plum can wear down an opponent, sapping their energy and making them less effective in their striking game. This strategic advantage can pay dividends as the fight progresses.

5. Counterattacking: The Plum allows fighters to nullify an opponent’s strikes by controlling their limbs and distancing. This provides opportunities to counter with elbows, knees, or throws, making it an effective defensive and offensive tool.

6. Scoring Points: In Muay Thai competitions, effective clinch work can score points with judges. Clean knee strikes and control in the Plum can sway the outcome of rounds in a fighter’s favor.

7. Tactical Advantage: A fighter skilled in the Plum can exploit an opponent’s weaknesses, adapt to different opponents’ styles, and strategically choose when to engage in close-quarters combat.

Incorporating the Plum effectively into a fighter’s repertoire demands mastery of balance, timing, and technique. Its importance goes beyond being just a technique; it’s a strategic tool that enhances a fighter’s overall game, making them a more well-rounded and formidable competitor in the ring.

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