Note*** Sean Fagan (Muay Thai Guy) is an online friend. In this review I try to provide an unbiased look at his course. There are affiliate links in this article.***
Clinching is one aspect of Muay Thai that is often neglected in the West. For many Westerners, clinching simply means grabbing two hands around someone’s neck and trying to jerk it down as hard as possible. The old MMA highlight of Anderson Silva’ destroying Rich Franklin with knees in the clinch is what defines clinching in most non traditional Muay Thai gyms. The truth is, clinching is so much more than just grabbing your arms around your opponent’s neck. It is a complete art form in itself.
Knowing how to clinch is something that is necessary if you want to become a good Muay Thai fighter. You could be the best striker in the game, but if you don’t know how to clinch you will get destroyed in a fight. The problem that most people have is they don’t have access to a good gym that teaches clinching.
If your trainer doesn’t know how to clinch properly, there is a good chance he won’t be able to teach you the clinch.
Sean is attempting to solve that problem with his new course “Clinch King.” He spent 6 months in Thailand working on his skills in the clinch and this course is a result of what he learned.
“Clinch King” is an online video course that is designed to walk you through the basics of the different moves in the clinch. Sean took advantage of his trip to Thailand and recruited the help of some his Thai trainers to help him produce this clinch course. Here are some of my thoughts on Sean’s course. (I was provided full access for this review)
Here is a sample of a move that you will learn in Sean’s course:
What To Expect
Once you register with “Clinch King” you will be mailed a username/password that you can use to log into the site. I never went through the initial purchasing process, but you would you get an email after you buy the course giving you instructions on how to sign up.
Sean breaks his video course down into 5 General categories: Basic Positions, Elbows, Knees, Sweeps, and Defensive Maneuvers. Each category is designed to cover a different aspect of the clinch.
He also offers 2 bonus categories: Neck and Grip and Clinch Breakdowns and Analysis (by Lawrence Kenshin).
Each module contains roughly 8-10 videos breakdowns of specific techniques or combos. In each video he rates the technique from beginner/intermediate/advanced to make it easier for beginners to work on the more basic techniques.
The videos range from 1-5 minutes in length with a description on how to perform each technique. In most of the videos, Sean breaks down the technique with his Thai trainer from Diamond Muay Thai.
Sean does a really good job of breaking down each technique and tries to explain the basic movements before demonstrating each move. His goal is to try and simplify everything so learning at home will be easy for you to follow.
I liked Sean’s ability to breakdown some of the complicated movements into an understandable and simple format that is easy to follow.
Who Is It For?
This video course is designed for people who are looking to learn how to clinch. Sean does a good job of covering a lot of the basics you would learn clinching in Thailand. For a lot of people who are training at MMA gyms or kickboxing gyms that don’t offer proper clinching, this course can help you learn some of the basics.
Ideally, you should have a partner who is willing to work with you through these different techniques so you can practice them as you go along. Since the clinch is something that you need to do with a partner, you wouldn’t get the same benefit if you purchased this course and didn’t have someone to clinch with.
If you currently train at a gym that emphasizes clinching, then you should already know a lot of the techniques that are covered in this course. Similarly, if you have had the luxury of clinching in Thailand, you won’t get as much benefit from this course as someone who hasn’t.
This course is ideally suited for someone who doesn’t have much experience in the clinch and wants to improve their game.
Is It Worth It?
At $47, “Clinch King” falls within the standard price range of most digital products that you purchase online. Considering how much private lessons are back home, I would consider this a good deal.
The big question is should you get it? Well, my honest answer is that it depends on your skill level and expectations.
Beginners in the Clinch
When I first started training Muay Thai back in 2006 I trained at a gym that didn’t even cover the Muay Thai clinch. My knowledge of the clinch consisted of the wrapping two hands around my opponents neck and jerking it down. Thinking back to those days, a course like this would have been great in helping me understand some of the different movements in the clinch.
Since a lot of people don’t have access to quality Muay Thai gyms sometimes learning on your own time is the best method available. In today’s day and age, you can be self taught if you have the focus and discipline to actually apply the things that you learn online. This course is a great option for people who don’t have access to a quality Muay Thai gym.
People Who Clinch, But Don’t Feel Comfortable
If you have clinched before, but don’t feel comfortable doing it, this video series can help give you new moves and techniques to focus on in the clinch. The course covers a lot of moves that you can use when you are clinching with partners in your gym.
“Clinch King” is well suited for people who want to learn different moves like positioning, elbows, knees,and entry into the clinch.
If you don’t have any experiencing clinching, this video course will give you a lot of techniques and stuff to work on in training. With a good training partner you can slowly work to add some of the different techniques into your Muay Thai arsenal.
For People Experienced in the Clinch, Fighters, or Training in Thailand
If you are experienced in the clinch this course is not for you. This course is better suited for people who aren’t comfortable in the clinch and want to improve their clinching game. While you might learn a few new techniques that you don’t know, you should already of a good understanding of the clinch.
The Final Word
Buying this course is not going to magically make you better in the clinch, but it can provide you with some techniques to work on in training. If you want to get better in the clinch, you have to work on it. If you do purchase “Clinch King,” you should be focused on working on these techniques over and over until they become second nature.
The hard truth about getting good in the clinch is you have to do a lot of clinching. Once you learn the basics in the clinch, there are so many more nuances that you learn by clinching with people who are better than you. Just like Muay Thai sparring, you have to continually do it in a live situation if you want to get better and improve.
Clinching is a lot like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You might know exactly how to perform a sweep on your partner, but unless you are actively practicing that sweep in training you will never actually learn it. This is why it is important to actively practice your clinch against partners who are trying to resist you.
If you have the luxury of training at a Muay Thai gym that emphasizes the importance of the clinch, consider yourself lucky. Most gyms don’t do much clinching because they don’t offer a traditional Muay Thai training. This is especially true if you are training at a Kickboxing or MMA gym.
If you don’t have the opportunity to train at a gym that teaches proper clinching techniques you should definitely consider picking up “Clinch King.” There is a lot of good information in the course can help you improve your clinch game.
Here is another sample video from his course: