Clinch Techniques

I am looking for good websites or books with clinch techniques. Mainly focusing on clinch throws and elbow strikes/workouts.

Any advice would be helpful.

#1. RTFA


Muay Thai and San Shou are like cousin arts, and share some common features. They are both arts that have developed clinch fighting to a high degree. However, the current formats have changed what it is that they do in that clinch.

Muay Thai and San Shou do almost the exact opposite thing in the clinch. For Muay Thai, the defender wants to stand upright, with your hips close to reduce the room for knees. The attacker wants to shift their hips back a bit to create room for those strikes.

For San Shou, the defender wants to pull their hips back and base out so they are not thrown. The attacker wants to drive forward and get close. If the defender were to stand straight up, hips close, they would get thrown.

making any sense yet? :)

A Muay Thai defensive postion gets you thorwn. A San Shou defensive position open s you up for knees.

Currently, a lot of san shou fighters have sloppy shoots. They go in with the head down. With knees, this would get them KTFO. Then again, we discourage it in san shou as well! If you look at the world tapes, with the higher level fighters, you will see guys get KTFO from kicks when they bend their heads down. It is not a proper technique

My guys, because they cross train not only in knees but also in submission, know to keep their heads up (not to eat the knee, not to get guillotined).

Of course, there is also the fact that when you try to knee, you are only on one leg. Muay Thai already has within it many ways of grabbing the knee and exploiting this weakness, but of course in San Shou you are not limited in how you can throw the guy once you've grabbed the knee. Particularly grape vining the leg and hooking between the leg works and both are illegal in current Muay Thai.

In a san da format, a fighter has to alternate between the knee game and the throwing game. The knee would prevent sloppy shoots, but as MMA has shown, would not eliminate them totally.

Elbows would not change the game much, they are close range strikes, meaning that using them also puts you close enough to throw.

blocking the knee strike There are several methods of blocking a straight knee strike. The first and foremost line of defense is to maintain the superior position in the clinch and launch your own attack. Neck wrestling to obtain the inside position must be practiced diligently. Of course, there are times when one loses the superior position. In these cases, you must use one of the other defensive methods.

a) push hips to defend

b) cross arm block (catch and throw)/elbow point block Use the forearms to shield you against the blows. You can either cross them and attempt to catch or use the drop elbow cover and rolling forearm to deflect.

c) front body lock

If seized around the neck, you can defend by seizing your attacker around the waist and pulling them into you (called a front body lock). The front body lock will not give your opponent the room to execute the knee strike. With the front body lock you can also throw your opponent. Lift them off the ground and once the feet leave the ground, you can turn your waist to throw them to the ground.

3. other defenses vs. double neck hold ("plum") a) place arm across body to set up elbow strikes b) "crowbar" to break hold c) "open windows" defense, push

San Shou is a sport that also incorporates striking in addition to it's throwing and thus the decision was made from its inception to use gloves. The decision to use gloves for the striking portion means that san shou free sparring (what the Judo people refer to as Randori) and sport san shou (what the Judo people refer to as Shiai) does not allow for the use of various gripping methods.

Thus, San Shou throwing for the most part involves hooking or hugging with the arms. There are many ways of classifying and describing the many throwing techniques found in San Shou. However, I have found it most useful to divide them into three major categories

1. Throws after kick catches. San Shou fighters are quite found of catching kicks and then attempting to either sweep out the supporting leg or attempting an actual throw. These are probably the most common and successful throwing techniques used in actual competition for the following reason. As throwing is such a big part of San Shou almost all the fighters learn and practice sinking their base and sprawling. Many also use many forms of cross face and head manipulations. It is often very hard to clinch or shoot in on a san shou fighter and in the process of doing so, you often get hit and or kicked. The hit/kick will score points against you. At the same time, you may not actually complete your throw and thus may get NO POINTS. Say I try and clinch and you kick my leg and land a solid head shot (1 point each = 2 points lost). I try and throw you but I am unsuccessful and the referee breaks us. I scored nothing. I am now losing 2 to 0.
2. Throws from the "shoot" Using the "shoot", i.e. Lowering your level and driving forward to attack the legs. Quite effective against an overly aggressive striker as MMA has demonstrated but not without it's possible problems. In san shou, many have excellent sprawls. A failed shoot and good sprawl will put you on the ground, face down, and you will loose points. In fact, the San Shou idea is that points are warded for any position that would be bad in a real combat situation. Often, when dropping to one knee to shoot, if your forward momentum is stopped, you lose a point as well. Even if you are not flattened out. Poor shoots also result in scores against you from strikes as you enter (as above). Still shooting for the legs remains popular in san shou, especially in international competition among big wrestling countries like Iran, Egypt and Russia.

3. Throws from upper body clinching Blocking punches and kicks often leads to upper body clinching. From this position there are a number of throws used in san shou such as hip throws, out reaping sweeps, head and arm throws, lifting throws (suplex), etc. This is perhaps the hardest throw to get because of the sinking and sprawling that san shou fighters do. In fact, it is often only used against kickboxing and Muay Thai fighters in San Shou competition because we feel they will not be well versed in such defenses. Sorry guys :) It would be very hard to explain the kick catches and throws from the first category, sorry and let me think about it. As for the techniques we use from the shoot in order or preference/success;

1. Single leg (head outside)

2. Double leg tackle

3. Single leg with inner hooking

4. Double leg lifting

5. Single leg into knee sweeping

As for the techniques we use from the upper body clinch in order or preference/success;

1. Cross body step throw (Taioshi in Judo?)

2. Hip throw

3. Outer reaping sweep

4. Head and arm throw

5. Shoulder throw

Another issue in San Shou regarding throwing is whether to go for high points or impact. In San Shou, a throw you complete while remaining standing over your opponent is the highest scoring, like an total victory in Sambo. Thus, many fighters focus on these throws. However, there is also a school of thought that even though they only win 1 point, a throw in which you drive your opponent into the ground and land on top of them (an impact throw) will do a lot of damage, fatigue your opponent and win the match for you just as well. Most of the impact throws I use come from the Russian and former Soviet San Shou teams. With their sambo background they developed a lot of very nasty high impact throws. We mix them in with the high score throws to test the waters. If we think a person is weak at falling and has no base, we up the impact throws

The following is from the upcoming NYKKA San Shou manual; A wide variety of throws and takedowns allow you to use them in response to many situations, from many different positions and by utilising and attacking almost every part of the body. For the purposes of definition, a full body throw involves both of the attacker's feet leaving the ground as the body goes up and over your centre of gravity. A takedown is a much simpler undertaking. Any technique which puts the attacker on the ground and which is not a full body throw is considered a takedown. Full body throws can be devastating but are more difficult to set up and complete. A takedown is much easier to set up and complete. The disadvantage of takedowns is that they seldom disable the opponent and thus require a submission technique to complete the encounter. There are many ways of classifying the many throwing and takedown techniques but only a few points are truly important when actually executing them. Upper body throws (hip throw, shoulder throw, etc.) Generally require pulling and/or turning. Lower body throws (single leg, double leg, inner hooking, etc.) Are more "drive and push" ("shoot" in or penetration step). There are also lifting throws (front lifting, rear lifting, fireman's carry, etc.). Lifting throws are by far the most dangerous (to the opponent) but require excellent leg and hip strength. To achieve a lifting throw, you need to lower your level, pop your hips underneath your opponent, bend knees, bring your feet together and lift!

#1. What is RTFA?? Is it an organization, website, book??
#2. Stickgrappler is currently down. Free website, I'll check back later.

Great information, Thank You, now where can I get instruction on how to throw the techniques. I am currently going to a mma school but would like to compete amatuer kickboxing. We work more on takedowns and takedown defence than throws.


are there any sites where I can purchase the san shou world tapes? can you recommend what years to get? thanks

ps. was that chinese san shou fighter who fought in the K1 max tourny last year a top contender? champion in san shou?


any amateur San Shou this summer in the New York area?

"1. Cross body step throw (Taioshi in Judo?)

2. Hip throw

3. Outer reaping sweep

4. Head and arm throw

5. Shoulder throw "

In the language of judo since it was asked by #1.

1. Tai Otoshi
2. O Goshi
3. O Soto Gari
4. Koshi Guruma
5. Seionage

Clinch for street video: