Clinching is one aspect of fighting that’s unique to Muay Thai. Only a few other combat sports, like mixed martial arts, allow fighting in the clinch. Other combat sports like boxing frown upon clinching and typically break up fighters when they’re clinched up.
This article will review some of the most effective sweeps in Muay Thai so you can add them to your arsenal.
Essential Sweeps Every Muay Thai Fighter Should Know
Ready to learn some cool sweeps? Let’s jump right into our list:
1) Low Kick Feint To Leg Sweep
This is one of the first Muay Thai sweeps you should learn as there are many opportunities to execute it during a fight. The technique helps to keep fighters who are good at checking your kicks guessing and disrupts their rhythm. It also earns you points on the scorecard when you’re competing.
To make this technique work, you’ll need to fool your opponent into thinking you’re going for a conventional low kick. The easiest way to do this is by throwing occasional high and low kicks at them. Fortunately, low kicks are one of the most used techniques in Muay Thai since they’re effective and low-risk.
Here’s what the technique looks like:
- Throw a few high and low kicks at your opponent’s lead leg to get them to start reacting to block them.
- Once your opponent starts to react to your kicks, throw a low kick feint to make them bring their lead leg up to block.
- Drop your weight, kick underneath your opponent’s lead leg, and make hard contact with their rear leg. Since all of your opponent’s weight is on their rear leg at the time of contact, your kick should sweep their leg underneath them, sending your opponent to the canvas. If they manage to recover after being unbalanced, you still managed to land a hard kick on the inner part of their rear thigh.
2) Teep Counter Sweep
Catching a teep and following up with a sweep is a valuable skill to have in Muay Thai. The teep is one of the most used techniques in Muay Thai, including the highest levels of the sport. You’ll need to know a few ways to defend against the teep to be a competitive Muay Thai fighter.
The teep has many uses in Muay Thai, like measuring kicking distance, keeping opponents off you, and chipping away at your opponent’s torso.
Understanding how the teep counter sweep works will also make you better at countering if an opponent catches your leg while throwing a teep. Here’s what it looks like:
- Catch a teep using a vice grip. Your lead hand should cup the back of your opponent’s ankle while your rear hand grabs the top of their foot and pushes their leg into your body.
- Pull your opponent toward your lead side so your opponent is close enough to grab with your rear hand.
- Sweep their post leg with your rear leg, targeting the back of their ankle. Push your opponent’s torso back with your rear hand as you sweep to speed up their journey to the canvas.
3) Roundhouse Kick To The Body To Lead Foot Sweep
Timing is everything when it comes to executing this technique successfully since you want to strike while your opponent’s weight is on their lead foot. The technique takes advantage of many Muay Thai fighters’ tendency to fire back whenever they get hit with a powerful kick.
Fighters like Superbank Mor Ratanabandit use this sweep at the highest levels of the sport successfully. It’s a straightforward technique, but it does take time to master the technique and quick reflexes to take advantage of openings for the technique during your sparring matches or fights.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Prime your opponent for the kick by throwing a roundhouse kick to the body and watch how your opponent reacts to it. In many cases, they will reply by throwing a roundhouse kick to your torso.
- If your opponent takes the bait, fire another roundhouse kick to the same spot to get your opponent to react.
- As your opponent’s rear leg leaves the ground for their reply kick, sweep your opponent’s lead foot with your rear foot by targeting the ankle area of their leg.
Another sweep your opponent will never see coming is the catch and sweep. Opponents would typically think their kicks would be blocked by checks, but this is a great way to discourage them and score points with the judges.
Here’s how to utilize the catch and sweep:
- As your opponent throw a roundhouse, take a sidestep while utilizing a scooping motion to catch your opponent’s leg, minimizing the impact of the kick.
- After securing the grip on your opponent’s kicking leg, lift slightly your arm and shoulder while bringing your rear leg forward with a switch step. Doing so causes an imbalance in your opponent’s posture, which results in an easier sweep attempt.
- As your opponent attempts to regain his posture by hopping, execute a simple sweep targeted at the calves to send your opponent down to the canvas.
5) Forward Dump In The Clinch
Here’s a simple sweep you can execute whenever an opponent clinches up with you. While you typically want to bombard opponents with knees when you’re clinched up with them, sweeping them to the floor can effectively demoralize them and score points.
Here’s what the technique looks like:
- From the clinch, establish good arm control by positioning your arms in the double outside control. A proper way to check is by locking your opponent’s elbows, preventing them form throwing elbow strikes.
- Position your head underneath the right side of your opponent’s chin, pushing it against the neck. This is one of the primary keys to pulling off the technique. If you don’t do this, your opponent can pull away from the technique.
- As your opponent throws a knee, pull your opponent’s left arm down towards your right side with your right elbow while simultaneously using your left arm to lift your opponent. This twists their torso in a clockwise motion, sending them to the canvas.
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