Look, if you have never been all that serious about clinch training, you just do not know. Everything hurts and nothing makes sense; your up becomes down, forward goes backward and vice versa, and you can never really settle into it and find a rhythm. You feel like you are on the deck of a ship in choppy waters with a storm raging around you.
Every part of your body becomes a handle for the other person to wrench and twist, but not in the same way as, say, submission fighting or BJJ, all for the simple reason that you have not been pushed, pulled, shoved, dragged, or slammed to the floor yet.
But it is coming.
And all the subtle damage you took in the clinch, all the miserable grinding and manipulation that occurred there will suddenly catch up with you when you hit the mat. You will probably not even realize it when it happens, but it does - and the person on top of you in that moment will feel it and that's when he or she will start to truly impose his or her will upon you.
If BJJ is a thinking man's game, open to pontification and examination, and striking is all timing and movement and attribute-based execution, clinch is all and none. It is just ugly and relentless, and ruthlessly blue collar.
Clinch is like that grandfather you had who was a menial laborer all his life and performed a mundane task for 40 years to keep food on the table for a large family, and he didn't complain about it. He just punched a clock and did what had to be done. Clinch has a similar spiritual aesthetic.
Clinch with cloth, clinch with gi, clinch in MMA, or clinch for clinch's sake? Just punch the clock and get it done.
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