Fact: Anderson Silva is one of the very best strikers in mixed martial arts.
Fact: His Muay Thai clinch is as dangerous as they come.
With the release of his most recent book, MMA Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense and Ground Fighting, Silva offers an inside look into some of his trademark techniques.
The only real negative about this effort is the cumbersome title; for the purposes of this review, I’ll call it The Muay Thai Clinch from here on out.
Glen Cordoza serves as co-author on this project, and is one of the best in the business when it comes to MMA training manuals. Over the years, Cordoza has helped legends like Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture, B.J. Penn and others translate the lessons they’ve learned at the gym and in the cage onto paper. He does so again here with Silva.
As the sport has continued to evolve and young fighters have become focused on developing sound boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, the Muay Thai clinch has become a less commonly used technique. When implemented properly, it can be one of the most dangerous and effective weapons a fighter can wield, and this book can certainly teach you the basics and more.
Like any good instructional manual, The Muay Thai Clinch blends explanation with illustration. Sections begin with a breakdown of the logic behind the techniques and tactics about to be displayed, without getting bogged down in too much prose. But it’s the myriad pages demonstrating the different grips, attacks and defenses employable out of this position that make The Muay Thai Clinch an excellent guide.
And the devil is in the details.
Everything is shown from both sides, with Silva on the offensive and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael Feijao his human striking dummy. Though it sounds basic and perhaps unimportant, knowing exactly where to place hands and forearms in positions like this are what helps a novice learn proper fundamentals and technique.
Attacks and defenses are broken down into frame-by-frame, action-by-action fragments with attention paid to little things like foot placement, and the important steps that precede a devastating knee to the face or “counter tie-up to uppercut elbow.”
While the Muay Thai clinch itself is rightfully associated with devastating offense, Silva and Cordoza do not focus solely on situations that will present themselves while fighters are operating in space, and the book is better for it.
Part 3: Cage Tactics begins with a rather poignant paragraph. Not only does it offer subtle jab to wall-and-stall practitioners everywhere, but it details the importance of knowing how to deal with the increasingly more common approach being employed in the cage as well:
Octagon control, or the effective use of footwork to cut off an opponent’s retreat and push him against the cage, often determines the winner of the match. As a result, many fighters base their whole strategy on controlling their opponent against the cage. Their goal is not only to limit their opponent’s offensive capabilities and score with a takedown, but also score points on the judge’s scorecard.
Just as it is important to learn how to attack and defend against submissions, strikes, and takedowns, you must learn how to attack and defend off the cage. Neglecting this aspect of the game is like learning jiu-jitsu without takedowns, or how to wrestle without learning how to strike. It’s another quintessential element of MMA that must be incorporated into daily training. Otherwise, you give up a serious advantage.
Sections on Attacking the Guard (Part 6) and Fighting off Your Back (Part 7) add emphasis to the importance of being capable of doing damage and working effectively no matter where the fight may go. After all, it may be a manual on The Muay Thai clinch, but few opponents are going to let you just walk out and grab hold of the back of their heads.
In all, Silva and Cordoza deliver detailed explanations and advice across eight chapters and more than 300 pages. Whether you’re brand new to the sport or a seasoned veteran looking for additional insights from one of the best, you’ll find what you’re looking with this manual.
The Mixed Martial Arts Instruction Manual: The Muay Thai Clinch, Takedowns, Takedown Defense, and Ground Fighting by Anderson Silva (with Glen Cordoza), published by Victory Belt is in stores now and available on Amazon.com.