The Clinch by Mark Hatmaker

I recently picked up The Clinch, the fifth book in Mark Hatmaker’s No Holds Barred Fighting series. I’ve long been a fan of tie-ups, and have been working the clinch range with a particular student, so I picked up this book to look for some ideas and some pointers. 

Mark Hatmaker’s books are inexpensive, and usually dense with information. He comes to mixed reviews with folks either loving or hating him at both Bullshido and Amazon. I’ve purchased several of his books, and find them a bargain. 

My favorite quote for this book comes when he is advocating the use of the grappling dummy as a training aid:

A throwing dummy allows you to slam with alacrity and hone your hard-dropping evil to a fine edge.

I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

As far as this book goes, if you are new to the idea of using the clinch as a range, this book will have a wealth of information for you, including types of clinch, conditioning drills, how to insert and defend strikes, and even basics like circling and pummeling. If you’ve wrestled or done judo, much of this will be a rehash. 

If you actually intend to use this book for NHB or self-defense, you can pretty much skim the collar and elbow section, as it doesn’t suit environments that involve striking. This seems an unfortunate little twist in a book directed at the NHB market. It seems strange that on one hand he says that the collar and elbow is more suited to straight grappling since it’s neutral and leaves too much room for striking, and then shows how to insert strikes in that clinch. 

I liked the rest of the book, but thought that some of the throws were a bit ‘low percentage’. The number of photos and combinations presented gave a large amount of material to try just for experimental purposes.  So, if you feel like you have limited options in the clinch, and would like an inexpensive resource to mine for ideas, consider The Clinch. 

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