Escaping headlock from the ground: If we are truly talking about self-defense in day-to-day, real-world environments, and not fighting then we have to admit A LOT of things had to go wrong BEFORE we find ourselves on the ground. We have to ask ourselves, how did we get to the ground? Was it intentional? Was it what the attacker wanted? Were we blitzed? How did we end up in a headlock on the ground?
Here are a couple videos of wrestlers using a headlock to hip toss someone to the ground and then pin them.
As you can see it is an effective way to control someone. After all, where the head goes the body goes. If we step away from a sport-oriented way of thinking and move into a real world violence way of thinking we can admit that a person approaching from the front SHOULD have very little success with this attack. There are about as many ways to prevent this as there are stars in the sky. You just have to be able to stop them from closing the gap. So, how does a person do this in reality then? How about approaching from behind? If you know how to do this type of attack all you have to do is step up, headlock them quickly, and toss them which can be done is less than two seconds. Once on the ground the person can either hold you in the headlock and punch you, hold you so their friends can stomp you, or use transitions to work to a position for a ground and pound (term used for pummeling someone on the ground).
Throwing Someone Into a Headlock
Escaping a Headlock from the Ground
There are a lot of variations you can find yourself in with a headlock on the ground: arms caught, arms free, one arm caught, etc. In this video we covered arms free. Their head can be high, or low and close to yours. We demonstrated with their head high. Each one will require a slightly different approach. But nonetheless, the principles are the same.
When your arms are free and their head is high it is easy to reach up with both of your hands and grab their face. I like to say that any movement that doesn’t hurt the other person is almost a wasted movement. So don’t just grab their face, make it hurt but grabbing at the eyes. Then pull their head to the same side hip, meaning, if they are located on your left side pull their head to your left hip. Then “scissor” your legs explosively. You want to get the tops of your thighs facing the ground. Literally, you are rotating your hips 180 degrees while pulling their head down to your hip. Rotate all the way until they are underneath you. Often times if the person is really hanging on tight, your head will still be caught even though you are on top. That is no problem because from this new and better position you can start hurting them regardless. They will let go, and even if they don’t, you can do damage until they are unconscious or broken.
When Escaping a Headlock from the Ground, Remember:
As you go to get up it is important to note that you NEVER just get up without putting your body weight into them. Otherwise, they can just get up too and grab your leg or continue to attack. In a perfect world, you want to train to get through your technique within 3-5 seconds from it starting. So you are definitely not moving slowly. Once you are up, as always, get your distance and scan for other threats, exits, or environmental objects you can use as weapons.