A headlock from the side is a great place to start learning what I call “a means to an end” kind of attacks. Meaning, the headlock is not the end itself. No one puts another person in a headlock just to hold them indefinitely. A very large portion of the time it is only a transitional phase. The headlock is used, like in the video, to hold the person for punches. It is also used to take a person to the ground. If someone knows what they are doing it can even be used to choke the person out. So, in all these instances the purpose or “end” of the headlock was to either control, move, or suffocate. You could also think of this as a common school yard attack, or bully style attack.
First let me state a warning: The video above shows the use of a side headlock. If you have an issue with watching a fight then don’t watch it here or on YouTube. If you do enjoy watching self defense in action, give us a like and a subscribe.
Escaping a Standing Side Headlock
When a person puts a real headlock on you their hips get in front of yours as you can see in both our instructional video and the YouTube link. First thing to note about this is it upsets your center of gravity making it easy to manipulate you. So you want to take a BIG step around and get your hips perpendicular to theirs. Get so close you can feel your groin touching their thigh. When you step around your lower half will be in a squat sort of position. The faster you can take your big step around the less likely they will be able to hip toss you to the ground as you’ll see in next weeks blog. Sometimes if the person that is giving the headlock is fast enough they can slap it on and toss you before you can take a step. That is okay. There are also solutions for when you get to the ground. But if at all possible, you want to stay on your feet.
A couple reasons why you want to stay on your feet: if the person is stronger and bigger than you they can overpower you once you’re on the ground, and you must always assume they have a friend near who is willing to jump in and help them. If you are on the ground that is a good way to get stomped out.
Defensive Options When You Get Out of the Headlock
The slap and peel comes next. Once you take your big step around, your hand that is in front of the person will slap HARD upward, and into their groin. Almost simultaneously your hand that is behind the person will reach up BETWEEN your head and theirs. You can eye gouge as you grab at their face. Take the arm that has them by the face and pull your elbow down to your love handle area. The effect you need to create is one where their head folds back and is pulled down. You are stronger than their neck, but you may not be stronger than their core. So, a good solid fold down towards your love handle is the perfect angle. If you do this fast, and hard enough the person goes to the ground. So pull hard. If the person is resisting in such a way that you find yourself struggling you can always continue smashing their groin with that front hand. You could even grab the groin and pull. If the folding of their neck isn’t going the way you want it you can always take that front arm and hit the bottom of their chin to assist their head back.
Some Things Never Change – Always Be Aware of Other Potential Threats
Once you have “cracked open” their grip of your head you should be looking to disengage, or counter attack as needed. As always move in directions you have already scanned, and keep an eye open for potential 2nd, and 3rd attackers.