Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Defense Against a Side Headlock

Strike the groin from the front and the back

n high school, I remember the side head lock as a sign of locker room camaraderie…

“Hey Bill…howzabout that last tackle I made on you? And just when you were about to cross the line for a touchdown! Saved the game for us!”

But in a self defense situation, a headlock from the side can have serious consequences.  The pain from finding your head in a vice grip between an attacker’s forearm and bicep can be excruciating in itself. It’s the added risks that are the real problem.

Pushing the attacker backward across your leg requires practise

The attacker often goes beyond the lock. He can twist your neck sideways and drop you to the ground, continuing with his attack as you lie there in pain. The neck can be easily damaged, even broken as he lands with his weight on the side of your head. If you land on a hard surface, the consequences for you can be lethal.

A headlock from the side can easily be turned into a choke. You may stop breathing; the blood flow to the head may also be cut off.

An attacker may also, once he’s put you in a headlock, ram your head into a wall, a fence or the side of a parked car.

There are too many variables, too much left to chance during a side headlock attack. You have to act decisively…and fast.

1. Strike the groin repeatedly, either with your fist or the palm of the hand.  I teach my students to strike the groin both from the front and the back with both fists at the same time…repeatedly…until you feel his grip loosening. Striking with an open hand allows you to grasp the groin and twist it.

2.  Other techniques are - biting the arms and legs; striking the sides of his knees; grasping, pinching or tearing anywhere along the inside of his legs.

Grab the hair and pull

3.  Once he loosens his grip, you may - push him away; attack other targets on his body; place your arm across his abdomen and throw him backward across your leg (this requires some practise) or reach up and around and pull his hair in order to free yourself. Your goal is always the same – to escape.

In a future post, I’d like to cover the very dangerous headlock from the front. I’d also like to touch on a quality of power found in Kung Fu that’s been variously described as “scared power” or “a spark from a fire”. The speed that comes with this type of power is…like a spark from a fire!

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