Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Defense Against a Front Headlock


Guard with one arm across the front and strike with the other

O
ne of the most common close-in attacks you can encounter in the street is a front headlock. An attacker might feel that if he has control of your head, he has control over the rest of you.

That’s only partially true. There are plenty of techniques you can use to defend yourself from that position. But any defense has to be mounted quickly.

There are several reasons –

1.  A brutal and aggressive attacker, overcome with rage, may take his anger out on a very delicate area of your body – the neck. Just by grabbing you around the head and “wrestling” from that position, he can literally break your neck before he realizes what he’s done. Suddenly, he’s gone far beyond what he initially intended to do (which was just to teach you a lesson).

2.  An attacker can – inadvertently or by design -  choke you from below. Again, if he’s in a rage, he might think that he merely has you by the head…just to teach you a lesson. Yet he may actually be pressing up against your windpipe as he lifts you with his arms.  Or he’s cutting of the supply of blood to the brain at the carotid arteries. You may become unconscious - or worse - before his rage comes to an end.

3.  Another type of brutal attack is when an attacker places you in a headlock and pushes you back hard into a wall, a fence, the side of a car or a school locker. The shock alone can cause damage to the neck or to sections of the spine.

4.  And the last – he may drive his knee up into your face…or if he’s trained in martial arts, drive the point of his elbow down upon your head or neck.

Of course any of the above can be used in combinations against you. So as you can see a quick response is absolutely necessary.


Here Murray has decided to place the attacker in a headlock

(By the way, you may be wondering what's printed
on the back of Murray's shirt. It's a message that's
                quintessentially Canadian - Now just shut up and paddle!)

I recommend the following as part of a first response –

1.  Push your chin down into your upper chest area to minimize access to your throat and to place pressure on his arms in case he’s encircled your throat.

2.  At the same time,  place one arm across the front of your groin as protection against a knee attack.

3.  Hit hard – repeatedly – with your fist up into his groin and/or grasp and pull his groin until his head drops. (Martial artists will also – attack the inside of his knees as well as pinch or grasp the inside of his thighs.


A variation of the headlock as seen in a professional wrestling match

Source: halloffamememorabilia.com

4.  Once you have access to his head, attack the eyes, ears, throat, etc. Do so repeatedly until you can escape.

5.  An advanced technique is to encircle his head in a headlock as it drops after the counter attack on his groin. Twist his head sideways and lift. Be careful – doing so  quickly with force can break his neck!

The front headlock is also a favourite in group attacks. One attacker will encircle your head, trapping you, while the others will hit you from the sides or back.

Speed and repetition are keys to defending against any headlock. Never “wait it out” until his anger cools. Too much can happen to your head and neck!

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