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How to Escape a Headlock

How to Escape a Headlock

Posted by Warrior Poet Society on Nov 3rd 2023

Headlocks are no joke. If you've ever experienced the awkwardness and vulnerability of a guillotine or other headlock positions, you probably understand the importance (and difficulty) of escaping one. It is possible, though, and should be done as quickly as possible in an actual violent encounter. They are dangerous, but so are you--with proper technique and training.

Former Ranger and Special Forces operator and trainer Josh Griffiths joined John Lovell to demonstrate the dos and don'ts of headlock escape.

Headlock Escape #1: Headlock from the Side

Secure Attacking Arm. With furthest hand, grip the attacker's choking arm while tucking chin.

Create a fulcrum. Position hip behind attacker's hip to create a fulcrum. You'll need this when you go to lever their face.

Pull the Lever. While gripping their arm and tucking your chin, reach with your closest arm and find their face, cupping their chin and face with your hand. Now pull the lever by gripping their face back and down, forcefully, levering their body over your positioned up. As they fall back, stand up forcefully to further break their hold. This leaves their side and chest open to striking or to deploying weapons.

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Headlock Escape #2: Front Headlock

If you've taken Jiu Jitsu, you probably know what a guillotine is. It's a headlock from the front.

Block hip. With your hand, block their opposite-side hip while shuffling your feet toward that side, opposite the attacking side. Now grip their opposite side leg and pull that up as you throw your weight onto them, taking them down. Now place them in side control.

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It is very possible, with the right technique and training to escape headlocks and other holds and attacks. When you're ready to strengthen your combatives game, make sure you get good instruction and training.

Train Hard. Train Smart. Avoid Those Choke Holds. Live Free.


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