How do you defend against a side headlock in self defense?
Defending against a side headlock is one of the first self defense moves taught at the white belt level at most grappling type martial arts schools in Toronto.
Keep in mind that while practicing escapes is a great tool to have, the best way to escape any tackle hold is to not get into one in the first place.
There are various ways to avoid ending up in a prone position is huge for your self protection skills. But that is a discussion for another time.
Part of regular martial arts training is to condition you mentally in other to perform efficiently under pressure. This is because as adrenalin response play major role in self protection.
While there are countless self defense techniques and martial arts moves to defend against a side headlock, it’s important to recognize key concepts for this situation.
First move to defend against a side headlock:
Protect your neck and throat.
Use your hands to create a space that allows you to breath. If you’re suffocating, your chances of carving out a way to defend against a side headlock gets significantly lower.
To defend against a side headlock, keep them from punching you in the face.
You need to clamp down their arms to the best of your ability.
While grabbing their wrist with one hand (to protect your neck), wrap you other arm around their waist while securing the other forearm.
This keeps you from eating knuckle sandwiches while trying your headlock defense.
Maintain a good balance while you defend against a sideheadlock. Then set up your takedown:
Don’t try to pry your head out.
Stay connected with their body weight and avoid fighting force with force. As they move, move with them – but never lose your balance.
In Hapkido training, for example, you use leverage, timing, and misdirections to offset an opponents balance and turn it against them in self defense.
Execute your takedown and maintain a dominant position.
As demonstrated in the videos, your takedown option to defend against a side headlock will depend on your attackers base.
Their position – standing tall or leaning forward – should indicate your attacker’s centre of balance.
Get them to release the headlock grip
When on the ground, don’t try to pry your neck out. Simply applying some pressure the jawbone will encourage them to let go.
At this point you are at the advantage. Maintain a dominant position and negotiate the situation.
What to do next after you defend against a side headlock?
Remember that once you have subdued them any excessive use of force could be legal ground for aggravated assault on your part.
As martial artists we approach self protection as a means to prevent someone from hurting us. Once the threat of defending against a sideheadlock is over, your real test begins.
What is your next move?