Headlock Defense: A Pillar of BJJ Fundamentals
Just as I put my kids on the carousel last night at the local festival a fight broke out. I heard a loud crash and looked down to see 2 kids, maybe in their early 20’s, exchanging blows, and trying to get the upper hand. It was broken up fairly quickly, and no one seemed to be hurt. I couldn’t help but notice something that seems to always make an appearance in the majority of fights that I’ve witnessed. The headlock.
There couldn’t be a more vintage street fighting technique than the classic headlock. It makes sense. The head is easy to get a hold of, and by controlling someone else’s neck, you can control the direction they, go. Thus, the illusion of controlling the flow of the fight. Defending the headlock must be a staple in your BJJ training. It may be one of the most important self-defense skillsets you ever learn. And if you’ve got a head anywhere close to the size of mine you should keep reading.
The headlock manifests itself in physical altercations in a variety of different scenarios. Standing straight up, bent over, on the ground, against a wall, just to name a few. Regardless of how it came about, you’ll need some effective methods to release that noggin and use the headlock to your advantage. The average brawler may not consider the fact that when controlling your head, the rest of your body is free to get to work. With Some proper positioning, you can effectively turn being head locked into a favorable position for yourself, from which to mount some offense.
A little knowledge as far as the headlock is considered can go a long way. The defenses provided by BJJ are quite simple to learn, and very effective. BJJ offers an answer to almost every basic headlock situation you can think of. Many of the defenses require several of the same mechanics, which makes connecting the dots while trying to learn multiple versions of the defense easy to digest.
In this video Eli Knight demonstrates a few common headlock defenses on the ground. Give it a look!
BJJ is ever evolving. However, it’s roots will always be self-defense. With the amount of resources and material available, its easy to get your head spinning trying to absorb it all. Always remember to revisit the basics, and fundamental principles of BJJ. You never know when you might need them!
Since we're talking about Pillars, check out Stephen Whittier's The Pillars Clinch and Takedown series from BJJ Fanatics! You can get it here!