High Percentage Finishes from The Front Head Lock Position with Travis Stevens
There’s no shortage of options in the front headlock position.
We seem to find ourselves here more than often. Maybe a failed shot attempt brought you here, a good snap down, or quite possibly you’ve arrived during a transitional period in a match. Whatever the case may be, this dynamic position offers many options. But, your control of the position will need to be sound, and your options will need to be in the forefront of your mind, as being too relaxed or not present here will give your opponent’s time to start being defensive.
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It seems like with just control of the head, and not the body wouldn’t be an effective method of keeping the bottom player regulated, but make no mistake, much can be done from here with the proper positioning of the body, and some simple methods of control.
Travis Stevens has recently released some content on the position. He gives us some ideas to mull over in this video. There are some really nice details here, and some methods you may have never been exposed to before, so take the time to watch the entire video. See if you can pick up on some things that may be missing from your attempts at dominating the front headlock position. Check this out.
Stevens starts with his variation of the anaconda choke. There are some common themes here, but Stevens adds a few things that may not have been on your radar before today. Beginning in the front headlock position with his weight planted squarely on his partners upper back, Stevens finds a chinstrap grip and cups the back of his partners triceps. He reinforces the chinstrap with his opposite hand, and provides heavy shoulder pressure.
This is where things take a little turn from what you may be used to with the anaconda choke. Many players would look to perform a roll here to get their partner in to position to cinch the submission. Stevens offers a different idea. He does a sit through to the outside of his partners right side, and then posts on his elbow (the one that’s controlling the head). He uses this elbow to squeeze his partner’s head tight to his body, which causes his partner to collapse down to his side.
He then controls his partners top arm with his legs, keeping him from widening his elbows and making trouble for Stevens while he begins to try and lock the submission. From here, Stevens can secure his own bicep and cinch the anaconda. Before the finishes the technique, he elevates his partners head a bit, so its resting on his body and not the floor. As he begins t walk toward his partner, he eventually forces the submission.
I like the fact that Stevens isn’t performing a roll in this particular variation. What we’ve traditionally come to know as the anaconda choke usually includes a roll. I wouldn’t discard the roll, if it’s something that’s worked for you in the past, but rolling through can get messy, and it can be difficult is well. Its nice to have another option from here that we can use if the traditional variation of the technique isn’t giving us any traction.
The next technique is Darce choke. I really like the way Stevens sets this up. In this particular scenario, Stevens makes a post out of his left arm, which he places great importance on being extremely rigid. This holds the head in place while his other hand comes through and cups right knee of his partner. This creates a sort of X underneath his partner, and when he applies pressure to the configuration it causes his partner to yet again collapse.
From here, Stevens sits his hips toward his partners body, and dips his shoulder below the line of his partners body, making it possible to penetrate his right arm in to the space and out the other side. Through this process Stevens lifts up on his partners head, clearing the path for his arm. While keeping his partner head chin to chest (this is paramount to finishing) Stevens can now lock his own bicep, sit through, and step over his partner’s body for a clean finish.
Stevens offers us an idea here on troubleshooting. If your having trouble getting enough length in your arm to secure your bicep, you can sit through toward the head, which will cause your shoulder to drop deeper and essentially add some length to your arm, making the submission easier to lock. After Stevens completes this movement, he returns to his original plan, and finishes the move as he originally intended. If you have to use this movement, stay aware. Stevens suggest keeping your toes live and your wits about you, as this is a bit of a risky adjustment. Your partner will no doubt be looking to reverse you here, and turn your submission attempt into a way for them to return to the top position.
Stevens’ chin strap guillotine is the next topic of conversation here. He begins with the exact same set up from the anaconda variation. This time as he brings his partner to his side, Stevens positions his ribs above his partners head. This keeps the bottom player from coming up to the top, dismantling the submission attempt.
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With his ribs placed squarely over the top of his partner’s head, Stevens can now allow his partner to begin building his base back up. As he does, Stevens inserts his bottom knee across the belt line, and throws his leg over the top of his partners back. From here, Stevens keeps a tight bite on the head, making sure it’s buried, and that the neck is not visible. With the grip on the shin he previously demonstrated, Stevens can now roll his grip through with the throat slitting motion and extend his body a bit to achieve the tap.
The last front head lock submission in the series has Stevens paying homage to Gordo, with the Gordo guillotine. Simple and brutal, it doesn’t take much to apply this nasty variation, but when you do, your partner will certainly feel it.
Stevens first gives us a look at the position of his hands. From the headlock he enters his hand palm up in to the collar. His second hand enters at the armpit and also penetrates the lapel palm up below the first hand. Straightening the hand closest to the neck, Stevens begins to rise and extend his body toward his partners butt, and then drops his head to the far side of his partners body creating an incredibly tight strangle.
These are some excellent options here from the front headlock position, and Stevens definitely puts a unique spin these techniques. With a position as dynamic as the front headlock, it’s good to have different ways of executing its submissions. Our body types, experience level and preferences all play a part in how we choose to apply out technique, so its nice to see some different variations that might serve us as individuals. Great stuff here from one of the best!
For more effective Chokes, check out the instructional Chokes from Travis Stevens! A John Danaher black belt and Olympic Judo medalist, Travis has been honing his chokes on some of the toughest necks out there! You can get it here!