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The Standing Front Headlock
Use this powerful tool to set up other positions.
The front headlock is a common position in Jiu Jitsu that can be used to quickly attack an opponent through submissions such as the guillotine, anaconda choke, and darce choke. The fastest and most obvious way to get the front headlock is off of your takedown defense. For example, when an opponent shoots for a double leg takedown and you sprawl and wrap your arms around the head and one arm, you will find yourself in this position. The headlock can also be used to snap your opponent down in to turtle position, exposing them to various back entries and chokes.
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If you are a fan of the position, you may find it rewarding to grab it in non-traditional ways. Although the position is usually caught during a takedown defense, caution should be taken that if an opponent has a decent wrestling game, you will find yourself on your back with a low-yielding position. Rather than waiting for an opponent to attempt a takedown, there are various techniques to help force it in surprising ways. In the following video, Professor John Danaher shows a standing technique that can force your opponent into the front headlock.
As I have been drilling this technique and using it during rolling sessions, I have found it to be more high percentage and efficient than either waiting for a takedown attempt or trying a flying guillotine. I have also used this technique to create a wrestling drill; take your partner side to side as described by Professor Danaher and attacking the front headlock every few repetitions, but only attack when your partner’s head is low enough for it be effectively done. This drill will allow for the technique to be done quickly and fluidly.
The front headlock is an excellent position with a wide variety of pathways you can take depending on your personal preference. Some unorthodox uses of the position include using it to pass the guard, specifically half guard, and also as a position to attack a rolling anaconda choke from a passing position.
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