How to escape headlocks (from an expert!) :)


Purple Belt
Sep 24, 2004
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I saw that a lot of people have problems with this position. I'm a blue belt. I train with a lot of wrestlers and judo guys. They are always looking for this position if they pass your guard. Last night I rolled with a greco national champion who was trying to do this in my guard!!! There's one guy at my gym who has enourmous power in his upper body and he can even choke you out form a headlock. I think I became very efficient at escaping headlocks (even against heavy guys, like 110 kg, when I'm just 82 kg).
- don't let them control your hand
- get your hook on his thigh asap
If they are controlling you hand (and you can't pull it away):
- wrap it around his torso with your other hand
- use the first joint (under the nail) of the big finger of the trapped arm to pressure point his ribs. This will make him raise a little on your torso. This is what you need in order to roll him over your shoulder using the bridge. Also, try to get your bottom knee under him so that you lift him with this part of the body, too. This is an escape I've learned from a private with Ze Radiola (instructor of Mundial champ Braulio Estima). It works!
If they are not controlling your hand:
- taking the back is the best solution!!! Let's say he's on your right side: grab his left shoulder with you left hand, hook his left knee with your left leg, put you right hand on the ground, push forward off your toes, go to your knees on top of him. The shrimping is the most important move here. Take your time, shrimp slowly: heep - shoulduh, heep - shoulduh (as Royce says :)). Try escaping the head from the lock, slowly also.
- if you can't put the hook: grab his shoulder with you left hand, scoot you hips away from him, pull him backwards and go to your knees and roll him towards your left side making him touch the ground with his left shoulder. You are now on top of him.
As everybody knows once on top of him you can frame-escape, armbar him. On his back you can RNC or bite or whatever...
Hope it helps!
Very nice post. I like the idea of using your finger against their ribs.

Thanks. Because no matter what people say, a big, strong guy putting you in a headlock, whether to control or sub you is diffucult at times to escape from.