Headlocks Attack and Defence (diary entry)


The eighth session of the basic CCMA self-protection programme with this particular client saw more combat grappling. We began from the ground this time and the transition from takedowns to ground-fighting. Earlier sessions have consisted of various behavioural exercises designed to promote staying on one’s feet and getting off the ground as soon as possible when in a combative situation. Grappling is also taught as a support skill. However, now it was time to start dealing with the ground if and when it comes.

We warmed up with the posture exercises to reinforce the point about regaining footing and as an excellent way to get the body moving in a relevant manner for the training planned. We then moved onto break falls. These are trained primarily for safety, so a student can land without injury from various takedowns. It also serves as a good way to recover should they fall when fighting. One student I knew never got involved in a fight situation outside of our classes, but was thankful for learning how to roll and fall because once overbalanced whilst out with friends and avoided injury with the unforgiving tarmac because of her ability to roll.

We revised the philtrum takedown. Then we looked at the headlock. As previously described, this is a primal grappling position. Escaping it is a fundamental skill in civilian unarmed combat. Should a fight deteriorate to grappling range you are likely to either give or receive a side headlock. At first point of contact I train clients to duck under the arm and take the back position. At the second point of contact I teach them to slip out and take the back position. With both back positions we drilled the rear choke. At the final point of contact, I teach them to attack the head with one hand and to simultaneously push their shoulder through to, returning to highline striking as soon as possible. We also covered the headlock takedown and striking using the headlock.  Next we moved onto the guillotine again and the inverted arm-triangle from standing.

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