Pinch Headlock (diary entry)



Tonight my 1.5 hour lesson continued its deep dive into Greco-Roman Wrestling inspired grappling methods for martial arts cross training and we focused on the pinch headlock. After some collar and elbow tie “bulling” and over-hook/under-hook pummelling, we reviewed the arm-drag takedown and the gift-wrap takedown. These two techniques were performed from drilling actions.

The main crux of the lesson was using the pinch headlock. Headlocks have long been restricted in many teaching, reserved for a place in self-defence primal grappling. However, when used in a Greco-Roman context they become an entirely different animal. The pinch headlock, for example, utilises an underhook and collar-tie linked with an s-grip.



We drilled the throw-by takedown where a skip step using this headlock enables a fighter to get to the back for a takedown (usually a suplex or waistlock takedown) and a side headlock takedown. These two moves are interesting in that they turn the opponent in opposite directions. We access the back under the underhook using the “pigeon chest” to manipulate the head away for the throw-by. However, the side headlock forces the head towards the underhooked arm. In the latter we end up in a very tight traditional scarf-hold. For Submission Grappling and MMA I would advise an immediate arm-triangle. Then we went back over the sagging body-lock from last week’s lesson. Next lesson I intend to cover the crunch as it has similarities to this particular takedown.

The lesson finished with 3 x 5 minute rounds of sparring. Round 1 was progressive resistance moving from compliance to very light sparring. Rounds 2 and 3 were regular sparring using rough Greco-Roman rules.

My gratitude to the free resources provided by Coach Nathanimal and the Prime Wrestling System. Their videos proved to be excellent revision for me when coaching this area. I have added their videos to my YouTube channel’s Clinch and Wrestling list.


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