How to Get Out of a Headlock

How to Get Out of a Headlock

A headlock can pose a serious danger and leave you extremely vulnerable. Often times a headlock is used as a control technique by male aggressors against females. With proper training and practice, it is possible to escape from a headlock.

To defend against a headlock, you need to do three things:

  1. Protect Your Airway
  2. Defend Against Punches
  3. Escape the Headlock


In order to be effective, the headlock escape must work against a disparity in size, strength and skill level. The technique must not rely on fine motor skills, as they will be diminished when you are under the stress of a physical attack.

Protect Your Airway

One of your first priorities is maintaining the ability to breathe. If you feel someone putting an arm around your neck, try to keep your chin down and tight against your chest. By doing this, you will protect your airway.

How to Get Out of a Headlock
How to Get Out of a Headlock: Protect Your Airway

If your airway is compromised, use both your hands to pull down on the aggressor’s arm and try to relieve the pressure on your airway. 

Defend Against Punches

When in a headlock, your face is vulnerable to punches. You need to defend yourself and protect against punches to the face. Simply turn your face inward and bury it into the rib cage of the aggressor. You are now in a position to start biting the attacker while protecting your face from being struck.

How to Get Out of a Headlock
How to Get Out of a Headlock: Defense Against Punches

With your face turned inward, only your hard skull is exposed. If the attacker continues to punch, there is a good chance he may break his hand.

How to Get Out of the Headlock

Maintaining a solid stance and low center of gravity will help you gain control. Keep your feet spread wide, your hips low and stay close to attacker. With your inside arm, the arm closest to the attacker, bring it up and over his back so your hand can grab his nose or ear. Your hand should be between your head and his. You have to use the arm that is closest to the attacker’s body.

How to Get Out of a Headlock
How to Get Out of a Headlock: Escape the Hold

Once you have ahold of the attacker’s ear or nose, squeeze as hard as you can and pull the attacker backward in a swift, violent motion.  You must maintain your grip on the attacker’s nose or ear as you violently pull backwards. Stand up and try to pull the attacker backwards off his feet.

Once you are out of the headlock and have broken contact with the attacker, run away as fast as possible and call for help.


With proper mindset and practice, you can become proficient in getting out of a headlock. Practice with a variety of people, varying in size and strength.

Share This Post:



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Videos • Articles • Seminars
Online Training

We respect Your Email privacy.
Unsubscribe Anytime.