How to Get Out of a Headlock: 4 EASY STEPS TO ESCAPE HEADLOCKS

How to Get Out of a Headlock: 4 EASY STEPS TO ESCAPE HEADLOCKS

Headlocks are very common in street fights. These attacks can feel strong and powerful when someone is squeezing your neck. So you must know how to get out of a headlock if you want to learn to defend yourself properly.

Here is the simplest way to escape a headlock in 4 easy steps without you getting punched in the face in the process. Check out the video below for a full FREE tutorial (also click Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Self Defence). But first let’s explain what a headlock does to your body.

What is a Headlock?

A headlock is a common choke hold used during fights to control another person. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to break the victim’s posture. Basically you can’t stand up straight. This takes away your ability to fight back and leaves you open to punches (in the face) from the attacker.

Of course the best way to defend against a headlock attack is not to get caught in the first place. Ideally, if you are in the street, then you should avoid this situation before it happens by being aware of your surroundings and de-escalating any potential conflicts.

If it does occur, then here is our take on how to minimise the danger the attack poses to you and how to escape safely.

How to Escape the Headlock

As well as following the notes below. Watch our video on how to get out of a headlock in order to learn how to escape. It will help and put all this easy information into context.


If you are attacked and put into a headlock, your priority should be to regain your posture as soon as possible. Standing close to the assailant so you’re not pulled over. Keep your back straight and your head up. This is very important as it will drastically reduce the degree of control they have over you. It may even be enough to make them re-evaluate whether the headlock is worth doing. They may simply let go of you.

STEP 2. TRAP their Arms to Defend Yourself from Punches

Immediately reach past the assailant for their far arm, as this is where the more devastating blows would come from. Trap it against their body with one or both of your arms, as needed. Remember to stay postured (see video)


Now that you have regained your posture and protected yourself from further attacks, you can fight back with strikes to the attacker’s face and body. At this point, their plan of attack has gone very wrong. Again, here they may let go, giving you a chance to run.

STEP 4. ESCAPE the Headlock

With one foot behind the assailant and sticking your hip to theirs, pivot out so you’re facing the same direction as them. This extends the head-locking arm. Duck underneath it and get to their back, where you will now have a variety attack options; armlocks and chokes, for example. Ideally, however this is where you will choose to run and make a clean ESCAPE.


Obtaining a best-case outcome in the event of being attacked relies on several factors. We all know that it’s essential to be calm under pressure to execute your defence & escape plan when it counts; what is often overlooked, however, is the value of muscle memory. This is the benefit of Martial Arts training. Regular practice makes perfect, giving you the ability to respond to you attacker (or training partner) in a timely and effective way.

Why not come and try a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class with us, and find out how we can help prepare you for any self-defence situation.


The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing ChunSan Shou KickboxingBrazilian Jiu JitsuFunctional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick Boxing. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>

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