How to Get Out of a Head & Arm Throw

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The head and arm throw is a grappling maneuver in which the attacker grabs his opponent in a headlock and then rotates his arms and upper body to toss the victim on his back. Although primarily used in martial arts and wrestling, the head and arm throw is also a practical maneuver in self-defense situations. The move is a favorite of inexperienced wrestlers because it is easy to learn, but it is also a relatively easy maneuver for a veteran grappler to counter. There are several tactics you can use to thwart an attempted head and arm throw before your opponent has the opportunity to get you to the mat.

  • Grab the wrist that your opponent wraps around your head before he can secure the grasp. Slip your hands between your head and his arm to relieve pressure. If possible, pull the opponent's arm toward the back of his body to break the hold and step back from the attack.

  • Pull your arm out of the headlock with a short, quick motion if your opponent succeeds in trapping an arm along with your head.

  • Drop your hips toward the mat to lower your center of gravity as soon as your opponent locks in the headlock. With a lower center of gravity, it is more difficulty for your opponent to torque your body over and execute the throw.

  • Sag to your knees, positioning your body close to parallel with the ground.

  • Extend your arms and push on your opponent's lower body to shove them away and minimize the pressure on your neck. Pushing the opponent also helps you defend against them rotating and taking your back.

  • Grab your opponent's near leg and lift it off the ground for extra leverage and to throw your opponent off balance. You may even be able to use the element of surprise to score a trip takedown if your opponent isn't ready for this counter.

  • Tuck your chin to your body and pull back with your neck and shoulder muscles to extricate your head from the opponent's headlock and escape the move.

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