How To Use The Head Load Attack For Self-Defense

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How To Add The “Head Load”To Your Self-Defense Tool Box

In other videos, I’ve spoken a lot about the importance of using the clinch in self-defense. The reason why is simple. The clinch is an opportunity for you to smother the punches of your attacker.

This is important because, as I have also said frequently in other videos, punching is a very natural way of fighting for human beings. Most people and this is especially true for the majority of the population that is untrained in fighting, naturally ball up their fists and strike when dealing with a threat.

The good thing about the clinch is that you can smother much of this “natural offense” of your attacker and land devastating shots on him at the same time. Typically strikes from the clinch will be your elbows, knees, and headbutts.

In other self-defense videos on this site, I’ve covered how to properly do moves like the headbutt, elbow strikes, and the uppercut. These moves can be thrown on their own but they can also be accentuated with a move called the head load.

The head load is a way of getting your opponent’s head ready for your strikes. We do this by capturing the opponent’s head with a “hooking” and “pushing” motion, and then we accelerate his head into the oncoming strike by pulling. Headloads can be done once or in rapid fire combinations. Either way, this is a very powerful way to set up strikes for self-defense.

The head load is especially important when fighting from the clinch because it not only accentuates those commonly used strikes from that range but also because in a clinch you usually already have control of his neck. The head load can be used when throwing knees, defending the clinch with elbow strikes, etc. So, for this post, we’re going to go into detail on just how to pull off a head load by itself.

Step 1: Slide the forearm across the shoulder and grasp the back of his head

All you need to do a head load is to have a grip on his neck with at least one hand. To do the head load, slide your forearm on one side sharply across your opponent’s shoulder.

Now, use your fingers with at least one hand to grasp the back of his neck. Your forearm can push him away by extending your arm against his chest, and you can pull your opponent towards you with your handing hooking on the back of his neck.

Step 2: Pull and slam his head into your oncoming strike

Now pull his head down HARD into an oncoming headbutt, knee or elbow strike. Once you control his head in this way, you can use the grip to sharply bring his head down into your knee, elbow strike, or whatever.

Once you have this down, you have will have a very simple but effective way to land counterstrikes on your attacker from the clinch.

Conclusion: Using The Head Load Technique In Self-Defense

The head load is a pretty easy move. It may even seem like it doesn’t matter very much compared to other moves. But believe me, it does. The head load is an important accent to your other strikes and is a very valuable technique to add to your self-defense toolbox.

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Father of eight, Dr. Scott Sullivan is the chief instructor at Bam Bam Martial Arts in Houston, TX. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and is a seasoned martial arts instructor with over 30 years of experience. A firm believer that martial arts really does help people become more fit, safe, and happy, he remains vigilant about helping people improve their lives through martial arts.