Learn A Simpler Way Of Scoring Take Downs Without Getting Sprawled On Or Dropping To Your Knees

Plus, there are lots of submissions from the Headlock that make it a great position!

A front headlock will stop your opponent in their tracks. They have to protect their neck for fear of chokes, and in doing so go on the defensive and lose the ability to score take downs. 

That puts you in a dominant position that can easily be used to score a take down or a submission. Plus for MMA, you can fire knees to their head that can end the fight.

If you have done any sort of fighting, chances are you have ended up in a headlock before. Even in boxing, people get caught in headlocks after disengaging a clinch or ducking a punch.

To be specific though, a front headlock is when you wrap up a head and an arm inside of your arms, like a big lasso, with your chest over the back of their head.

head lock

Matt Hughes chokes Ricardo Almeida with a Schultz choke from the Front Headlock.

But the real question is, do you know what to do with a front headlock? A front headlock is a very dangerous position. In a street fight, a few well placed knees to the head can be lights out. In BJJ and MMA, there are all sorts of chokes that you can get caught in that can also end you. Even if you avoid those two perilous outcomes, they can use the front headlock to take your back or get side control.

Why I Stopped Shooting and Starting Headlocking

back trap

That is me, David Avellan, running a far knee block off the front headlock against ADCC Absolute Champion Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu. That got me the win against this BJJ legend.

Here are a bunch of good reasons to learn how to use the front headlock whether you are a wrestler, grappler, Mixed Martial Artist, or just someone looking for self defense options:

  • Score take downs without fear of getting counter striked, sprawled on, or put in a submission
  • Go from take downs right into dominant positions like side control and the back mount
  • Develop a solid choke game based on a common clinch
  • Have a great way of countering a turtle guard player
  • Excellent tool for defending take downs against wrestlers or grapplers
  • It doesn't require athleticism, flexibility, strength, or special body types
  • Avoids dropping to your knees, saving your knees for other stuff, like walking :)

For me, the first and last reasons were probably the biggest factor.

As a wrestler turned to mixed martial artist, I have been training in the martial arts for over 24 years. I would like to tell you I was very wise early on and made good training decisions, but I wasn't. Wrestlers are not known for being careful. We are bold, tough, and often reckless - willing to do anything to win, while staying within the rules (at least I did). 

As a teenager, this often meant poor dieting, training injured, lack of rest, and no recovery tactics considered. As I started competing in MMA in my late teens, I didn't wise up much. I was getting my ankles, knees, elbows, ribs, and just about every joint popped in training. This was in the 90's, where the term MMA didn't even exist yet. We called it NHB, short for No Holds Barred.

Long story short, I put in a lot of mileage on my joints, particularly my knees. Towards the end of my competition career, my shots weren't as good as they used to be, nor as comfortable on my body. 

Plus, while in the early days I was able to shoot on everyone with no real counters (as most BJJers didn't know what a sprawl was), nowadays everyone can sprawl, and worse yet, people have very good submission counters, like guillotines and the Kimura Trap System, something I made famous too.

Especially in my academy, the Freestyle Fighting Academy. I should know, because I trained all my fighters to have wicked chokes and Kimuras for that exact reason. So I needed to have an offensive weapon for take downs that didn't have severe consequences if I failed, and didn't damage my knees. 

So, I adapted my style to be much friendly on my knees, and less risk of being countered by sprawls and submissions. That meant using more picks, body locks, snatch singles, and blast double legs. But these take downs still require a good amount of speed and setup. What I found was one of the best setups for all of these take downs was the front headlock.

The Front Headlock is such a simple position to understand - control the head and an arm.

Mastering it, however, is an entirely other matter. You can't just jump up and grab someones head, although a lot of beginners will do just that (I call them grasshoppers lol), which can work against some people, but veteran fighters will make you pay for bad technique. In order to be effective with the front headlock, you need to learn these things:

  • Setups
  • Grips
  • Tactics
  • Take Downs
  • Submissions

While most people won't have a problem finding submissions or take downs from a front headlock online, they lack the tools to connect them. After all, you don't want to be a grasshopper hopping around trying to catch someone's neck.

The first three aspects, setups, grips, and tactics, are the most important things to learn with the front headlock (or any technique for that matter),  but are not easy to find.

But not to worry, I will give you some pointers right now. :)

Tito Ortiz getting stuck in a Front Headlock by Lyoto Machida

What Are Things You NEED To know?

  • Front Headlock Basics - Learning the basic concepts behind the Front Headlock, how to control it, and how to set it up. Learning the basics the right way setups a solid foundation for what's next.
  • FHL Grips - There is more than one way to skin a cat, so of course there is more than one way to control the Front Headlock. Head and Elbow, Closed Grip, Under Hook, Football Carry - these are just some of the ways we can control this position for differing levels of control and follow up techniques.
  • Snap Down - This is a must know move. A lot of people do it but mess up because they miss the finer points of the move. Get this right and you will probably get more mileage from this move than every other technique from the front headlock!
  • The Near Side Cradle - A classic pin in wrestling. Another must know move. People in BJJ don't realize how valuable pins can be - so use that to your advantage and score a sweet take down.
  • Posture and Feints - Get a more in depth understanding behind how to setup the Front Headlock, so you can be more strategic in your use of them. Once you got this, not only will you be more efficient in catching them, but you will make the head come to you!
  • Catching Shots - One of my biggest wins came from this technique against BJJ Great and ADCC Champion Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu. In overtime, he tried to shoot on me and I was able to reverse him and put him on his back for the win. You can learn exactly how I did this and score some big wins!
  • Far Knee Block - My favorite take down of all time is this. So many situations you can use it from, but the Front Headlock is my favorite because it is a trick! I have setup so many people on this and they have no idea they are getting set up.
  • Schultz Choke - This is an old school technique used by wrestlers that is definitely "black hat". One wrestler pinned his way to the state title by putting his opponent unconscious and then pinning him using this move! But in BJJ and MMA, this is totally legal and most people have no idea it is a choke.

These techniques and concepts are what I would consider the essentials. If you had those ideas hammered in, no one would want to let you around the neck for even a split second.

That is why the Front Headlock Series is one of our core series

Every color belt student in my academy will undoubtedly learn this series when training at FFA. It is one of the few series that I believe everyone should learn to be effective - Kimuras (obviously), Leg Locks, Back Control, and Front Headlocks.


Because every choke can be setup from the Front Headlock. So whether you want the Guillotine, Rear Naked Choke, The Peruvian Necktie, the Anaconda, Arm Triangle, Triangle, and even an Reverse Inverted Triangle, the Front Headlock should be in your arsenal of tools.

It is also a powerful clinch and grip. Just like the old saying, "Where the head goes, the body follows," the front headlock is the ultimate way to control the head. Some grips are hard to control, or very short lived, so you have to work quickly to use them. But with a front headlock, there is no need to rush. You can work the position with constant threats to your opponent.

And if you aren't into wrestling, or have bad knees, a front headlock is the solution. It is one of the best ways to counter shots and make your opponent pay dearly for the attempt, and you have all sorts of submissions and transitions to dominant positions like the back mount, side control, crucifixes, and cradles.

But you don't have to be a student in my academy in Miami, FL to learn the Front Headlock Series...

Because I have made a DVD and Online Course to teach you:


  1. 1
    3 DVD Set and Online Course: Everything you need to know about the Front Headlock Series is within the course, spanning over 2.5 hours. 
  2. 2
    Includes the FHL Mind Map, which is a great resource for drilling and review.
  3. 3
    Free Online Updates: As you get better with the Front Headlock over time, so does the course! Everytime I add a new technique, you will get online access to it for free.

DVD 1: Fundamentals - The core essentials on how to use the Front Headlock, and different ways you can apply it for take downs and pins

  • Setting up the Front Headlock
  • FHL Grips
  • Snap Down
  • Near Side Cradle
  • Far Side Cradle
  • Spin Behind / Butt Drag
  • Cradle from Fours
  • Throw By
  • Running Time: 44 minutes

DVD 2: Take Downs - This DVD goes more in depth into many ways of setting up the front headlock and taking your opponent down.

  • Posture and Feints
  • Hook Pull
  • Wrist Control
  • Catching a Shot
  • Over Under
  • Under Hook
  • Russian 2-on-1 Counter
  • Back Trip
  • Ankle Pick
  • Inside Trip
  • Simmons Cradle
  • Far Knee Block
  • Hi-Crotch
  • Running Time: 64 minutes

DVD 3: Finishes - In this DVD, you will learn how to advance your position from the sprawl with the front headlock, and how to finish with submissions.

  • Pancake
  • Gator Roll
  • Crosswalk
  • Ninja Back take
  • Anaconda Choke
  • D'Arce Choke
  • WEC Guillotine Choke
  • Cobra Choke
  • Schultz Choke
  • Peruvian Necktie
  • Running Time: 45 minutes

This course will open up your wrestling offense and counter defense while giving you excellent submission options too. It doesn't just teach you techniques like most people do; rather, it shows you when and how to sequence techniques back-to-back, how to set them up, how to attack based on posture, and much more.

Does the Front Headlock work for MMA?

The Anaconda Choke - a powerful submission that you can easily setup from the Front Headlock.


It is probably the best way to score take downs in MMA without worrying about getting countered with strikes. Your opponent will not be able to hit you with punches, kicks or knees when stuck in a front headlock - but you can hit them. It is the best friend of every sprawl and brawler.

Besides being a powerful place to setup take downs, you can setup a plethora of submissions: Guillotine chokes, Anaconda Chokes, Brabo Chokes, 10 Finger Guillotines, Bully Chokes, Rear Naked Chokes, and Schultz Chokes just to name a few.

This course is designed to be picked up by anyone looking to learn how to be a front headlock master - whether you are a day one white belt, or a 3-stripe black belt. I know the series works, because I have been teaching it in my academy for over a decade, and my team has scored many wins using the series in competition at all levels of grappling and MMA. Don't take my word for it, just hear what they had to say:


“I love the front headlock series"

"I love the front headlock series, it’s great for both my mma and jiu jitsu competition and I love how dominant it is. If your looking to break people down and finish them this system is awesome!"

Jason "The Specimen" Soares
TitanFC Featherweight Champion, 14-0 Pro MMA

"I can walk in the cage knowing that I can dictate the fight and where it goes"

"I never wrestled before I started training MMA and thanks to Master David Avellan and his headlock series my grappling game is on another level. Understanding the front headlock series has helped me dominate strong wrestlers and black belts in jiu jitsu. I can walk in the cage knowing that I can dictate the fight and where it goes, from setups to snatch the head, to take downs, pins, and submissions the headlock series teaches you how to control your opponent.

Master David Avellan's Front Headlock Series is a game changer and I strongly recommend it!"

Edgard "The Dream Killer" Plazaola
FFA Brown Belt Instructor, 4-0 Pro MMA

“My whole game is based off the front headlock"

"The submission I have had most success with is the guillotine choke. I learned it early on as a blue belt and just become really good with it. But in order to setup that guillotine, at first I was just jumping around and forcing it. It wasn't until I learned the front headlock series that I really became a terror with the guillotine choke to everyone, even scoring a submission over a black belt at a grappling tournament.

Devin Genchi
FFA Brown Belt

Order the Front Headlock Series

If you want to become a beast at snatching up heads, scoring take downs, finishing submissions, all while not risking getting smashed under someone's sprawl, get caught in guillotine choke, or mess up your knees shooting - this is the course for you!

Whether you are a newbie or a veteran martial artist, you will learn a proven series that will make you very effective at scoring take downs and submissions, with low risk / high reward techniques.

You might be expecting to pay $97 for a course like this, but you would be wrong. :)

It normally is $77 + shipping and handling for the DVD set, but we are putting it on a BIG sale for only $40, plus shipping and handling.

If you want to save on the shipping and handling, you can also choose to order the online version (included with the DVD set) as well. Just click below to get started and become a head snatcher!

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Secure Payment

David Avellan

Creator of the Front Headlock Series

About the Author

David Avellan is a BJJ Black Belt and ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships Bronze Medalist. He holds victories over Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legends such as Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro, Rafael Lovato Jr., Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu, Tarsis Humphries, and Rener Gracie. He has also coached many top athletes such as Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis, Brandon "The Truth" Vera, Jeremy "Lil Heathen" Stephens, DJ Jackson, Keenan Cornelius, and Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal.

Tito Ortiz submitting Yuki Kondo with a Cobra Choke off the Front Headlock.

Still Not Sure About the Front Headlock?

If you have gotten this far down and are still reading, I have to assume I got your attention and you are at least experiencing one or two of the problems I have mentioned. But just in case you forget, ask yourself the following question:

Are you experiencing any of these problems in sparring?

Problems FHL Solves

  • Have trouble scoring take downs
  • Bad knees prevents shooting
  • Get sprawled on regularly
  • Get caught in submissions when attempting take downs
  • Poor defensive wrestling skills
  • Afraid of eating a counter strike
  • Don't have a good choke setup
  • Don't know how to attack a turtle guard

How FHL Will Help

  • Give you a step-by-step series you can follow to score the right take down at the right time
  • No need for dropping down to your knees for take downs
  • You will never be in a position where an opponent can sprawl on you when attempting a front headlock
  • No good way for your opponent to get a hold of you for a submission, as you are on top of their back and inverted
  • Develop a killer counter wrestling game with FHL as the foundation
  • No good counter strikes available to a front headlock, but you will have plenty of knees to throw from there
  • The front headlock has nearly every choke available from there. Get good with this position and you can always find a choke
  • A good turtle guard player expects you to be behind them. But nothing stops you from getting them in a front headlock

As you can see, I have an answer to every problem presented. As someone who has practiced the martial arts for over 24 years and has been teaching MMA since 2001, it's fair to say I have seen a lot. 

If you have followed my career, you will know that I don't do anything fancy, which is a nice way of saying ineffective.

I'm not super fast, flexible, long-limbed, freakishly strong, or naturally gifted. Yet, I was one of the best American competitors in submission wrestling and have helped revolutionize the BJJ and MMA world with my teachings, like the Kimura Trap System.


I focused on basic techniques. Some people think basic is a code word for easy to defend. It's not.

Even if you don't buy this course, reading this next few paragraphs can help you become a master.

Basic means the technique is so effective, that even a beginner can use it and have success.

Imagine the difference between killing someone with a high-powered sniper rifle, versus using a basic revolver. To aim a sniper rifle takes much more work, as you can't just fire it from the hip accurately. You need to properly set it up, use your scope, and fire (and a lot more steps I'm missing). It's a complicated process that requires training.

Whereas with a revolver, you just point and pull the trigger. 

So whereas some people try to make their game complicated, I work on making it basic - and becoming highly proficient at the basics.

Some people think just because it is basic and learn it in the first day of class, they are done learning. That is a fallacy many people make. It's like reading a book once and thinking you absorbed 100% of the knowledge. Not a chance.

Fighters like Roger Gracie understand the power of basics. He has made his career of a basic collar choke that most people learn in the first few weeks of BJJ. But he has master level technique with that basic move. He knows how to make that basic move EVEN MORE effective than it already is, which is why he is lethal with that choke.

So the systems I develop are based on that logic. Find techniques that are basic, that can be adapted to be used by anyone, regardless of their body type or skill level. Then figure out what makes it work, piece by piece. Then leverage that knowledge into making it even more effective.

With my Front Headlock series, I have done just that. You will be able to watch it and learn valuable technique that you could have missed despite training for decades in just a few minutes. 

What comes with the Front Headlock Series?

  • 3 DVD Set Spanning 2.5 hours
  • Instant Online Access
  • FHL Mind Map
  • Free Online Updates

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Secure Payment

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a DVD or Online Version?

Do you ship worldwide?

What payment methods do you take? Can I use PayPal?

Is the Online Course mobile friendly?

How long does it take to ship?

What if I don't like it? Do you have a return policy?

Still Deciding?

I understand. If you haven't ordered from me before, there is always a leap of faith one has to take when investing in something. Especially when you do it online.

So I try to make this as easy as possible for you with my Money Back Guarantee.

30 Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

You are fully protected by our 100% Satisfaction-Guarantee. If you don't learn anything new after watching the course within 30 days, just send back the course and let us know and we'll send you a prompt refund.

In all the years I have sold DVD's and Online Courses, I can count the number of refunds I have given out on both hands. Only 6, and I have had thousands of orders made.

I'm extremely proud of that fact, and I take great care to ensure everyone that orders through me is 100% satisfied with their order. Whether you want to email me, Facebook Message me, call me, or even do a Skype session to address a problem with your order I will be more than happy to.

If you have read down this far, that means to me you are interested. So go ahead and indulge your curiosity and order now. After all, it is only $40 and if you don't like it, you can get a refund. So really, you have nothing to lose. Go ahead and order now!