Hit the Front Headlock Cradle with Hudson Taylor
In any combat sports scenario, what can be considered the most vulnerable and attack part of the human body? While you might be inclined to think it’s the arms or legs, it can arguably be considered the head. Think about it, how to you prevent your opponent from hitting a takedown? A sprawl and a crossface. How do you move your opponent’s feet in the tie-up? With a collar tie to the head and neck. What is the most common pin in wrestling? The half nelson. Each of these involve targeting the head to manipulate your opponent’s posture for your gain. It is with this concept in mind that the front headlock and cradle work effectively as offensive maneuvers.
With that said, what if you were to combine the isolating power of the front headlock with the full body bind of the cradle and add an extra roll with it for good measure? Wonder no longer, as former Columbia University wrestling coach Hudson Taylor demonstrates the roll through cradle from the front headlock in the video below.
Setting Up the Front Headlock
The front headlock is not a position that you will obtain easily, especially against a mobile opponent. However, it is not impossible. You can set it up in a variety of ways from standing or in referee’s position. While in neutral, you can establish a collar tie and work for a snapdown, which can lead to the position. Your opponent can shoot on you and you can respond with a sprawl and front headlock in tandem. If you find yourself on top for referee’s position, you can spin around to the front to work the move, although this does run the risk of losing them to an escape.
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Setting Up the Cradle
Having the front headlock gives you greater access to the upper body control you need for the cradle. In this variation, Taylor has his right arm under his opponent’s chin and across to the back of their arm. To help maintain this position, he moves his own head just below his opponent’s shoulder in the space created from the headlock. While this is going on, he is maintaining top pressure by keeping weight on the opponent at all times. He brings up his right leg, reaches across to their right ankle, and keeps his wrist beyond the leg to compensate for any movement. This opens up the hole for the cradle, so Taylor’s head is now under their torso and in prime position for the roll through.
Hitting the Roll Through
This cradle is not a typical “lock and hold” pinning combination. Instead, it uses motion to bring the opponent over their hips and onto their back. Taylor’s roll starts with him rolling over his opponent’s leg, essentially replacing the spot where their legs were with their head. At the first part of this junction, Taylor is resting on his opponent’s torso while having their arm and leg held independently by his arms. You cannot stay in this position too long as it will give the opponent time to hip down and cover you.Taylor solves this by high-legging towards the opponent’s head with their leg, locking his hands, and crunching the opponent up on their side. This finish from here is simply walking around their legs, propping their leg up, and staying heavy on top for full back exposure. As independent components, the opponent may be able to resist the motion or stop the step-over. However, combined together in a fluid motion, they are unable to prevent themselves from falling to their back.
Why work two separate head-based moves when you can combine them into an ultimate pinning combination? The front headlock cradle, as shown by Hudson Taylor above, reaches optimum effectiveness with the added roll through. Give it a try next time and see how many times you’ll be pinning your opponents.
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