Created By: CaveCat on October 12, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on May 23, 2014
Troped

Headlock Of Dominance

Showing that someone is being dominated by putting them in a headlock

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Trope
That's the way it is done.

A schoolyard staple, the headlock is a fighting move where victim's head is pinned between the assaulter's arm and body. In a legitimate fight, this is a bad idea to hold someone like this for an extended time as it leaves someone fairly exposed and simple to break free from. When someone is put (and held) in a headlock in fiction, it's usually a sign that the fight is being completely dominated. Sometimes, for Bonus Points, you can punch the person you've got in a headlock.

The move is commonly associated with The Bully, both in real life and in fiction. Often a sign of a Curb-Stomp Battle.

Compare Spinning Piledriver and Suplex Finisher.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Ken saves Ryu by tackling Bison. Unfortunately, Bison barely budges and immediately grips Ken's neck in a headlock, punching him three times in the face before tossing him into Ryu.
  • A minor example in Yu-Gi-Oh!, where minor character Mako Tsunami is seen with his arm wrapped around another guy's neck (though it's more of a Boisterous Bruiser male-dominance thing rather than intent to cause harm). Though The Abridged Series had him say "Does Mako Tsunami have to choke a bitch?"

Film - Animated
  • At the beginning of Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Kale, Sinbad's second-in-command, punches one of Proteus' soldiers after Sinbad and his men attack the ship in an attempt to steal the Book of Peace.
  • Marty does this to one of the fossa in Madagascar, after Alex shows up to join his friends in fighting the fossa.
  • Tarzan has two examples. The first is while Tarzan is in his growing up montage. Terk easily headlocks him and otherwise displays dominance. Once Tarzan has reached manhood, though, he puts Terk in one, then forgets to let go when the evidence of humans reaches his attention.
    • Later on in the film, Tarzan is fighting Kerchak and he ends up putting the ape in a headlock. He has a My God, What Have I Done? moment after that.

Film - Live-Action
  • In Pacific Rim, during the Hong Kong battle Cherno Alpha does this a couple times to Otachi.
  • In the first movie of The Matrix franchise, Agent Smith puts Neo in a headlock while awaiting an oncoming train to hit them both. Since Smith can Body Surf when his current avatar is killed, this would only permanently kill Neo. Neo escapes, however, by jumping to the ceiling and smashing Smith into it, and then flipping out of the way just in time to avoid the train.
  • In Man of Steel, the climactic fight ends with Superman placing Zod in a headlock. Apparently unable to escape it, Zod responds by turning his Eye Beams on a helpless human family, in order to force Superman to perform a Neck Snap.
  • In Man of Tai Chi, during the (completely one-sided) first part of the final battle, Big Bad Donaka gets the hero Tiger in a headlock and orders him to "show me," in an attempt to get Tiger fired up enough to actually put up a decent fight.

Live-Action TV
  • Saturday Night Live: In the sketch "Civil War Memories" (the US Civil War as recalled by high school dropouts) the Battle of Charleston is described in part thusly:
    And then this southern plugged this Nazi guy in a headlock! And started pounding him! demonstrates Bam! Bam bam bam bam!!
    • This same "southern" is later attacked by 2000 ninjas.
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Reese commonly puts his brothers and kids at school in headlocks. In on episode, when he gave up his bullying ways, during the power vacuum there was a chain of children putting each other in headlocks.
  • An episode of That '70s Show had Eric watching professional wrestling on TV with his friends. Later in the episode he and his dad Red playfully tussle, and he manages to get Red in a headlock. Red pretends that he's been put in submission by that and Eric says "who's the king?" Red suddenly flips around, breaks the headlock, and puts Eric in one, and says "I am".
  • An episode of Parks and Recreation has roommates Andy and Ben in a disagreement. Andy had several brothers, and they always fought until they resolved their issues. Ben's family, however, would never confront anyone. During a Talking Heads segment, Andy addresses the camera and explains this. The camera then zooms out and it turns out that Ben had been in a headlock the whole time.
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Peralta is recounting the sting operation to Captain Holt. He says that Sergeant Jeffords was calm, and wisely didn't take on more than he could handle. Gilligan Cut to Jeffords (pictured above) with three thugs in headlocks (one under each arm, and a third in his legs) saying "I left one for you!" while several SWAT team members have guns pointed at the sole remaining mook.
  • Often used in Everybody Loves Raymond when the Barone brothers revert to childhood and need a way of resolving differences. Usually Robert to Ray, although it has been the other way around.

Web Animation
  • In season 8 of Red vs. Blue, the Reds and Blues are united against black armored Tex. When Tucker winds up getting his teal armor covered in soot due to a Teleporter Accident, Sarge of the red team gets him into a headlock and is punching him. When another red points out that it's Tucker, Sarge punches him again anyway.
  • In RWBY, Cardin holds Jaune in a headlock while pretending to be "friendly". He then told his "friend" to help him and his friends in his assignment tomorrow because Cardin knows Jaune's secret (namely, Jaune faked his transcripts to the Beacon Academy).

Real Life
  • One of the most famous baseball highlights of all time is the August 4, 1993 brawl between the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, in which Robin Ventura charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch, only to have pitcher Nolan Ryan grab him in a headlock and punch him in the face. What made this even funnier is that Ryan was 46 years old, ancient for a baseball pitcher and 20 years older than Ventura.
  • One Dave Barry column had him attend a sporting event where a professional football player the size of a gym playfully put his arm around Dave's neck for what felt like forty-five minutes.

Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • October 12, 2013
    DAN004
    Maybe it needs an image?
  • October 13, 2013
    Alucard
    • Would this count? Heihachi Mishima in Tekken is known for a throw where he grabs an opponent in a headlock and sends waves of electric ki flowing through his arms (and them) before snapping their neck.
  • October 14, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Removed the redundant Exactly What It Says On The Tin part from the description.
  • October 15, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Doesn't seem any less chairs-y than having someone in a headlock. Actually even moreso, since headlocks are at least associated with bullying.

    ... anyway, have an example:
    • In season 8 of Red Vs Blue, the Reds and Blues are united against black armored Tex. When Tucker winds up getting his teal armor covered in soot due to a Teleporter Accident, Sarge of the red team gets him into a headlock and is punching him. When another red points out that it's Tucker, Sarge punches him again anyway.
  • October 17, 2013
    gallium
    Real Life

    • One of the most famous baseball highlights of all time is the August 4, 1993 brawl between the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox, in which Robin Ventura charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch, only to have pitcher Nolan Ryan grab him in a headlock and punch him in the face. What made this even funnier is that Ryan was 46 years old, ancient for a baseball pitcher and 20 years older than Ventura.
  • October 23, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    • Saturday Night Live: In the sketch "Civil War Memories" (the US Civil War as recalled by high school dropouts) the Battle of Charleston is described in part thusly:
      And then this southern plugged this Nazi guy in a headlock! And started pounding him! demonstrates Bam! Bam bam bam bam!!
    This same "southern" is later attacked by 2000 ninjas.
  • October 24, 2013
    KantonKage
    Heihachi doesn't count because it's still a headlock a lethal one but still a headlock. Now hear are other examples from the Tekken series, Marshall Law has a headlock punch and Roger Jr. mom has a variant when she grabs an opponent on a front headlock and repeatedly kicks then in the face.
  • October 24, 2013
    KingZeal
    Edit: This isn't a fighting "style"—it's a fighting move.

    • In Street Fighter II The Animated Movie, Ken saves Ryu by tackling Bison. Unfortunately, Bison barely budges and immediately grips Ken's neck in a headlock, punching him three times in the face before tossing him into Ryu.
  • October 27, 2013
    dalek955
  • October 27, 2013
    Erivale
    A few things: the trope description could use a bit of work to streamline it a bit; it's clear what it's saying, but it's a bit awkward.

    More importantly, as it is, this really is just an example of People Sit On Chairs - Adding another chair to a situation where People Sit On Chairs doesn't change the fact that people are still sitting on chairs. I mean, it could possibly be tropeable if we made it something like, "the fact that the guy's doing this makes him pretty brutal" or something else, but even then, it's iffy at best and most people would just misuse it and shoehorn it in as just how it sounds, which is like having a trope called People Slash With Swords and putting every character who fights with an edged sword down as an example.
  • October 28, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But then we won't have Spinning Piledriver or Suplex Finisher. =P

    Though yeah, I believe this needs some more... substance.
  • October 28, 2013
    Erivale
    ^ The thing about the Suplex Finisher is that it's Garnishing The Story. The description kinda makes it clear that it's nothing more than a fighting move, but it gives reasons why it's used. Spinning Piledriver has the same problem this proposal does; it's more detailed, but aside from a bunch of references to Everything Is Better With Spinning, there really isn't much in the article telling us why it happens or why the author used it or why we should care. I digress, that's a matter for the Trope Repair Shop. I guess what I'm getting at is that this article needs at least some explanation for why it's used in a story, and why we should care. That is what stops it from being People Sit On Chairs.
  • October 28, 2013
    DAN004
    Ultimately, Special Attack tropes add little to the story itself. Yet they're there. I wonder?
  • October 28, 2013
    Erivale
    ^ Point. I'd have to argue about some of them, like Attack Reflector, for example. That has some serious bearing on how a fight will play out. The rest of them seem to fit at different places on a sliding scale between tropeworthiness and chairiness, but getting rid of the bad ones is a job for the trs, not ykttw.

    I'm just stating the fact that this can be turned into a trope, but at the moment, it isn't.
  • October 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    The thing is, this isn't a Special Attack or anything. This is just an attack that a character happened to do at some point. As such, I question its validity.
  • October 29, 2013
    DAN004
    You mean, this move must be a part of someone's repertoire? That is, they have to be known for doing it?
  • October 29, 2013
    Larkmarn
    That I'd consider more valid.

    I maintain that just a trope page for "Headlock" would be more tropeable than Headlock Punch. Headlocks are usually tied to bullying and used to show a fight's one-sided.
  • October 31, 2013
    Erivale
    ^ I agree with the point about how a headlock trope would be more tropeable, maybe as a subtrope of (or something often seen in a) Curb Stomp Battle or something.
  • November 1, 2013
    DAN004
  • November 1, 2013
    KingZeal
    Um...since this apparently has been expanded to be "Guy has other guy in headlock and is dominating", there's a ton of examples to add.

    • In the first movie of The Matrix franchise, Agent Smith puts Neo in a headlock while awaiting an oncoming train to hit them both. Since Smith can Body Surf when his current avatar is killed, this would only permanently kill Neo. Neo escapes, however, by jumping to the ceiling and smashing Smith into it, and then flipping out of the way just in time to avoid the train.
    • In Man Of Steel, the climactic fight ends with Superman placing Zod in a headlock. Apparently unable to escape it, Zod responds by turning his Eye Beams on a helpless human family, in order to force Superman to perform a Neck Snap.

    Although, if you want me to be honest, the headlock punch trope was much more focused. This one can basically be used for any situation where someone has another opponent in a headlock and has control (even if briefly). In Fighting Games alone, you'll have a crazy amount of examples. Jackie from Virtua Fighter, Heihachi from Tekken, Dhalsim from Street Fighter, just to name a few.
  • November 1, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I don't think it should be used for situations where someone is in control briefly, it should only be used when the headlock is used to show that someone is dominating the fight entirely. Or bullying. I propose a rewritten description as such: "A schoolyard staple, the headlock is a fighting move where victim's head is pinned between the assaulter's arm and body. In a legitimate fight, this is a bad idea to hold someone like this for an extended time as it leaves someone fairly exposed and simple to break free from. When someone is put (and held) in a headlock in fiction, it's usually a sign that the fight is being completely dominated.

    The move is commonly associated with The Bully, both in real life and in fiction. Often a sign of a Curb Stomp Battle."

    I also feel like Headlock Of Domination would be a better name. Less zippy, but it seems better.

    • In an episode of Malcolm In The Middle, Reese commonly puts his brothers and kids at school in headlocks. In on episode, when he gave up his bullying ways, during the power vacuum there was a chain of children putting each other in headlocks.
  • November 1, 2013
    KingZeal
    Well, beyond semantics, what's the difference between someone being put into a headlock "briefly" and a headlock used to show clear control of the fight? In all three examples I provided (Street Fighter, The Matrix and Man Of Steel), it was both.
  • November 1, 2013
    DAN004
    Web Animation
    • In RWBY, Cardin holds Jaune in a headlock while pretending to be "friendly". He then told his "friend" to help him and his friends in his assignment tomorrow because Cardin knows Jaune's secret (namely, Jaune faked his transcripts to the Beacon Academy).
  • November 2, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    • An episode of That 70s Show had Eric watching professional wrestling on TV with his friends. Later in the episode he and his dad Red playfully tussle, and he manages to get Red in a headlock. Red pretends that he's been put in submission by that and Eric says "who's the king?" Red suddenly flips around, breaks the headlock, and puts Eric in one, and says "I am".

    (Does it count if it's done in a playful fashion like that?)
  • November 2, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ^^^ Those are fine. The examples I'm worried about are things like normal video game moves where you can put someone in a headlock any time (unless it's a Finishing Move).

    ^ I can't see why not. It's clearly showing who really has the upper hand (not just in the fight, but in the relationship).
  • November 2, 2013
    KingZeal
    ^ Then the name is misleading, and the description needs improvement.

    My suggestion is to rename it akin to something like Unbreakable Headlock and simply ban videogame non-Finishing Movie examples.
  • November 2, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Nah, That70s Show shows the dominating aspect even if it's in a playful fashion. So the title still work.
  • November 3, 2013
    KingZeal
    But that's only one example that happens to fit. My argument is that it's very easy to slip into misuse.
  • November 30, 2013
    Skylite
    • Tarzan has two examples. The first is while Tarzan is in his growing up montage. Terk easily headlocks him and otherwise displays dominance. Once Tarzan has reached manhood, though, he puts Terk in one, then forgets to let go when the evidence of humans reaches his attention.
  • December 8, 2013
    DAN004
    What happened with the examples section?
  • December 9, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^I fixed the examples.
  • December 13, 2013
    Larkmarn
  • December 24, 2013
    captainpat
    Possible trope image
  • December 24, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Like.
  • December 29, 2013
    Larkmarn
    • An episode of Parks And Recreation has roommates Andy and Ben in a disagreement. Andy had several brothers, and they always fought until they resolved their issues. Ben's family, however, would never confront anyone. During a Talking Heads segment, Andy addresses the camera and explains this. The camera then zooms out and it turns out that Ben had been in a headlock the whole time.
  • December 30, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Would anyone be averse to me swapping out the descriptions with the one I proposed above?
  • December 30, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Depends. Is this Up For Grabs yet?
  • January 6, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Doesn't seem to be, but OP really needs more of a description at least. It's incredibly anemic.
  • January 6, 2014
    DAN004
    Laconic needs to be changed too.
  • January 26, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Is OP going to improve the description/laconic...?

    • In Brooklyn Nine Nine, Peralta is recounting the sting operation to Captain Holt. He says that Sergeant Jeffords was calm, and wisely didn't take on more than he could handle. Gilligan Cut to Jeffords with three thugs in headlocks (one under each arm, and a third in his legs) saying "I left one for you!" while several SWAT team members have guns pointed at the sole remaining mook.
  • January 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Dunno. Is this Up For Grabs yet?
  • February 2, 2014
    HellKillUsAll
    Later in Tarzan, Tarzan is fighting Kerchak and he ends up pitting the ape in a headlock. He has a My God What Have I Done moment after that.
  • February 11, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Fleshed out the description and added a Laconic.
  • February 22, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    needs pic.

    also, are "Friendly Bruiser Headlocks" fair game here? it's when a Bruiser character puts a guy in a headlock and "drills" the guy's head with their fist. A staple among tomboys.
  • February 22, 2014
    Larkmarn
  • February 23, 2014
    CaveCat
    ^What show is that from?
  • February 24, 2014
    Larkmarn
  • March 21, 2014
    Chabal2
    • A minor example in Yu Gi Oh, where minor character Mako Tsunami is seen with his arm wrapped around another guy's neck (though it's more of a Boisterous Bruiser male-dominance thing rather than intent to cause harm). Though The Abridged Series had him say "Does Mako Tsunami have to choke a bitch?"
    • One Dave Barry column had him attend a sporting event where a professional football player the size of a gym playfully put his arm around Dave's neck for what felt like forty-five minutes.

  • April 22, 2014
    DAN004
    I wonder what's the lacking thing here...
  • April 25, 2014
    AgProv
    Often used in 'Everybody Loves Raymond when the Barone brothers revert to childhood and need a way of resolving differences. Usually Robert to Ray, although it has been the other way around.

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