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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 you can punch the person you've got in a headlock for added dominance.
The move is commonly associated with The Bully
, both in real life and in fiction. It's also often a sign of a Curb-Stomp Battle
Compare Spinning Piledriver
and Suplex Finisher
Anime and Manga
Film - Animated
- 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 - Live-Action
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.