Forward Headbutt – Tips to Improve Power

This video shows how to generate more power in the headbutt, as well as other tips to become more confident using it.


Hello, this is Randall with KravMagaTraining.com and with this video I’m going to discuss how to generate more power in your forward headbutt, or really, any of the headbutts in general.

That is the biggest problem with headbutts. Beginners have a lot of trouble generating power so they don’t develop a lot of confidence in it and then they don’t use it a lot when they’re practicing their self-defense techniques or when they spar. The key to developing good power in the forward headbutt, it’s your legs, your lower body. Really, in general, most techniques, most of the power comes from using the lower body. Not just your upper body. So this is what I mean is when you do the headbutt you need to bend your knees and get nice and low and then as you drive your head into the target you need to straighten your legs out. It almost feels you’re going to kind of jump up or spring into the opponent. You’ll notice that when I do the headbutt to my opponent’s face, that on impact, I’m up on the balls of my feet. That’s how much I focus on driving with my legs. Beginners when they practice this, they’re taught to bend your knees and get low but they kind of half-ass it like this and rely too much on their neck muscles. I don’t know, they’ve been watching too many silly movies where they watch some silly action scene and the guys doing stupid shit like that, which is totally ridiculous! You can’t get any power with that, you’re telegraphing too much, so the opponent knows what is coming, and you don’t get any power with it. You can’t rely on just your neck muscles, that’s not enough. The key is to use the rest of your body.

Also, another reason why it’s really important to bend your knees is not just the power issue, but it’s also to make sure that you land in the right spot. The key to developing a good headbutt is landing accurately with the top of your head into the opponent’s face, is that you need to look up at their face before you deliver the technique. The reason is not only for the power issue but to make sure that you land cleanly with the top of your head, the crown of your head, onto the face. If you’re especially taller than your opponent and you do this, there’s a good chance that you’re going to collide heads instead of your head hitting their face. Or even worse, you start hitting with your eyebrows, your temple, on any part of their head is actually going to start causing damage to you. So it’s really important not just for the power development to bend your knees and look up at your opponent but also to make sure that you land cleanly on the soft tissues on their face within this target.

So like I said, this rule applies to all headbutts really. From the side, I need to bend my knees. I need to look up at the opponent before I deliver it. So really focus on your leg drive, that’s the key. Focus on what you’re doing with your knees. Bend your knees. It almost feels like you’re springing up into the target. So when you practice on your targets or on your pads focus on the leg drive.

And then my other tip to get, not just for the power on your headbutts, but to actually get good at them, you need to spar and actually use headbutts! I’ve been to way too many Krav Maga schools and I see their fight programs, and I’m sure they’re out there, I’m sure there are some Krav Maga schools that do a lot of headbutts in their classes and in their sparring, but I haven’t seen one yet. I’m sure they’re out there, I’m not talking shit or anything like that, but I would like to see more Krav Maga programs have their advanced students sparring using headbutts. And obviously if you’re going to throw headbutts, you have to have some sort of face protection. In our program we like to use this particular model of headgear with a nice metal cage. That way you’re not going to feel bad about ramming your head into their faces. It’s not going to cause any damage. Anybody who has sparred with me before, and we’re using Krav Maga rules, I’ve headbutted all of them. Every single one of them. Especially if they haven’t sparred me before and they’re not used to being headbutt. So that first time when we clinch up or if we’re doing weapons style sparring and our hands are occupied trying to disarm the weapon from each other, they are so focused on this they never see that headbutt coming. And I’m a huge fan of the headbutt because it doesn’t take very much space, it’s a very short movement, and you can still generate a ton of power just because our head is so big compared to our fist or the rest of our body. It’s like a big bowling ball ramming into their face. So if you’re not very confident with your headbutt, you need to start sparring. And really that key is, that’s the key to everything. If you want to get good at anything, eventually, you can’t just hit pads all day. You need to put on the gear and start trying to use it. Whether it’s getting good at knees, or elbows, or headbutts, or defending knives, whatever, you need to start simulating some actual resistance. Not for the beginner or when you first learn the headbutt. When you get more comfortable and you become more advanced, the sparring and the actual resistance becomes really important.

So those are the two main key points. Focus on a good leg drive, and eventually, you and your sparring partners have got to put on some headgear and actually start headbutting each other when you tie up. So that is my training tip for developing more power in your forward headbutt, or really all your headbutts.