Nelson hold

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Nelson Hold
Parent styleCatch wrestling
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For the 2006 film, see Half Nelson (film). For the Oliver Nelson album, see Full Nelson (album).
Nelson Hold
Parent styleCatch wrestling

A nelson hold is a grappling hold which is executed from behind the opponent. One or both arms are used to encircle the opponent's arm under the armpit, and secured at the opponent's neck. Several different Nelson holds exist, and they can be separated according to the positioning of the encircling arm(s).

The term "nelson" is derived from "full nelson", which dates back to the early 19th century. It has been suggested that it was named after the British war-hero Admiral Horatio Nelson, who used strategies based on surrounding the opponent to win the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar, but its true origin remains uncertain.[1]


Quarter nelson[edit]

The quarter nelson involves putting one hand on the opponent's neck, passing the free arm under the arm of the opponent, and locking the free arm to the other arm by clasping the wrist. In amateur wrestling a strong quarter nelson can be used to secure a pin, or to control the opponent and advance into a more dominant position.

Half nelson[edit]

Half nelson.

The Half Nelson is referred to by most coaches as being the easiest, but most effective move in Folkstyle wrestling. The half nelson is done using only one hand, by passing it under the arm of the opponent and locking the hand at the opponent's neck. Half nelsons are commonly used in amateur wrestling. In addition, the hand not being used should be holding the opponent's other wrist in so that they can not post the hand or peel the half nelson off.

A power half nelson is a type of half nelson. The hand not performing the nelson is placed on the opponent's head to increase the overall power of the half nelson.

Three-quarter nelson[edit]

Three-quarter nelson.

The three-quarter nelson is done by performing a half nelson using one hand, and passing the other hand at the same side in front of the opponent. The passing hand is locked with the other hand around the neck at the wrist or using a palm-to-palm or interlacing fingers grip. The three-quarter nelson can be used in amateur wrestling to pin the opponent, and is more secure than a half-nelson.

Full nelson[edit]

Full nelson.

The full nelson (sometimes called a double nelson or a double shoulder lock) is done by performing half nelsons with both arms. In collegiate, high school, middle school/junior high school, and most other forms of amateur wrestling, the move is illegal. The holder is on the back side of the opponent, and has his or her hands extended upwards under the opponents armpits, holding the neck with a palm-to-palm grip or with interlaced fingers. By cranking the hands forward, pressure can be applied to the neck of the opponent. The usage of the full nelson in combat sports is very limited. It is a secure hold which can be used to control the opponent, but does not allow for finishing action, such as pinning the opponent, executing a reliable submission hold, or allowing for effective striking.[2] Because it can be used as a limited neck crank, it is considered dangerous in some grappling arts, and is banned, for instance, in amateur wrestling.


  1. ^ Archer, Jeff; Svinth, Joseph (January 2005). Professional Wrestling: Where Sports and Theater Collide, InYo: Journal of Alternative Perspectives on the Martial Arts and Sciences. URL last accessed January 7, 2006.
  2. ^ Benn, Frank. Full Nelson Strategy – Use and Counters. URL last accessed February 6, 2006.

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