How To Execute The Classic Guillotine Choke In Jiu Jitsu

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Introduction: The Classic Guillotine Choke

Chokes are arguably the most effective fight stoppers there are. Some guys can just take a good punch. Some people are just plain tough or on drugs and don’t mind getting their arm broken in an armbar.

But, as Helio Gracie used to say, “when it comes to chokes, there are no tough guys”. The informed martial artist should always remember that no matter how big and tough someone may be, everyone has a neck. This is a truth that should be both reassuring and humbling.

And when it comes to chokes, the guillotine choke is one of the most high-percentage chokes out there.

It can be done from a variety of positions and can come on fast. Many an advanced belt has tapped to a guillotine choke even from a beginner.

So the guillotine choke is a highly effective technique that is very simple to learn. It’s great for stopping a takedown or catching an opponent unaware. Once you have the basic move down, it’s pretty easy to learn the variations that can be pulled from different positions.

For today, we’re going to talk about the “old school” classic guillotine choke that works great and is actually the third most common submission in the UFC.

In this move, your opponent is coming directly out you in a takedown attempt.

Step 1: Wrap up the choke

For this example, we’ll say that your opponent comes at you with their head angled down. He’s going to be attempting a takedown.

As soon as he is within range, wrap his head in your arms and pull him in. His head should be under your arm, between your arm and your ribs.

Your top arm needs to be over his neck and your bottom arm should be under his neck, across his throat. Lock your hands together under his throat.

Check your grip to be sure your opponent cannot get his head free.

Step 2: Finish the choke

Now, you need to slowly pull up, cranking your opponent’s neck into a smaller and smaller space. If you do this move in the air, you’ll be able to visibly see the space between your ribs and your arms getting smaller.

This space is exactly where you want your opponent’s head to be. As you finish the choke, you’ll want to extend your chest as you pull up on your opponent’s throat.

This will make your choke more than just a muscle battle. Doing this will also make your choke faster and more effective.

Conclusion: Learning The Basics Of The Classic Guillotine Choke

In summary, the basic guillotine choke is great for both jiu jitsu matches and street fights.

Once you have the classic move down, you’ll be able to throw in many new variations of this choke, such as the more advanced “10 finger guillotine” the “fast guillotine” and the popular “high elbow/Marcellotine” versions into your rolling.

It’s also important to know how to execute the guillotine from various positions, such as the shin guard guillotine. Knowing how to troubleshoot the guillotine choke is also very important.

Bottom line – the guillotine choke is an important basic technique that any good fighter needs.

Related Article: Jiu Jitsu Houston: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started

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Father of eight, Dr. Scott Sullivan is the chief instructor at Bam Bam Martial Arts in Houston, TX. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and is a seasoned martial arts instructor with over 30 years of experience. A firm believer that martial arts really does help people become more fit, safe, and happy, he remains vigilant about helping people improve their lives through martial arts.