Setting Up The Guillotine Choke Without Losing Position & Compromising Yourself

Setting Up The Guillotine Choke Without Losing Position & Compromising Yourself

The Guillotine Choke is a very powerful submission, one that gets all of the attention from everyone when performed correctly! However, if you don’t set it up properly, it can be defended swiftly and get you into a bad position all too easily!
In order to prevent opponents from both escaping your Guillotine and from putting you into a compromising position, there’s a couple of important things that you absolutely need to make sure are accounted for.


Firstly, let’s take a look at what the easiest counter to a Guillotine Choke looks like. Stephan Kesting shows this wonderfully: he demonstrates how, when you apply the Choke without using your legs, easy it is for your opponent to pass you – doing so by passing towards your weak side, the side opposite to where your choking arm is, that is – and, thus, to neutralize your choke.

What this means, Stephan elaborates, is that you want to keep your opponent’s head and body on your „strong“ side!
And how do you do that? It’s simple: block their hip with your shin across it from underneath and use your other leg – one on your weak side – to place it over the top of their back. By doing this, you’ll prevent your opponents from escaping to your weak side, and you’ll therefore be well on your path to making your Guillotine worry-free.

Here’s Stephan Kesting, greatly demonstrating these pointers:

But, what happens if you don’t use your legs to hinder their escape attempt? It’s simple, yet again, just worse off for you this time: they’ll be able to impose their own game by passing to your weak side. Then, for example, they may use the infamous Von Flue Choke to punish you for your mistake… Watch the video below and pay attention to how easily keeping your legs disengaged can get you Von Flue choked:


It’s important to note that ending up in your opponent’s Side Control and getting Von Flue choked is not the only byproduct of a badly set-up Guillotine. There are other ones! For example, your opponents may use the so-called „Peek Out“ technique, turning to the corner and getting your back in the process! Or, simply enough, they may be able to pop their head out and retrieve their posture.
And that, actually, contains the key element for a successfully applied Guillotine: you don’t tap out your opponent by squeezing their neck tighter, but by keeping their posture broken down.

This is done by putting your armpit over the back of their head and pressing it down. Also, you need to make sure that their head never goes in front of your chest – as this will give them a favorable angle to pop it out. Instead, make sure that your armpit stays over the back of their head, and that their head is next to your ribs. If the situation arises and asks you to change angles, then do so by getting your chest over their head – but never let their head get in front of it!

Watch all of these steps being displayed on the video below:


And here’s a secret treat, just for you! If you don’t want to risk losing your Guillotine and dominant position by laying down, you can finish it by slipping your choking arm underneath your opponent’s neck, posting your other hand on their shoulder – and then by gripping the wrist with your choking hand and closing the elbows downwards for the tap!

If you want to take you knowledge on the guillotine to the next level, Blackzillians head coach and grappling start, Neil Melanson just released a new DVD series, The Headhunter Guillotine.” Neil is not your average grappler, he has a background in catch wrestling but he is able to adapt bjj and other grappling techniques. He is one of the BEST instructors in the world and people praise him. Check out his work below!