The Guillotine Choke in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The Guillotine

A move that anyone who is involved with mixed martial arts knows of is the guillotine choke. It is used very frequently in the sport as well as in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is the martial art it comes from. Although this is one of the basic jiu jitsu moves its ease of use and versatility make it an extremely effective weapon in the hands of a master as well.

Even though the guillotine choke can be performed from a variety of positions but the final position is always the same. The arm is wrapped around the back of the head and the forearm is placed on the throat of the opponent. The pressure on the neck is then increased by classping both hands and rotating the choking arm into into the neck of the opponent and pulling back with your body.


Performing a flying guillotine choke

The guillotine choke can be performed from literally almost any position. Some of the most common positions its seen from are form a sprawl position or full guard positions. However it can also be performed from the butterfly guard, standing, halfguard, sidemount and others if your being creative.

What also makes this move so deadly is the ability to execute it either extremely fast or very slow and technically sound. For example in a sprawl position after an attempted takedown or a flying guillotine choke can catch an enemy in a vulnerable position and take advantage of it quickly. However form sidemount position or full guard position this move can be set up in a sense and executed with expert percision.

The Grip

A very important aspect of a successful guillotine is a correct grip. Using the correct grip gives the ability to place much more pressur on the neck fo the opponent. This makes the likelihood that the opponent breaks out of the move before it is complete much less.

The correct grip involves placing the area of the wrist right under the thumb right on the throat of the opponent. From there the palm of the other hand is placed over the back of the other handand the figners wrapped around to the meat of your palm. This give a very solid grip and allows for roation of the choking arm using the other arm.

By holding the grip, pressing the arms across the body, and putting the forearms into a “10 and 2” position the choking arm is pressed hard against the throat of the opponent. As the other arm is rotated over the shoulder and back of the opponent the pressure only gets tighter around the throat of the opponent.


A seasoned fighter will not so easily leave his head vulnerable for a quick guillotine becasue it is an extremely common move and many fighters have been caught in it enough times for them to be looking out for it. Also a strong opponent can make it difficult to set up a guillotine choke; by keeping good posture when he is in a closed guard for example.

However a seasoned user of the move would be ablso to execute it from almost any position so at some point the opponent would finally not be expecting a guilotine from that position and be caught in it, ending the fight quickly.

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