Guillotine Choke

Top Half Guard Position

The half guard position

Getting your opponent on his back and getting on top of him is a great position to be in, in general, during a fight. Of course there are a variety of ways this can happen and not every position is as sought after as the other. Being on top and caught in half guard is usually on the less sought after side of the spectrum when it comes to grappling. This is probably because from bottom half guard you have a good amount of control even from your back and there is a lack of familiarity from the submissions from top half guard as well.

A lack of familiarity only means that a lot of people have room for improvement from this position. Or they need to find a way to get into a position that they are more comfortable in. There are a variety of passes and submissions possible to achieve that form this position.

Top Half Guard Passes

Passing somebody’s half guard is not usually the easiest thing to do. This is because if they have had any type of training they will have your leg locked down tight with their legs. Also though when in bottom half guard the last thing you want to do is slip up and give up a full mount to the opponent because its all downhill from there. However of course there are a variety of passes that you can perform of course and all involve a good amount of technical skill. Here is a website with a variety of these passes.

Striking from Top Half Guard

Top half guard offers a variety of ways to land strikes on the opponent as well. If they break your posture like they should shoulder punches and quick elbows can be used to soften up the opponent for your next move. Also if you posture up and control your position straight shots to the head, body shots, and hooking strikes can all be thrown at the opponent. Striking from this position can be very effective because your orientation to the opponent offers pretty much the same striking options as a full mount. However the opponent is not as defenseless as in full mount so one should also be cautious of a good grappler.

Submissions from Top Half Guard

There are also a good amount of possible submissions that can be performed from top half guard, some being more technical than others. One submission is the arm triangle choke. The concept is similar to that of a regular triangle choke except using the arms instead of the legs and from top half guard it is an easily accessible choke. Another simple submission is the kimura. This joint lock is easily accessible from top half guard  as well because of the leverage and position you have over an the opponent on bottom.

A couple of more technical submissions include the darce choke and a personal favorite from any position the guillotine choke. Both of these chokes are powerful blood chokes that require a slightly more setup than the others mentioned but are very similar in execution. Instead of trying to explain the complexity of these chokes here a couple videos to illustrate them



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.