Here is everything you need to know about how to guillotine people
Here I will attempt to explain my comprehensive understanding of the guillotine as applied in various forms in my personal experience with training the guillotine over the last four years. I will also attempt to summarize the guillotine control and finish concepts explained in the Youtube video Mastering the Guillotine with Karel Silver Fox Pravec and Coach Zahabi, which is a 40 minute guillotine control and finish concepts lesson.
I have since updated my guillotine game with these concepts and it has been super effective so I am excited to share it with you. Many of these concepts contradict my previous methods, which suggests that many high level guillotine masters perform the techniques their own unique way, and they all work.
At the end of this guillotine thesis is a summary of the collection of notes I have compiled on the ten-finger guillotine and the arm-in guillotine.
I am an avid fan of the guillotine, it is my favorite submission system hands down because it travels well. Arm-in, arm-out, one-hand… there’s no one in the world who won’t give you a front headlock at some point if you’re looking for it.
Here is everything you need to know about how to guillotine people.
My notes from 4 years of study, with summaries from the guillotine video taught by Karel Silver Fox Pravec and Firas Zahabi, and additional notes from the High Elbow Guillotine by John Danaher video.
(just watch their video instead)
Arm-in guillotine vs. arm-out guillotine
The guillotine concepts addressed hereafter are primarily based on the no-arm guillotine. Unless otherwise stated, hereafter the term ‘guillotine’ will refer to the no-arm guillotine. There are advantages and disadvantages to both arm-in and arm-out guillotines. I will offer a brief explanation of the differences before we dive into the concepts.
The advantage with a no-arm guillotine is you have control of both carotids in one arm.
Another advantage is the far side hand, the choking support hand, can safely switch to an underhook at the elbow of your opponent as they move back to assist in sweeping your opponent when they try to pull their head out, bridge, or flip out of your seated guillotine position.
The disadvantage with a no-arm guillotine is the risk of your opponent’s head slipping out, leaving you with a devastating position loss.
The advantage with an arm-in guillotine is you have control over the possibility of your opponent’s head slipping out. You naturally have a safer amount of control because you are in control of your opponent’s head and arm, not just their head.
You also have a solid chain of positions in the darce, guillotine, and anaconda head control positions, which makes it very easy to control your opponent’s desperate movements without the risk of their head popping out.
The disadvantage with an arm-in guillotine is that your arms are not directly controlling your opponent’s carotids. You may get one sort of when you compress. You may even be applying pressure to one with the throttling of your choking hand, or the side of your support hand in a ten-finger type of grip, but most of the constriction will be coming from your opponent’s own shoulder, your own arm and lat as you crunch and compress. Thus finishing the strangle is more difficult than with the no-arm guillotine.
The primary method we will be addressing hereafter is the no-arm guillotine.
How do I collect, grip, and keep the guillotine?
The grip’s security is foremost guaranteed by shoulder-forward pressure on your part, over your opponent’s head. If you drive your shoulder forward into them, the head will not pop out. You will direct your opponent’s head downward with this pressure.
Shoulder forward. Think about it, and then try it. It will make so much sense when you apply it.
Next in matters of importance, you need a secure hand grip. There are many to try and each benefit from specific use cases. Try them all.
The third aspect of the guillotine control and finish is the leg positioning and the functions of your two legs, which we will address at length in this thread.
Once you have obtained the guillotine grip, it is up to the opponent to decide whether they want to press forward in attempts to pass, or pull back, in attempts to rip their head out.
If the opponent presses forward in attempts to pass, your objective is to fold into position by the time you reach the ground. Your near-side leg (the leg that is on the same side as the choke) is underneath them along their stomach for control, to keep them from aligning themselves on top of you, and to follow them if they try to move to the side to pass your legs. As they move to the side, they are basically sweeping themselves as your near side leg is acting as a sweeping leg.
You can turn your choking support hand, the far side hand, into an underhook at your opponent’s elbow and bridge into your opponent to sweep them into side control or mount. You will still have the choke grip with one hand. To finish: Resist the temptation to lift up! You aren’t trying to rip their head off. You are trying to strangulate them. Crunch your elbow down to your knee. Backwards and down. Melt your weight around their neck. That’s the key to the guillotine strangulation.
*Your other leg, your far side leg, must be free for you to base out to maintain your position or to control the back of your opponent.
Otherwise you are controlling their body with your inside leg, basing out with your free leg. At this point I do not know if or when it is beneficial to have the free leg over the back. Unless you want to finish the guillotine from the bottom and don’t want to move to the top position. To strangle, you compress your upper body around the neck of your opponent. Think of touching your elbow to your knee, while getting to your side. Think about melting your weight around their neck.
Remember: Keep your shoulder pressing forward. Keep your opponent’s head down, keep things nice and snug in there.
When you have the grip in a neutral position like the turtle position or in a seated position, the opponent can decide to stand up, pull backward, or do a wild flip in attempt to rip his or her head out. You will see people do some pretty desperate things when falling into a good seated guillotine.
At this time, you can assume they are giving up mount. Your choking support hand can switch to an elbow underhook and you can control them in a half nelson sort of way, down to the ground. While keeping the guillotine grip at the chin with one hand. When you land in side control you can compress there for the finish or you can accept side control or move to mount. But the finish is easiest there, from the top. Simply constrict by melting your weight around their neck, and getting to your side while compressing your elbow down to your knee.
Shoulder forward is very important. The shoulder controls the opponents head, which effectively removes their ability to pop their head out. If you relax on the shoulder, you will lose the grip. If you lose the grip they will smash you into oblivion.
What do I do with my legs?
The leg functions are as follows: The near side leg acts as a sweeping lever, controlling your opponent’s attempts to realign on top of you, and following the opponent as they try to pass to the side of you. The far leg ought to be free in order to base out and help you drive forward while on the floor. It can also serve in the traditional sense of controlling your opponent’s back.
But because of the positioning of the near side leg, your opponent has no choice but to be swept by it. So covering the back with the far side leg may serve only to keep your opponent in the position so that you may finish the choke.
How do I strangle?
How to perform the strangle: As long as you have a proper head control, and the legs in the right place, just hip out. If you cannot constrict yourself around the neck of your opponent well enough, hip out. To apply the constriction, think about it as getting to your side while trying to touch your elbow to your knee.
Think about it as melting your weight around your opponent’s neck, as opposed to pulling your opponent’s head off. It’s more of a crunching in, pressing down, using your chest and your lat and your arm and the weight of your body as you get to your side, or as you roll to your side from top side control. Contemplate on the idea of constriction.
Biggest mistakes people make with guillotines
- Letting the opponent’s head pop out
If that were to happen in nature, you’re probably beaten into oblivion. If you can see your opponent’s hair you will not finish the guillotine It’s not about pinching their neck, it’s about compressing everything around the neck, melting your entire being intto that space. Keep your shoulder forward over your opponent’s head.
- Falling straight back/trying to pull the opponent’s head straight off
Again, you need to be on the side of your opponent to apply proper constriction to their neck. You’re not trying to cut their head off, you’re trying to strangle them by compressing their neck completely and totally. Hip out, hip out, get to the side. Your opponent should be on the side of you, completely in your control.
- Keeping the opponent directly over them.
Even when you are in the right position, you need to make sure with your same-side leg that your opponent does not realign themselves directly over you, because you cannot constrict their neck like you need to from directly underneath them. Also, most submissions are not meant to be performed from flat on your back. It’s almost always better to be on your side.
- Trying to finish from closed guard. You need to be on the side of them. You need to be able to hip out in order to totally constrict.
Most of these mistakes look very related. The point is that you should be able to totally control your opponent with your head control and with the liberty of your legs. So position yourself like this, happy headhunting:
ARM-IN GUILLOTINE KEY DETAIL
One key detail I would like to point out regarding the difference between the arm-out and arm-in guillotine is the control position on the opponent’s head. With the arm-in guillotine, because you have upper body control over the opponent’s shoulder as well as the head, and because you do not have direct choking arm pressure on the opponent’s carotids, your arm should rest on the top of the opponent’s head, just before the crown area. So while I stated with the arm-out guillotine you must not see your opponent’s hair, with the arm-in guillotine it is required to position your arm in a way that allows their neck to bend at the middle over your forearm.
Try to lock your hands directly under the chin. Not off to the side. With a trachea choke, they will be much quicker to tap with two rocks digging into their throat instead of one flat bar.