More comprehensive explaination of the guillotene


White Belt
Nov 23, 2005
Reaction score
I know you get them basically in a headlock but what do you do to choke them out?? I can't see what is going on in BJJ techniques webpage cause they just show the top view and not what is going on underneath where you cant see
i believe you use the blade like bone that is on your thumb side of your wrist on there trechea i think.
Yeah, from everything I know it is a compression choke, compressing the airway. I think a lot of the time it is just done with the forearm, but a good number of people try it with the top of their wrist, as the above posted (including Bas).
There are a lot of different versions of the guillotine. Choke, strangle (throat compression), neck crank... You can even do all of them at once.
I assume you already know what a guillotine looks like. I'm just giving some more details.

The choke: I've seen this one standing up. You try to get the crook of your elbow next to their chin, like a RNC, and pull up.

Strangle: standing or when you have him in your guard. You can use your forearm or your wrist bone. You should try to apply pressure perpendicularly to his throat to have more penetration. A good way to do that is to stick his head in the ground. It's also harder to get out this way.

Neck crank: from the guillotine on the ground, try to make your elbow touch your tigh (on the side where you have his head), creating a sideways neck crank for him. This is dangerous, be careful with it.
Sometimes if you simply stretch him with your legs, it will also create a lot of pressure on his neck. Try not pulling with your arms, you'll get tired quick.
The grip is key. I really like to gable grip my hands together, so that I can get some nice upwards pressure on the neck.
A lot of people just take their hands and pull like madman on the trachea. I prefer going on an angle and pulling on one side of the caratoid. I don't like trachea chokes and I would never forigve myself if I damaged someones throat like that in training or comp.
You can also do the guillotine by chocking with the wrist
I hate the regular guillotine. I never, ever get it. As a wrestler, I learned my lesson getting caught in it a few times after some sloppy shots, but now, I really rarely am ever caught in it.

There are so many modifications to the guillotine, because the standard one just needs improvement. It's a great self defense move, but against an experienced guy, you probably won't catch him.

Here are some of the best modifications I've seen:

From Murilo and Mauricio Rua:
From a Thai clinch, pop his head under your armpit. Lock on a standing guillotine, but to prevent the "lift" defense, underhook with the arm that's not around his throat. Now, with the arm that's around his neck, put that hand in the pit of your underhooking elbow, and figure-4 your arms. Lift and squeeze. He can't drop down to lift you, and the choke is tighter.

From Kenny Florian:
From a guillotine, standing or on the ground, take the arm that's not around his neck, and cinch your grip up so that the outer forearm of your "free" arm (the one that's not around his neck) is touching his trap (shoulder). The elbow of your "free" arm is now pointing down towards his butt, and the forearm is on his shoulder. The choke is tighter and he can't get closer.

If for some reason, you can't do this, or don't want to, figure-4 your arms like you're doing an RNC. (Without an underhook) This is REALLY tight and you'll get a fast tap.

From Mark Hatmaker and Bas Rutten:
From a sprawl-guillotine position, take the forearm that's around his throat and put it in his cheekbone (you're crossfacing him with your inner forearm). Cross face him so that his face turns AWAY from the arm that's holding his head. He's now facing sideways, and your chest/belly is pressing down on the side of his head. With your "free" arm, post on his shoulder, and grip the wrist of the posting arm with your cross-facing arm. Lift up SLOWLY because his neck will pop right away. It's a strong neck crank.