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Escaping the Guillotine

Escaping the Guillotine


The guillotine is one of the oldest submissions in the book and should be so, it is an extremely powerful strangle that works well at every level in Jiu Jitsu. The guillotine also has many different variants, each with its on benefits and consequences. The guillotine is also very versatile because it can be attacked from nearly any position in Jiu Jitsu, including scrambles, and that’s why we are told to always keep our head up and have good posture.

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Defending the guillotine is a tricky situation. For grapplers that are big and strong, they can just grab the arm and pull it off, but even this doesn’t work that well against certain types of guillotines, especially the high elbow one, which is extremely powerful. Because of this, we need to find and practice technical and effective ways to escape all kinds of guillotine.

Which guillotine escape you use depends a lot on timing. The escape you would use immediately after someone catches it could be something like a sit through if you are caught in turtle or a hop to the far side is the attacker doesn’t have their legs closed.

These escapes work very well, but what happens if its too late to do those and the attacker is in the finishing stages of his guillotine set up? Let’s find out. In the following video, Bernardo Faria shows how to escape a guillotine as the attacker is putting that pressure on to get the tap. See below:

Essentially, what Bernardo is trying to do with this escape is get his torso to the far side of the guillotine, which will resemble the position you would be in if you got an early escape. When someone manages to get to the far side when defending the guillotine, the finish becomes essentially impossible. In fact, if a grappler tries to hold on to the guillotine there, they are in danger of a von flue choke. 

One tip I have for that helps with defending against guillotines is keep your chin tucked and try to rotate your head to the inside. Imagine you are bringing the back of your head against the attacker’s torso. This small detail can help escape guillotine from anywhere.

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