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Perfect the Guillotine with this Set Up
Although most students learn this submission early on in their grappling career, the guillotine remains a very underappreciated submission in Jiu Jitsu.
Most students I talk complain about the difficulty of finishing this submission against anyone who isn’t in their first grappling class ever. I can relate to that a lot as I don’t think I finished a guillotine against anyone with some skill till I was a blue belt.
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The first guillotine most people learn is the basic version where to hands are locked under the chin with the elbow of the support arm sitting low. Later on, they learn the arm in guillotine, which is even more difficult to finish without understanding some of the intricate detail involved.
After experiencing much difficulty with this technique, students will forget about it and ignore it even at times where it’ll be easy to catch. This is why I consider the guillotine to be one of the most niche submissions, meaning that only a few of the highest-level guys are known for it.
Even when I started hitting the guillotine when I was a blue belt, I still faced a lot of difficulty finishing and would never get the tap against grapplers more skilled than I am.
Then I learned a crude version of the high elbow guillotine, which is an odd-looking modification to the submission not many experts used. With the high elbow guillotine, my front strangle game was working even against really tough guys.
Fast forward till my purple years and that is where I finally understood the guillotine. In a video by John Danaher, I had an epiphany about the guillotine where I learned something that I thought should’ve been obvious to me even as white belt.
The epiphany was regarding how deep the choking hand should go for the choke. I knew that you started by gripping the chin, but what I realized was that when setting up the choke, I needed to slide my hand so deep that the back of it was sitting on the defenders shoulder.
Garry Tonon is one of those niche users of the guillotine that has successfully submitted some of the best with. In the following video Garry shows how to set up the high elbow guillotine in great detail that actually makes sense. See below:
If you pay attention to the details, you will see how Garry slides his choking hand up to the shoulder rather than keeping it below the collar bone.
This tiny detail makes huge gains in the ability to get the right squeeze to get the tap. Moreso, this detail isn’t just for the high elbow modification but for pretty much any guillotine you use.
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