Although the guillotine is one of the most simple and versatile submissions in Jiu Jitsu, while also being one of the oldest, it is one the most underutilized submissions in the sport. Students will go through white belt and even blue belt without ever finishing the guillotine one time in a match. This is unfortunate because it is absolutely vital for self-defense.
The guillotine comes in many different forms, each used in specific scenarios or being favored types by certain grapplers. For example, Marcelo Garcia is notorious for his high elbow guillotine.
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Just like with many other groups of submissions in Jiu Jitsu, the guillotine has a difficult learning curve, probably more than most submissions. Consequently, only a few high level competitors ever use it to defeat equally skilled opponents.
As a white belt and blue belt, I was always a fan of grapplers that favored this submission such as Marcelo Garcia and Garry Tonon. Hence, I kept practicing this submission but did not improve much on it since no one around really used it much.
After experimenting with the high elbow guillotine, sometimes referred to as the marcellotine, my success with guillotines jumped tremendously. I first learned this from an online video by Garry Tonon where he very briefly went over. Later, I attended a seminar taught by Garry and Gordon Ryan where they explained the guillotines in much greater detail.
At this seminar, I learned one of the most valuable pieces of information regarding the guillotine chokes. This was regarding how deep the choking hand should be placed for maximal leverage against the carotid arteries. My issue previously, and I think many newer students struggle with this, is that I kept the choking hand right under the chin rather than sliding it deeper across. This small detail enhanced my guillotine tremendously.
In the following video Garry illustrates the high elbow guillotine with details that actually makes sense. See below:
The details for this submission are what make it and break it. In order to finish the choke, the choking hand needs to slide to the shoulder. This allows the attacker to squeeze both sides of the neck, constricting both carotid arteries. This constriction is enhanced even further when the choke is done as a high elbow guillotine.
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