Half Guard Arm & Head Guillotine

I think I finally got it!!

I've been experimenting with the head-and-arm guillotine (a guillotine where you have one arm trapped as well) for a long time, and it just hasn't worked for me (up to now). Then I made a few adjustments and, badda bing, badda boom, it started working.

So here are the steps that I think are neccesary:

1 - start with your partner/opponent on his knees. You have him in a front headlock: your arms encircling his head and right arm. Your right fist is resting in your left palm ("cup and saucer grip")

2 - Now dip your right shoulder a bit and slide your right arm in deeper, passing it over top of your left forearm. Your right palm grips your left arm, just at the base of the tricep, above the elbow. Your left palm cups your right elbow.

Basically you are grabbing your own elbows, which means that there are now two forearms underneath his head and a lot less space and the guillotine requires a lot less strength. I am accepting nominations to name this grip.

3 - Now drive into him: he will usually drive back into you, rising up a bit and creating room for you to:

4 - Fall back to half guard, trapping his right leg between your own legs

5 - squeeze and watch him tap from a choke/strangle/neck crank!


1 - Make sure that your right arm is in DEEP. The crook of your right elbow should be right over his windpipe, NOT your forearm

2 - Fall on your side for the half guard. Make sure you trap his right arm with 'the grip' and his right leg with your legs

3 - When applying the actual guillotine make sure you KEEP YOUR CHIN ON HIS BACK. This will prevent you from loosening your grip as you arch.

Give this one a try and let me know how it goes.

Sounds very cool, I will give it a go on Monday.

Any particular reason that the goal is half guard instead of a full closed guard?

Argh I hate this move, Bocek always does that to me from standing or 1/2 guard.

JRockwell - I've mainly been doing it from half guard because it allows me to move my hips out to the side more easily. It would probably work from full guard too, especially if you hip out.

Good point, Stephan - one of the main reasons I feel I don't finish arm-in guillotines much is that I can't crunch to the side enough when strong guys are really resisting. Doing it from half guard would definitely help that.

As far as your legs go, are you simply crossing your ankles/calves to trap his leg, or do you have a specific foot positioning? (ie. top knee in his hip, triangle, lockdown, etc.)

Also, are you pulling your opponent's body toward you or extending him away from you as you finish the choke? That seems to be a point of discrepancy between different methods of executing the guillotine. Thanks!

"I am accepting nominations to name this grip. "

Shiver Grip, freezing grip, genie grip :)

Lol, I like "Genie grip".

doubleblade grip

omoplata - The reason that I started researching this position at all is because high-level grapplers had started using it against other high level grapplers in competition. I've been caught in it by other grapplers roughly my own ability and size. A variation of this move was even used by one of the Nogueira brothers in Pride.

So I've been aware that this is a high-percentage technique for a while now; it just didn't work for me until I tweaked the grip. Now I'm sharing the grip on this forum as a bit of an experiment to see if it works for anybody else.

Now I haven't managed to tap out anybody world-famous with it, but the way to develop and refine a new technique is to start with white belts. When you can consistently catch them with it you move on and try it against blue belts, and so on. When I've mastered it then Jacare and Roger Gracie better watch out.... ;-)

To address you question about whether the guy can pass your guard or not: if you have his head and right arm, and also trap the right leg, it is very difficult. If you trap his other (left) leg instead then the choke is much weaker and the position much easier to pass.

I appreciate the tone of your question though: would that all on-line debates were so civil!

I'm with ZeSaku - need leg details! I actually asked that a bit higher on the thread, but it might not have been posted in time for Stephan to see it.

Stephan, I got my first tap with this move tonight, against a pretty high level blue, who is VERY strong for his weight and doesn't tap to much if he can help it. He said it was super tight, and while the choke didn't come on with extreme pressure, he felt that the grip was so tight that there was no way to get out, and he would have eventually passed out.

I think I need to experiement a bit with how exactly to exert pressure with this grip to get the most bang for my buck. It felt VERY secure, though.

Very nice. I've tried variations of this but this sounds solid. I will try it tonight w/ and w/o gi and report back.

Excellent tips! Im going to try that. Im never able to finish the head and arm guillotine!

Re leg details: I suppose that if you could achieve the "lockdown" (aka the double leg triangle) it would be ultra-secure and virtually unescapable. It could be a bit difficult to get this leg position though.

I have only hooking with my inside (right) leg, sometimes securing it a little bit by triangling my right instep under my left knee (or even just behind my left ankle).

Like I said, it's a move in progress.

ttt cool thread ... will try this variation for sure as I typically don't even bother trying arm inside guillotines.

is the cup and saucer grip where you make a fist with your right hand and your left hand grabs your wrist(the standard gracie guillotine style)?

so when you slide your arms together you end up with both your thumbs on the inside of your arms and your fingers on the outside? right on your bicep.


pakawot - we agree about the definition of the guillotine grip.

With regards to the grip modification I keep the thumb alongside the other fingers. This feels stronger and tighter than having the thumbs on the inside of the biceps

baret yoshida and burton came on here about two years back and discussed baret's version of the 10 finger guillotine that works wonders for me.

Circle opponent's head w/ your R arm & cup his chin.

L arm goes circle his R arm and grabs the outer palm of my R hand (which is gripping his chin)

Keep elbows flared out (i've seen some people instructing to "butterfly" the arms by bringing the elbows together)

Now, like you're "cradling" a baby, swing your arms to your L (his R). This should allow the blade of your wrist to come in contact w/ the L side of his neck.

To finish, twist your right hand IN to you in a scooping motion.


Have your chin OVER opponent's RIGHT shoulder

Lean body back. Close guard. Don't be directly under opponent, but on your right hip.

Tried this "Genie" guillotine last night and shared it with my guys, sweet move. Took some adjusting to find the best way to make it work but I was catching it off the snapdown and sprawl in no time. Thanks for sharing.


There you have it, folks. If Levo likes it, it's got to be the shizzy!

Hey Levo, what "adjustments" have you found make it work the best? I am experimenting with it a good bit with myself, but am still looking for the perfect finish. How are you squeezing with your arms/upper body? How are your legs positioned? I was thinking about playing with keeping the top half-guard knee in front of his hip and using it to stretch him out, as I do that a lot from half-guard anyway...

I am liking it as a less energy consuming alternative to the Anaconda. I don't have to worry about "oh, what if the guy blocks my roll and then I'm trying to muscle him over" etc. If I just jump to half guard with this grip, I've got a really strong choke - and if for some reason I miss, I'm in half-guard, which is home base right now. ;)

Ttt fo' Levo...