If I were a coach I'd ban my fighters from any sort of guillotine

You can easily be exposed to guillotines while telling your fighters not to jump guillotine instead of going for good, solid TDD.

Get exposed to guillotines while doing no-gi; get exposed to them while you are already in your training partner’s guard; get exposed to them while you are already finishing takedowns.

A good, successful jump guillotine is all about catching your opponent by surprise. Obviously, you’re going to have a better chance catching someone who doesn’t ever see them while training. I like to drill jump guillotines (plan A) to get ups when they aren’t successful (plan B).

Coaching decisions are all about trade-offs. To me, the costs of instilling the bad habit of jumping guillotines are far greater than not getting enough training in that one situation, since you can learn guillotine defense in other ways.

Also, I don’t think I have EVER been submitted by guillotine while taking someone down against the fence. It is not hard to avoid being choked there. I have been guillotined while getting takedowns in space.

When I was competing on grappling & mma I made these same mistakes- the nerves Costs u the ability to make well considered decisions. Eventually I got smart and wrote down on pen and paper and studies what I would not do in any fight no Matter how much in the moment I felt I had the sub I’d right down “no matter what I will abandon any sub if a chance to bet too presents itself” and “never give up a position to hit a sub until the last round of the fight snd even then only if losing”.
Writing it down and studying it helps me so less dumb crap
But that’s just me.
Obvious you ufc fighters are better than me and they are probably used to jumping guard and hitting subs cause often they train with inferior opposition- even in the best gyms the average guy is not quite ufc level afterall.
So maybe it’s cause they are used to hitting the subs?
Maybe it’s what I call “the gym tap”. When teaching I’ll always distinguish between what will make a guy tap in rolling and make a guy tap in competition & what will make a guy tap in an actual pro fighter with your career (and health) on the line.
I bet most of us tap all the time to things we wouldnt tap to in the cage.
Many moves come to mind like strait ankle.
Don’t get me wrong the strait ankle can rip a foot off or even crack a shin bone but most strait ankles that I tap to in class I wouldn’t tap to in the cage.
And chokes of course many ufc fighters… who are super tough people… are just not gonna tap to, they don’t fear going unconscious like they fail losing.
I think it’s a combo of these things.
I know at the local level where I fought it was more just inexperience combined with the adrenaline dump skewering my judgement but at the highest level with the most experienced fighters on earth they mostly probably solved the nerves thing that gets to us mortals and they are maybe just giving up position cause they are used to guys tapping
Either way it’s a good question that I can only theorize on.
When I’ve asked ufc fighters
“Why did u make that terrible decision?”
Mostly I’ve heard back “no idea.”


I often wonder why in mma comp when guys have a guillotine the dont do one of the various ways to take yourself down like sitting to butterfly that can end u up on too rather than Jump closed guard.
Obviously jumping guard on the move in 2021 at the highest level is very low % but we all know that we still must respect the move cause if u don’t fully do so then u can lose the fight right there.
So I always suggest that guys fake the standing Ken shamrock guillotine and when they look to defend to keep the grip but use it as a head snap to sprawl on them.
Or as I said to sit to butterfly which usually causes guys to Somersault over the guard but if the attacker knows that’s coming then it would seem sitting to butterfly and using it to roll onto top seems smart to me.
A lot smarter than just letting it go or jumping guard anyways.
Just one mans opinion.
Betting brian Ortega would say that I should just learn the choke properly and rip the guys head off.
And from his perspective he’s obviously correct

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Wouldn’t every submission in mma have a low success rate? Just like most thrown punches don’t actually knock the opponent out?

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Also, separate all of the reckless stupid sub attempts from technically deficient guys that fail vs all of the sound and proficient attempts that don’t work. Different beasts.


You’re absolutely right about the “gym tap” vs the “fight tap.” Big difference there.

Sure maybe all subs don’t have a great success rate. But there’s little downside in a sub that doesn’t have u giving up top position. I say a triangle from guard.
It’s the subs like guillotine and pulling guard that probably causes more Losses than they do wins

Case in point. I was put in multiple arm-in guillotines by an MMA fighter while rolling last night. Three times he went for it in guard. Three times I was able to defend while passing his guard and getting out of the choke (admittedly a bad open/halfish guard). I tapped him with a no arm guillotine. I also caught a couple of arm triangles last night.

To each their own. I agree with the poster that said it could only be to a fighters detriment to not train all of the subs. I think that’s especially true with something as common as the guillotine, arm in or not.


No one is saying it shouldn’t be trained. I’m just saying I’d ban my fighters from using it in the cage unless it was part of a specific gameplan we’d agreed to and prepped for.

Then again, I’d also tell them not to go for armbars from mount or try to put their hooks in when they have a guy turtled. Staying on top should be priority number one.


I would tell my guys that don’t have a guillotine not to do a guillotine, but I see no reason not to let your fighters try it if they have a competent guillotine.

I often think of this when I see these high level grapplers stuck in a dead to rights armbar with their elbow hyper extended and they don’t tap and manage to continue on.

My faith in arm locks has been shaken because of it

If they are flat on their back armbars are still asking enough that guys typically have ti tap but if your in someone’s guard and are in a good armbar and u can’t get out and just posture up… u can’t get as deep a break on the elbow if your feet aren’t on the ground giving u a deeper arch.
Armbars from guard won’t tap some guys if moneys on the line and they have decent elbow flexibility.
Most the time the elbow can only slightly hyper extend/ not shatter.

If their guillotine was good enough to use in a fight, it would be part of the game plan.

This is where fighters mess up. So many think because they know 20 submissions, they have 20 submissions available to them in the cage. No. They have one, maybe two that we decided on beforehand. Looking for “whatever’s available” means you’re not following a gameplan with an expected goal/result.

See, I have to disagree with this mentality. I rarely go into a roll thinking “I am going to hit X submission” and when I do, it becomes inevitably hard to catch. I don’t understand why you would tell a fighter to skip a sub, such as a wide open and obvious guillotine, just because you discussed wanting to hit an arm bar before the fight. I think the taking whatever presents itself enatality is what a skilled fighter should be doing. They should also know their limitations. For instance, I may see a berimbolo sweep when I am rolling and take it in practice knowing I suck badly at them. At the same time, if that same situation presents itself in a tournament or a fight I need to know my limitations and move onto something else. Your fighters should know their limitations and know not to go for something they suck at just because it is in front of them.

Admittedly, I do not train MMA fighters. I roll with them, I don’t “train” them. I don’t come up with game plans pre-fight with them. I do think part of being a martial artist is knowing what you are capable of. I don’t understand the idea of telling a fighter to skip an obviously wide open hole in their opponents game, like presenting them with a wide open guillotine, because some other sub was discussed before the fight. In my mind, you work position, position, position and somewhere along that path you will come across subs. What I do not do is try to force subs because of a game plan.

But, that’s just like my opinion, man.

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Yeah that’s what I’m saying. Only allowed to use it if they can actually pull it off.

I agree with you in a rolling situation. That’s when you should be exploring, discovering, pushing limits and experimenting.

But in a fight situation, I’d tell them to skip a sub because it’s often an illusion. How many times have we seen a striker give up a dominant position to go for an armbar or choke? He goes from a position in which his skillset is most widely available–he can ground and pound, he can abort and make space if the guy begins to escape–to an inferior position because he thought a sub was there that either wasn’t, or that he couldn’t finish. The risk of failure is too great to warrant the potential loss of position.

This is why someone like Khabib excelled the way he did. He never lost sight of his gameplan going in. You didn’t see him falling over from mount in armbar attempts or flopping back for an ankle lock–he didn’t even go to his back when he RNCed Conor. He took the subs that were available to him, but only within a very, very narrow set of parameters. Everything he did served the plan. He never fell in love with his striking (looking at you, Maia); he always used it to set up his takedowns. Everything he did worked in unison toward a specific goal.

It’s when fighters deviate from the gameplan that you start to see problems. Suddenly they’re in uncharted waters–we just spent three months on perfecting your takedown into guard pass into GnP from side control while maintaining top position. And here we are now with you on your back after a failed guillotine attempt. Do we have a sequence for sweeping or getting back to your feet with someone in your guard that you’ve drilled often and hard enough to know it’ll work the majority of the time against world class BJJers and wrestlers? Probably not. So now we’re no longer pursuing the our original goal, we’re just fighting to get back to a neutral area. Our forward progression has stopped.

Guys like Lidell and Crocop are also great examples. Both were very hard to take down and keep down, because they pursued getting back to their feet with the sort of singleminded focus that most opponents just didn’t have an answer for. If they devoted say, 70% of their time and energy to standing back up after being taken down, the guy who only devoted 30% in training to holding them down and 30% to working on random submissions from different positions just wasn’t going to be successful in stopping them. Even more than a contest of strength/skill vs strength/skill, it’s a matter of who can impose the circumstances in which that strength/skill can be fully brought to bear.

For a purely BJJ example, you could see this with Marcelo. His RNC is notoriously lethal. For a time you knew that’s what he was constantly working for and there was very little anyone could do to stop or defend it. His gameplan for it was so consistent, so relentless, and so methodical that you might could bump him down a rung in its progression over the course of a match, but had little hope of actually getting him completely off his ladder.

This has turned into quite the debate, I love the different philosophies being discussed here! This reminds me of an old school thread. Awesome insight guys.