A few important things to consider about applying BJJ in a self-defense situation:
- You’ll want a simple, effective submission. If you’re being held up for your wallet, for instance, it’s not the ideal time to try out that heel-hook you just learned. You don’t want a complicated move, and you don’t want a move that absolutely depends on a million tiny details falling into place. The guillotine is a reliable finisher.
- Your opponent is likely to leave his neck open. Especially if he’s untrained, your opponent isn’t likely to be thinking about his neck first. Whether it’s because of a sloppy, looping hook or a slightly-too-desperate tackle, there’s a good chance you’ll have an opening to take his neck.
- You’ll want to stay off your back. Maybe your closed guard is the best part of your BJJ game. Still, if you’re being attacked, you do not want to find out how good your attacker’s top game is.
So, let’s apply those insights to what we already know about the guillotine:
- Wait for your opening, then catch your assailant’s neck.
- Push his head off to one of your armpits.
- Wrap your arm around his neck, making sure to get under his chin.
- Get your guillotine grip.
- Get the bony, thumb-side edge of your choking arm right into your opponent’s throat.
- With your other hand, grab your choking hand between your wrist and your pinky knuckle.
- make sure to keep the shoulder on your choking arm high and forward to keep your opponent’s head from popping out.
- Stay on your feet and finish the choke.
- As Coach Dan illustrates, you can finish the choke by simply pulling up on your choking arm, but you’ll be much better off – you’ll be more stable on the ground and have more leverage – if you wind your non-choking arm over your opponent’s shoulder, instead. The closer you can get your elbow to your hapless opponent’s shoulder blade, the more vicious your choke.
- Depending on the situation (and your height), you may also be able to finish the way Jon Jones did – that is, pushing up on your choking arm, rather than pulling.
- Remember, if this is a real, threatening situation, you aren’t waiting for your opponent to tap out. The choke will make him pass out, if you hold on to it, but you also have a strong position to throw knees to his midsection, if you must.
Best case scenario: nobody ever encounters this situation.