Although the guillotine choke is more commonly applied from the bottom, it is also readily available to the grappler on top. By adding the top position guillotine to your arsenal, you add a powerful attack from most positions, and another way of finishing your typical guillotine submission.
Rolling into Mount
A common defense to a guillotine from the bottom is rolling onto the back before the attacker can control the body with their legs. Instead of giving up the submission and scrambling for top position, you can follow them into mount, just as you would if you were sweeping them, and finish the choke. In this video, Brandon Quick explains the details to do this, like using the leg over the back as a grip to follow the roll.
Here is a closer look at the one arm or “5 finger” finish for the mounted guillotine. Being in mount allows you to control your opponent’s hips and provides the advantage of using gravity and your own bodyweight to lock the choking hand in place.
Guillotine from Side Control
Every time your opponent turns to face you from a bottom position, they expose their neck, creating an opportunity for a guillotine choke. Once the back of their neck is off the mat, you can wrap your arm around it. In this video, guillotine master Marcelo Garcia details the choke from side control. Although taking mount with the choke and finishing it there is always an option, Marcelo switches his hips and applies pressure with the side of his chest to get the tap from side control.
Top Half Guard Options
Once you grab a guillotine grip from top half guard, you have a few options. With a one arm guillotine, you can finish the choke there in top half. Alternatively you can pass into side control and finish it like the Marcelo Garcia video above. Another option is to pass straight into mount and finish it from there. Top half guard also presents the opportunity to roll into a modified butterfly position with a butterfly hook and the other leg across the back. This bottom position makes the guillotine especially tight (more so that if you were attacking with it from close guard) because it allows you to prevent your opponent from stacking and add pressure by turning sideways.
Putting it All Together
The mounted guillotine puts you in a good position even if you bail on it. By attacking it from a top half or side control position, the head control of the guillotine and submission threat can make passing to mount easier. Check out this sequence from Justin Rader, where he smash passes the open guard and takes the top side guillotine to pass smoothly into mount.