I lost my keys one week. I kept having to borrow my wife’s. Every morning I would say, ‘Bah, don’t where my keys are.” I would then grab my wife’s off the table and go to work. Every morning my wife would say, “Have you looked for them?” to which I would respond, “No.”

That’s simple, isn’t it? Of course I haven’t found something that I’m not looking for. Sure enough, once I actually looked for them it took me about 5 minutes to find them. 

A couple of months ago I decided to do a study on the guillotine choke. Now, if I were to ask you where a guillotine choke is put on from most would probably say from guard. That’s not a wrong answer, but it’s not an accurate one either.

The mechanics of the technique allow it to be done from almost any position. But, if I believe that it can only be found from guard what is the likelihood that I will find it in other places?


Why? Because I’m not looking for it in other positions. If I’m not looking for something am I likely to find it?


If I never look for the keys that I’ve lost it doesn’t mean that they’re not there. They could be right in the middle of the lounge floor. But, if I have come to believe that you can only find missing keys in the cushions of a couch, I will only look there. I won’t look in the middle of the lounge floor.

So, what if I decided that I wanted to find a certain submission from every position? I learned the mechanics of the technique, understood what was needed to make it work, and just went hunting.

From that ‘couple of months ago’ the guillotine has became my go-to submission. If I just really want to tap someone, I go to the guillotine. It’s become quite reliable. In the past month here’s where I’ve gotten them from.

Head to Head, Closed Guard Bottom, Open Guard Bottom, Turtle Top, Side Control, Half Guard Top, Mount, and Knee Ride. I also have figured out how to transition into them from Side Control Bottom, Mount Bottom, and Back Control.

That’s not counting the same mechanics used from north-south (north-south choke) and the back (gable grip rear naked choke).

My favourite place to get the guillotine is from half guard on top. But, I never would have found out that you could do it from there if I believed that it was just a guard submission.

I didn’t just open my eyes and look around the house when I couldn’t find my keys. I thought about it. I started looking in the places where I know they could have ended up. The couch, desks, tables, chairs. The top of the fridge, behind my bedside dresser, gym bag. Places that they would have likely been.  I used analytical thinking to determine the places it could have been.

It’s the same with the guillotine, and just about every other technique in BJJ. Pick and technique and start seeking it out from everywhere.

John Will writes about this in an ebook he has about luck. It’s a great read. Check out my blogroll for John’s blog.


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