The Von Flue Choke: rare but powerful choke

There are some pretty unorthodox moves in BJJ – ones that don’t fall into the category of BJJ basics. While it’s true that you need to pay attention to the basics, there are still some crafty moves that are difficult to see when you’re in the heat of the battle, but that has the potential to end the entire fight in a few seconds. One such move is the rarely-seen Von Flue Choke. So, what’s this choke all about? How does it work?

Origin of the Name

The choke was popularized by MMA practitioner Jason Von Flue, a fighter that finished one of his fights with this exact choke. The choke was very rarely witnessed before, if ever, and so the name originates from the person that did the choke on that very day. However, there is now a movement in MMA circles that argue for calling this choke the Von Preux choke, as Ovince St. Preux is a UFC fighter that has managed to finish not one, not two, but three different fights with this exact same choke.

How does Von Flue choke work?

So, how does it work? The choke works best if your opponent clings to a failed guillotine attempt. If your opponent has wrapped his arm around your head, but you have passed his guard – and he still clings to the choke, then you can use this to your advantage. You can practically choke your opponent with the help of his own arms. The way to do this is to not fight your opponent’s failed guillotine grip but to continue to pass the guard and go to the side of your opponent. Then you will have to use your shoulder to add even more pressure to your opponent’s throat, and the resulting pressure from both sides will lead to a full blockage of the carotid arteries – effectively choking out your opponent.

How to defend this choke?

The clinging to the failed guillotine is a very natural reaction, as it’s very natural for us to think that we should never let go of choke holds, because in this way it may seem that we’re letting go of our advantageous position. And this demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of BJJ and grappling principles – shout out to Ovince St. Preux’s second and third opponents that ended up getting choked with this exact same move, as they haven’t watched his previous fights. So, if you don’t wish to get choked out with the Von Flue Choke, then you will have to learn to let go. If you have caught a guillotine and your opponent has passed your guard – for the love of God let the guillotine go and try to return to a more favorable position such as the half-guard, or full guard.

Even though this move is rarely seen in BJJ and MMA matches, it still holds a place in the arsenal of BJJ techniques. It’s not that difficult to execute once you see that you have the prerequired setup, so we suggest that you put in some drills during your BJJ training and learn this move, as you may never know when a future opponent of yours will cling to a failed guillotine after you have passed his guard.