Von Flue Choke – BJJ Submission

The Von Flue choke is one of those chokes you find out about usually after you were just submitted with it. Whenever you make the mistake of holding onto a guillotine after your opponent passes guard, a Von Flue choke is imminent.

It is a counter submission that was only developed within the last 20 years, but quickly caught on. Becoming one of the standard ways we counter a guillotine choke.

Here is our guide for the Von Flue choke. We’ll take you through how the submission was developed and details its mechanics. Then we’ll go through different Von Flue choke setups and list important details and tips for locking it in.

When was the Von Flue choke developed?

The Von Flue choke was created and named after MMA fighter Jason Von Flue. Many of us first saw this choke when Jason Von Flue was on the Ultimate Fighter season 3.

In one of the early elimination rounds, Von Flue put Alex Karalexis to sleep with his patented choke. Most of the fighters and coaches were stunned having never seen that submission before.

Von Flue’s choke quickly caught on and gyms around the world started drilling this submission. From then on, the Von Flue choke became the premiere counter against an opponent’s guillotine attempt.

Mechanics of the Von Flue choke

This choke works by using an overzealous opponent’s own force against them. Whenever you pass their guard and they won’t let go of a guillotine, this is a critical mistake.

Your opponent has basically trapped their own arms and can do nothing to defend you driving your shoulder into their neck.

Once you connect your hands and drive your shoulder down, your opponent can only tap or go to sleep.

Von Flue choke setup

The basic Von Flue setup comes from when your opponent goes for a guillotine choke and falls back. As they’re falling back, you must immediately jump to the side to avoid their guard.

When you jump guard, you’re going to place your body on the opposite side of your head. If you jump to the same side as your head it will make your opponent’s guillotine tighter.

Now once in side-control, hug around your opponent’s neck and slide your other hand under their arm. Then connect your hands  with a Gable grip to lock in the position.

You now have a Von Flue choke and you finish it by turning on your hip and driving your shoulder downward. The pressure is immediate and your opponent only has a few moments to tap before they go to sleep.

Von Flue setup inside closed guard

If you’re in your opponent’s guard fighting off a guillotine, you can still set up a Von Flue choke. The first steps are the same as the basic setup.

Hug around your opponent’s head, Gable grips your hands together, and lay down heavy shoulder pressure. With enough force, your opponent will open their guard.

When they do, quickly jump to the side and finish your choke.

Ovince St Preux Von Flue

UFC veteran Ovince St Preux is one of the best in the world at the Von Flue. Holding the record for most wins by this submission. He has a special way of setting his choke up that we’re going to detail. 

Whenever he goes to lock in his choke, he catches his opponent’s wrist and traps it to their body. With their arm trapped, they can’t pull out their arm to escape the choke.

There’s nothing they can do, but tap as the pressure from the choke comes on.

Von Flue Choke from standing

It’s not very likely in Jiu Jitsu, but in MMA with a cage wall you could possibly land a Von Flue from standing. Your opponent could attempt a standing guillotine with their back to the cage.

If this happens, keep your chin up and your head against their body. Then step to the side, hug your opponent’s hips, and turn to start your takedown.

As they go down, quickly jump to the side opposite of your head and go into your normal Von Flue setup.

Von Flue to arm triangle

If your opponent is able to free their hand from the Von Flue, you can then go for an arm triangle. As their arm comes up, use your head to drive it across their neck.

Then keeping your Gable grip, jump over your opponent’s body and flatten out. Take a deep breath and squeeze with your body to finish your arm triangle.

Von Flue to arm locks

Depending what your opponent does with their arm, you have three different armlocks you can go to. Either a kimura, Americana, or straight armbar.

The Americana presents itself if your opponent frees their arm and turns their hand up. Unlock your hands and trap their arm to the mat with your top hand. 

Next slide your bottom arm under your opponent’s arm and grab your wrist. Pull their arm in and lift up on the elbow to finish the Americana.

A kimura opportunity can present itself if your opponent frees their hand, but you quickly grab wrist control. Then pass your other arm under their arm and grab your wrist. For the finish either pull their shoulder up and turn the arm or step over their head before turning the arm.

Then for your third option, your opponent straightens out their arm after freeing it. Grab wrist control and slide your arm under their elbow before lifting up on the elbow for the tap.

Details and tips for doing the Von Flue choke

A Von Flue choke is easy to put on, but there are little details to remember, so your opponent can’t escape. Here are important details and tips for doing the Von Flue choke.

  • Pass opponent’s guard: To get in place for the Von Flue, you first have to pass your opponent’s guard. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep defending the guillotine choke.
  • Jump to the side: Always jump to the side of your opponent opposite of where your head is positioned. If you jump to the wrong side it will make your opponent’s guillotine tighter.
  • Hug the head: Your top arm needs to hug around your opponent’s head as you drop your shoulder into their neck.
  • Gable grip hands: With your top arm in place, you’re going to slide your other hand under your opponent’s arm. Locking your hands together with a Gable grip.
  • Turn your hip: Once you connect your hands, you will need to turn on your near hip. Doing this will maximize the pressure of the choke.
  • Shoulder pressure: The key to getting an opponent to tap from the Von Flue is intense shoulder pressure. Drive your shoulder into their neck to lock in your choke.