How to Do the Von Flue Choke – A Super Sneaky and Effective Choke!

How to Do the Von Flue Choke – A Super Sneaky and Effective Choke!

As grappling continues to evolve, more and more techniques and submissions continue to pop up. Some of these moves are super unorthodox and unusual. Have you heard of the Von Flue Choke?

The Von Flue Choke is one of those submissions that are fairly new to submission grappling. It’s a super rare choke that you might hardly see pulled off in a grappling match. Not many people know about it! But because of its rarity, you might just be able to use that to your advantage. You can pull it off on an unsuspecting opponent!

In this guide, we take a look at how to do the Von Flue Choke, a rare yet sneaky and effective choke.

von flue choke

Von Flue Choke Origins

The earliest form of the Von Flue Choke can be traced down to UFC’s Ultimate Fighter series. In it’s 3rd season, Jason Von Flue was able to submit Alex Karalexis with it as Karalexis held onto a guillotine.

Von Flue was able to rotate over to side control and drop his shoulder against Karalexis’ neck to get the tap. The mechanics of the choke is that it is simply a counter to the guillotine choke. As the opponent holds on to the guillotine grips, you drive your shoulder down to the opponent’s neck.

The choke was named after Jason Von Flue, as he was the first to pull it off successfully. Since then, the choke has grown in popularity as the most effective counter to the guillotine choke.

Lately though, there has been a movement in MMA where people are starting to name the choke as the “Von Preux Choke.” Ovice St. Preux is a UFC fighter that has finished off 3 of his opponents with this choke. He is becoming the new face of the choke. Watch out Von Flue, your choke might have a new nomenclature soon!

How to Perform the Von Flue Choke

So how do you do it? How do you perform the Von Flue Choke successfully?

As mentioned before, the Von Flue Choke is simply a counter to the Guillotine Choke. The choke works real nicely from a failed guillotine attempt. As your opponent wraps their arm around your head, you will need to pass the opponent’s guard until you are in top side control.

If your opponent is stubborn and doesn’t let go off the choke, that’s the perfect opportunity to apply the Von Flue Choke!

Von Flue Choke From Side Mount

As we see it, there are two major ways to do the guillotine. You can either set up the guillotine choke from a standing position if both you and the opponent are in the standing position or you can set it up from the kneeling front headlock position on the ground.

From the front headlock, as your opponent grabs onto your neck, you should anticipate them leaning back, dropping to the ground to finish the choke. The first line of defense for the choke is to fight the choke hands. But instead of doing that, go directly for a guard pass.

If your opponent has your head cupped on their right side, you should look to pass on their left side. You can do so by pinning their left knee down with your hand, and jumping off to their left.

Some stronger opponents can actually finish the choke even after you pass the guard and they maintain the headlock position. In the event that the opponent doesn’t let go of your neck after passing the guard, you can now set up your Von Flue Choke.

As you get to the side control position, place your hand underneath the opponent’s neck to control their head. Your other arm will wrap around the choking arm of the opponent, and meet your other hand underneath their neck. Clasp your hands together for a nice tight gable grip.

To finish the choke, start digging your shoulder to the side of the neck of your opponent. Extend your legs outward and drop your hip towards the side where you have your shoulder pressure. This will dig the choke in real deep. The heavy pressure will have your opponent gasping for air – they’ve got no choice but to tap!

Setting Up the Von Flue Choke From the Standing Position

One question that people might have is, well what if the opponent somehow catches you in a guillotine from the standing position? Will the Von Flue Choke still be the option to defend it?

The thing is, if you get caught in the guillotine position from standing, your opponent will have a lot more leverage and momentum on their side. As they drop your body down and cup your chin, they have their full body weight to drag you down and lock in the choke. It’s possible to still set up the Von Flue but the timing might be a bit harder to get just right.

One alternative option you might consider is to set it up right from the standing position. As your opponent grabs hold of your neck with the choke arm, your job is to isolate this same arm. You can do this by using two hands to control the wrist. Do not pry it completely off, but maintain control with hand controlling the wrist. Keep this tucked close to your body.

Now you can place your free arm over the opponent’s shoulder. This will give you good control of the opponent’s posture.

Rotate your hips towards the opposite side of the opponent’s choking arm (the one you got trapped!) Keep walking and drop your opponent down to the mat. This puts you right where you want them!

Don’t let go of the arm you have isolated when you get to the mat. Place your arm underneath the neck, trap the arm, and lock your hands together. This puts you right in the Von Flue Choke position! Now shift your weight, drop that shoulder down, and get the tap!

Some Key Details to Consider

The Von Flue Choke is extremely powerful. What makes it extremely deadly is that not many will see it coming as it is super sneaky. One minute you think your choking your opponent out with a guillotine and the next minute your getting choked out with a simple shoulder pressure to the neck! Here are some key details to consider when going for this sneaky submission.

  • 1
    Make sure you trap the opponent’s choking arm with your arm. By trapping their arm, they won’t be able to pull their arm out. By the time they realize you are going for the Von Flue, it’ll be too late!

  • 2
    Drop your shoulder down to the side of the neck. A common mistake beginners make is that they apply shoulder pressure against the face or the chin. For the choke to sink deep, you need to get in underneath the chin. This will put pressure directly on the carotid artery and cut off their blood flow!

  • 3
    When you go for the finish make sure you adjust your hips. You can probably finish the choke in regular side control. But to get that solid pressure, extend your legs out and drop your hip toward your opponent’s neck. This will make the choke even tighter.

  • 4
    The Von Flue Choke doesn’t work against a High Elbow Guillotine (aka the Marcelotine Choke). Popularized by the great Marcelo Garcia, with this variation of the guillotine, the non-choking hand’s elbow is high up and resting on your upper back. If someone goes for this choke variation, don’t try to counter with the Von Flue! It won’t work!

How To Defend The Von Flue Choke

If you want to know how to defend a Von Flue choke, there is one very important defense to know. Let go of the guillotine choke!  

The whole reason the opening for a Von Flue choke happens is someone doesn’t let go of a guillotine choke. If someone passes your guard and you try to keep the choke, you’re asking to get put in a Von Flue.   

We know it can get tempting to keep your hands around your opponent’s neck. But when you get your guard passed and you have your guillotine grips in, immediately let go and start defending.

If you don’t, then a savvy grappler will immediately lock their hands together and put down heavy shoulder pressure and make you tap or put you to sleep! 


The great thing about the Von Flue Choke is that its super sneaky! Also, it’s rare for people to even go for it, and some don’t even know this choke exists! But use that to your advantage.

One minute your opponent is about to sink the guillotine choke and next thing they know, they’re the ones getting choked out! With a few minor adjustments, you can easily turn the tides on them.

The Von Flue Choke is simple and extremely effective if you set it up just right. Keep this one in your back pocket. You’ll never know when you might need it!

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