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Back Take VS. Seated Turtle with Lachlan Giles

Back Take VS. Seated Turtle with Lachlan Giles


Taking the back and maintaining it is one of the most dominating methods of control in al of BJJ. This happens in a variety of ways and there seems to be a pathway to the back from nearly every position we can think of. One of the most common positions to acquire the back from is the turtle. With the back already exposed there’s much less work to do to actually acquire it. Unlocking a tight turtle can be an arduous task, but the methods are many. 

The turtle comes in different forms as well. Sometimes we happen upon a seated turtle position, where maybe we’ve sat our partner up and wish to attack from here. You’d think it would be a pretty easy transition to the back, but when the opposing party knows your plans, they can make the transition much more difficult. From a seated position there are still ways to defend and assuming we only have the upper body control established, our partner just has to get crafty with their legs to begin unlocking the control.

This is actually one of my favorite positions. I learned this very early in my training and it became a go to for me. Not only can you acquire the back from here, but if you start to play with the position a little bit, there’s also a wide variety of submissions and other threats here that your opponent may not see coming. 

For some more insight in to this seated turtle position lets look to Lachlan Giles. He has some great ideas to share with us here. Hell cover some different ways to martin the positions and get to the back without losing your control. Have a look!



Beginning with a possible scenario, Giles explains how we may find ourselves in this particular position. From side control his partner begins o turn away from him and rises up to an elbow. This is a good example of one of the many ways we could find ourselves here. 

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From a seated upright position, Giles now has the seatbelt locked in. If there’s an opening to insert a hook, Giles leans his partner in the opposite direction and secures it. This is obviously the best and first course of action if its available. He also advises us to lean forward quite a bit. Swinging our hook over our opponents’ leg to get it in to place can be quite difficult if we have a lot of weight in our legs. Leaning forward will take some of this pressure off of our lower body and allow us to become quite a bit more mobile. Be sure to fall to the same side you’ve inserted your first hook on, to ensure that at the completion of the back take you have a solid bottom hook. Here, you can now work to put the top hook in place. 

As Giles explains, its quite possible your partner will ball themselves up considerably here, not allowing you to begin setting your hooks for the back. If this is the case Giles will begin to attack the neck. Pressuring in to his partner even more and driving him forward, Giles compresses the bottom man and begins to hunt for grips. He opens the lapel, preparing it for the entry of his thumb. Here, Giles makes sure to enter at the other side of the jaw, running his hand down and under the chin before he tries to set his thumb inside. He then finds the opposite side with his other hand and configures a very common sliding collar choke set up. With these grips in place, Giles begins to drag his partner backward and to the side. As Giles settles in on his over hook elbow, he’s able to begin the squeeze and apply the choke, causing the tap. 

We’ll encounter different layers of defense when attacking in this way. The next one that Giles addresses is if hooks are not available and his partner is doing a good job of hand fighting, which also foils his plans to implement a choke. 

This next segment is very interesting and I find it to be a serious deficiency in my training as well. For a chair sit style back take, Giles advises us to bring our partner back down to the side. But here he lines his body up so that he’s almost seated upright behind his partner, rather than on the side of him. When we attempt to set the first hook from this type of situation, nine times out of ten, the opposing party will be able to prevent this from happening by simply drawing their knee up to their chest and shutting down the space we need to set our hook. When Giles aligns himself int his way, he’s able to position his body so that he can use his foot to press on the thigh and open this space to enter his first hook. This is kind of a revelation for me, as I have definitely struggled with an answer to this exact conundrum.  Be sure to keep your shin positioned behind your partner, almost parallel to their back side, s that as you move to complete the back take, you’re in perfect position to do so. 

This was a selfish one for me. I absolutely love this position but I often times transition from it much too early when things aren’t going as planned. Here, Giles has given us multiple ways to stay the course and complete the back take. I would love to see some alternate attacks from here as well as I’m sure Giles has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. 

This is a position that you may frequently find yourself in, sometimes by accident. We don’t want to miss the chance for success here. The next time you’re here, remember Giles’ advice and take advantage of the opportunity! Good Luck! 


Lachlan Giles is one of the BEST teachers around. His YouTube channel has helped grapplers across the globe. The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard By Lachlan Giles is easily one of the best resources available ANYWHERE. Giles has world class technique matched with UNPARALLELED teaching ability!



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