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John Danaher Leglocks
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Exploring The Turtle Position For BJJ

Exploring The Turtle Position For BJJ


Many wrestlers and BJJ innovators such as Eduardo Telles know that the turtle can be a powerful position

The turtle position is something that is neglected in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For most, the turtle position is a seen as a weaker position. But many wrestlers and BJJ innovators such as Eduardo Telles know that the turtle can be a powerful position. There is also one key component that brings contention to the turtle position: it exposes your back to your opponent, allowing them to easily lock up a seat belt grip, set their hooks and start attacking neck chokes and more. A smart grappler might think to avoid the turtle position at all cost, but the wise grappler knows that you will inevitably end up in turtle at some point. Let’s face it, the turtle is a common defensive position. You see it used all the time in the UFC when fighters are trying to avoid knock out blows and looking for a way to get back to their feet. And in Brazilain Jiu Jitsu, it is a natural counter, or a position you might find yourself in when things do not go right, such as failed double leg take downs, recovering from side control and many other scenarios.

Eduardo Telles has one of the most unorthodox styles in BJJ. Surprise all of your training partners with Eduardo's competition tested techniques


If you find yourself caught in the turtle position but do not know what to do, then these techniques are for you. Let’s take a look at some great moves from the turtle position that will really help improve your game. Are you ready? Let’s get to work!

Turtle Position by Henry Cejudo

It is common knowledge that wrestlers have many techniques from the turtle position. Henry Cejudo is no exception to this. In the world of Mixed Martial Arts, Henry Cejudo is one of the greatest competitors of his generation. As a professional Mixed Martial Artist and former freestyle wrestler, Cejudo is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) where he competes in the men’s fly weight division as the reigning champion. As a freestyle wrestler, Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist. Let’s check out Henry’s advice when fighting from the turtle position. Watch the video below and then we will break down Henry’s technique. Check it out now!

Henry explains first and foremost that you need to be very careful in the turtle position. Once someone gets your back it can be very difficult for you to get them off. Cejudo shows a very common technique some people do when their opponent has a seat belt grip from the side. Typically you will see guys come up with their opposite foot, similar to a lunge. Or, they will come up with their near side foot. Both of these options do not give you a lot of stability. What Cejudo likes to do instead is come up to his foot but then use his opponent like a wall to help lift him up and also create a stronger base. From here, Cejudo will secure a double wrist grip and then stand up and start to walk his opponent back wards, allowing him an opportunity to clear his training partner’s grip and shoot for a single leg.

Another option that Henry shows is to again post with the out side leg, but this time instead of backing into his opponent he will grip the arm coming across his shoulder and then turn into his opponent. Notice that Cejudo controls his opponent’s arm behind his elbow, and as he turns into him it enables him to grip the back of his opponent’s thigh above the knee. With his base and these grips, Cejudo is able to kick off and roll through his opponent for an easy take down.

Concepts For Turtle Defense by Travis Stevens

As an Olympic Silver Medalist in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt you might say that Travis Stevens is what defines being a world class martial artist. His list of accolades is long, and he has competed in some of the most prestigious events against the best competitors in the world. Travis was awarded his BJJ black belt from famed John Danaher of Team Renzo Gracie. He has even been involved in training camps for UFC fighters such as Georges St. Pierre. In 2016, Stevens won the Silver medal at the Summer Olympics. Let’s explore Travis’ concepts for turtle defense. Watch the video below and then we will break down the technique. Check it out now!

As Travis Stevens explains, when he is in the turtle position, one thing he likes to focus on is a chin roll. What he means by this that he uses his posture to create a natural defense to chokes by rolling up on the top of his head so he can see out the back door. This allows him to keep his hands free and see his opponent’s hands switching. This posture also gives Travis a good pivot point to start moving as he is grip fighting. Travis also emphasizes the importance of not allowing your opponent to put his weight on your back. If this happens, you are pretty much stuck, and it is going to be a lot more difficult to pivot and move, especially as his hand comes in and starts attacking the neck. To keep his opponent’s weight off him, Travis gets the top of his head to the mat and he crosses his arm to defend the hook, keeping his elbow in nice and tight to defend the choke. Now with the grip and the choke defend, Travis can sneak out the back door and come up. It is important to realize where your opponent is threatening you from and then focus on defending that.

Side Control To Steam Roller by Edurado Telles

It would be wrong to talk about the turtle position without mentioning Eduardo Telles. Eduardo Telles is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Fabio Gurgel who is famous for having created several attacks from the turtle position. Eduardo’s approach to the turtle turns it into a guard, or a way to effectively transition into other positions. In this technique, Eduardo demonstrates an interesting way to escape side control by transitioning through the turtle position. Watch the video below and then we will break down Eduardo’s technique. Check it out now!

The most common that is taught to escape side control is to frame against your training partner and try to bump them and create space in order to start working to get your leg across and re-establish your guard. But you will find that this can be hard to do, especially against someone who is really good at applying a lot of pressure from side control. Eduardo starts off with the same idea, his against his opponent’s shoulder, using his arm to create space. As he is pushing away on his opponent he uses the space to bring his other arm on the inside. Now he will switch his arm, using this one to push away at his opponent’s head as he comes up to his elbow, rolling until he gets to his knees. Now in the turtle position, Eduardo will use his outside arm to capture his opponent’s arm that is wrapped around his back and continue to roll through.

The turtle position can be a difficult position to attack and defend. You will see a lot of lower belts often freeze up here and not be entirely sure what to do. If you struggle with turtle and are looking for more great ways to attack and defend it, then check out Travis Steven’s amazing instructional series Attacking and Defending The Turtle available exclusively on

Learn The Secrets Of The Turtle Guard From The World Champion Who Has Used It For Decades To Beat The Best Fighters On Earth It Might Sound Completely Nuts, But Eduardo Telles Beats The Best Guys – From His Hands & Knees.

This is your opportunity to learn one of the most unorthodox systems in bjj. This system will be unlike anything you have ever seen and you can use it to easily destroy all of your training partners.

Learn what more than 20 years of hard training will get you, Eduardo Telles is a living legend




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