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BJJ Instructional Videos
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Exposing the Arm in Turtle

Exposing the Arm in Turtle


When playing from turtle, you will have many different options to attack depending on what the defender is doing. What I have realized is very important, though, when attacked turtled opponents is the need to be patient. Erratic and predictable movements from the attacker can allow the defender to make the necessary movements to get back to guard, and that is the last thing you want if you can get someone to turtle. 

Too many students (especially blue belts) focus on the new fancy techniques, guard sweeps, etc. But don't ignore the old school fundamental jiu jitsu that just works.


The most commonly used attacks against turtled opponents include back takes, and for obvious reasons. The problem here is that back takes are very predictable since they are the most attacked moves, so defender’s will quickly escape your back take and go back to their guard. Top players can also be very stubborn against turtled opponents trying to force the back when many other options are available.

A great move you can try against turtled opponents is entering the crucifix. The crucifix is a position in which the attacker places their hips under the defender’s back, traps both of their arms while laying perpendicularly to the defender. This results in the grapplers’ bodies making a crucifix shape.

In order to get to the crucifix though, you have to separate one of the defender’s arms from their torso while they are turtled. Fortunately, exposing an arm is usually a lot easier than trying to take the back. Exposing the arm can be as easy as stepping your leg over it and dragging it, but often the defender is keeping their arms tucked in very tight. 

In the following video, Thomas Lisboa illustrates how to expose the arm using your own knee. This technique works very well and the use of the knee makes keeping the arm tucked in very difficult. See below:

Although exposing the arm is necessary for getting to the crucifix, it doesn’t mean you are limited to the crucifix position when you trap it. Another thing you can do after trapping the arm is taking the back by falling diagonally to the same side. Taking the back with the arm trapped is a great option because once you get to the back, you can attack chokes easily since the defender only has one arm to defend with.

   You’ll be able to start surprising everyone in your gym with old school brilliance that still works and with Kurt’s unmatched style that can include excellent details and even some well placed shouting and swearing – you’ll remember well what you learned..



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