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Finishing the Back Take from Turtle

Finishing the Back Take from Turtle

John Danaher Shows A Great Transition To The Back!

Although the turtle position is dangerous to defend from, many grapplers, especially those that like to play from guard, will utilize to prevent their guard from being passed. In fact, a lot of grapplers are actually really good at this and quickly re-enter their guard as fast as they need to so as to escape. You can also end up going up against a turtled player if they shoot for a take down and you sprawl successfully.

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Although back taking is often taught from the top turtle position, it can occasionally prove difficult to attain while live rolling. Most players will tighten up to prevent hooks and make movement difficult for the top player giving the defender the initiative and therefore being the grappler one step ahead. In order to get to the back, the top player must rotate to the side or hip of the defender. Unfortunately, this can aid the bottom player because they can now put an under hook in and sit back to the guard.


It is vital to find a way to circle around the defending player that is quick, forcible, and allows disarms the defender from getting an under hook. In the following video, Professor John Danaher explains a very effective way or transitioning to a back-taking position in turtle from the front headlock.

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When attempting this technique, it is necessary to angle oneself slightly towards the side they plan to move to prior to setting the hand block because if they don’t, they will twist themselves and cause balancing and mobility issues. Also, be aware that a huge amount of weight must be placed on the defenders back when rotating to keep them cautious of moving.

There is a great drill we use at our academy to practice rotating but also as a great way to master weight control against a turtled player. Starting on top, place your chest against a turtled partner’s back. From here, lock your hands behind you. Now rotate 360 degrees as much as you want. Make sure to do both sides.

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