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Gordon Ryan’s Amazing Hammer Lock Submission
Your turtle attack toolbox is about to get quite the facelift. Gordon Ryan has released his newest instructional entitled, Systematically Attacking the Turtle Position. Ryan’s been posting some of his greatest turtle exchanges on IG lately and there are some incredible examples to observe. Attacking the turtle on some of the biggest names in the sport with tons of success would appear to be a difficult task but as per usual, Ryan makes it look easy. His movement is calculated and concise and his approach is one that leaves nothing to chance. We’ve experienced Ryan’s teaching in his previous instructional and it could be described as almost scientific in nature, with calculated variables and an incredible base knowledge of common reactions. With this kind of formula and a commitment to training that’s unrivaled its easy to understand why the King is who he is.
The turtle can be a tricky position on both ends. Most often it's used as a defensive hub but there are some BJJ players that have actually molded the position into an offensive platform as well. Opening the turtle can be incredibly difficult if you’re dealing with someone who is intent on staying there but there are some variables that lend themselves to the cracking of the position.
You’ll find Ryan covering the different postures of the turtle in this newest body of work. He explains the pitfalls and advantages of the different body positions, such as how a more spread out variation of the turtle where the arms and knees are further from the body lends itself to great stability but offers poor defense for the entering of hooks and upper body controls. Conversely a tight turtle where all of the limbs are shrunken down underneath the body is a great way to keep out the hands and hooks but doesn’t offer much in the way of balance. The realization of these two themes alone will drastically increase your understanding of the position and the techniques that Ryan follows these ideas up with are simply incredible.
Once you’ve successfully dismantled the turtle position its time to think about your next move. The back is always a viable option and seems to be one of the most popular, but there are multiple pathways available here which Ryan covers in great detail. Perhaps you’d like to break your partner down to side control or maybe they roll through and you’ll need to understand how to follow them. It’s all there in the new material.
One interesting option is to enter into a cross body ride and begin attacking from there. This position offers a great deal of attacks and transitions and in this video, Ryan gives us a look at one of the rarer submissions from the cross-body ride, the hammer lock. Many of us associate this particular position with lower body submissions but here, Ryan turns his focus to the vulnerable limbs up top and demonstrates a great technique. You have to see this!
From the cross-body ride position it is enticing to go right in to lower half attacks. Lots of us may opt for a calf slicer or additional ways to put the legs in danger here. There’s plenty to choose from, but maybe your opponent is a bit savvier and keeps the legs safe. Here, Ryan’s partner does just that and steals the leg attack opportunity by extending her legs. This tilts the body and exposes the upper portion of the body, here Ryan takes a hold of an arm. With an overhand grip on the wrist and an under handed grip near the elbow, Ryan secures the arm and then glues it tightly to his chest.
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With the arm secure, Ryan now looks to get his partners hand to the mat and also as close to their armpit as possible, creating a dangerous bend in the limb. Next, Ryan begins to remove his left hand from the elbow and looks to thread it over his partners forearm, finding a scooping grip on the shoulder. Ryan is careful here not to let his elbow pass the plane of the forearm in order to achieve the leverage necessary to apply the lock. Do not overlook that detail. If you thread your arm too deep, you may lose control and subsequently the opportunity for the submission.
With the arm threaded through and the grip on the shoulder in place, it becomes incredibly difficult for his partner to move away from this position. For the finish, Ryan reaches over his cupping hand with his right hand, pulls his partner toward him, and then begins to pull up on the shoulder and pushes the forearm with his elbow. These actions together lever the arm and produce the tap.
There are so many dynamic options when attacking the turtle and Ryan has laid out an incredible blueprint, covering all of the most important pathways and common reactions we all encounter every day in our training. Systematically Attacking The Turtle is a treasure map that will help you understand this position in new and exciting ways, taking your knowledge of the turtle to the next level!