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Killer Turtle Attacks to Change Your Game

Killer Turtle Attacks to Change Your Game


The turtle is a position that we see all to often in bjj.  Some people have even built a game based off of playing turtle such as Eduardo Telles.  Why do we see the turtle so often?  It is because if you are about to get your guard passed in an IBJJF tournament and you turtle, no points will be awarded.  Turtle is considered a guard. 

Although it can be a horrible idea to turtle in a self-defense altercation, this position can be very good if you know how to defend in a grappling match.  Being able to beat the turtle is important for all bjj practitioners.  We need to have a variety of attacks from here.  Back takes, submissions, and tricky techniques. 

Today we are going to look at some different attacks that you have from turtle.  We will look at a great way to take the back, a good sneaky submission, how to get to the crucifix and a bonus submission that is considered by many, unorthodox.  All of these techniques are from Mike Palladino’s new DVD set “Killer Turtle Attacks.”  This DVD is also available as a digital download at the bottom of this page.  Lets start with a back take.

Kickstart Back Take by Mike Palladino

Breakdown of the Kickstart Back Take by Mike Palladino:

So as you can see with this position it is very difficult for your opponent to defend.  This is because your opponent will have no arms to defend.  Mike is going to use his legs to attack his opponent’s back.  He is basically going to use his free leg to take his opponents leg that is closest to him and make space to put a hook.

When someone is turtled one of the most difficult things that you can encounter is getting a hook in.  Typically, getting the first hook in is the problem.  They will be shelled up like a turtle and leave you no space to work.  The technique that Mike is using above will allow us to straiten our opponent’s leg and make space for our hook.  He just kicks his leg out like he is revving and hops over the back to put in a hook.

To finish the back take there are two ways to do it.  You can either pull them back to the side that your hook is one and try to get the second hook in or you can roll all the way through. The more efficient way to finish this position is to use your momentum to continue to take the back.  Since you are already climbing over your opponent it will be easy to continue to take their back.  This is because you are using momentum. Lets look at another attack that uses momentum.

Crucifix Rollover by Mike Palladino

Breakdown of the Rolling Crucifix from Turtle with Mike Palladino:

First off, let’s discuss why we would even go to crucifix.  Well, the simple fact of the matter is that sometimes the hooks can be very difficult to get to and over committing to try and establish back control can cost you position. The crucifix is something that is very simple to take advantage of and that will present itself.  This is because sometimes to defend the back our opponent leaves a whole in their arm.

Notice how in the video above with Mike he is just trying to find a gap between his opponent’s elbow and knee.  This is all you need to get to the crucifix.  Everything is very similar to a back take, he has a seatbelt grip and he is just trying to control him and find that gap.  Once he has seen the gap he is going to capitalize on the opportunity and he is going to shove his knee inside the gap.

One of the common mistakes that people make when attempting the crucifix is that they figure four their legs the wrong way and this will allow their opponent the opportunity they need to escape.  Notice that the leg near his opponent’s head is the one that is going to trap the arm.  The knee near his opponent’s knee is what creates the opening so that his opponent cannot get their arm back.

The fundamental mistake that is made all to often to defend the hook is that people who are in turtle leave their elbow away from their knee and this creates the hole.  Notice how Mike is actually going to do a simple shoulder roll to finish the position.  The shoulder roll is actually not necessary, and you can have an effective crucifix from top.

Some people, like Mike, prefer to have the crucifix control from the bottom.  This is because it will allow them to have more hip movement and potential attacks.  The way that Mike gets hear is that when he controls the arm he will use his legs and a shoulder roll to carry his opponent weight with him.

One important detail to note here is the fact that Mike is going to use his hand to post and give him more momentum to do the shoulder roll.  This post makes it possible form Mike to really swing and his opponent is going to follow and end up on top of him but in a crucifix position.  There are so many attacks from this position that you can do.  There are choke, triangles, arm bars, wrist locks, Kimuras and more.  It is one of the most dominant positions if you know what you are doing.  If you don’t have attacks this position can be useless. Now let’s change gears and look at some submissions.

High Elbow Guillotine from Turtle by Mike Palladino

Breakdown of the High Elbow Guillotine by Mike Palladino

So as you can see in the video above Mike is going to be setting this position up from the turtle.  This is an excellent way to set up any guillotine.  This position occurs very often in bjj.  We see the turtle occur in point tournaments because you do not get points for turtling, we also see this occur off of sprawls and we get into this position when passing the guard.

There are so many things that you can do from the turtle position, in the video Mike talks about how he likes to enter this guillotine by using a chin strap.  The chin strap is one of the best ways to get into the guillotine because it will allow you to secure a position underneath your opponent’s chin.  Once you have the chin strap you are going to want to use it to pull your opponents neck up and make even more space.

The part of your arm that you are going to want to finish this choke with is right by your thumb and wrist, the chinstrap will allow you to take a little bit more time to establish your final grip.  Once Mike has secured this he is going to connect his hands and be able to strengthen his grip.  Once his hands are connected he is going to fall to his back to finish the choke.

Many traditional guillotine chokes are taught from the closed guard but if you notice here Mike is not really even falling into a guard.  Mike falls into a position where his knee is across his opponents hip to control the distance and his leg opposite the side of the arm that is choking will go over his opponents body.  This is because he does not want his opponent to hop to the other side to defend this choke.  He has to make sure that the leg blocks that.  The leg is also over his opponents body so that if his opponent decides to fall to their back, he is able to follow through and still get the choke from the top.  You can use this guillotine from mount, half guard, bottom, quarter guard, and like we saw here from the turtle.  Try it out! Now let’s look at a bonus technique with Mike!

Rolling Calf Crank with Mike Palladino

In the video above Mike actually shows a calf crank from the twister position but you can use this to do a number of different submissions.  You can use this position as a calf lock or just to take the back.  If you notice when he was demonstrating it he was starting with one hook in much like when he did the other back take above.  Mike loves to use this first hook to start setting up many of his attacks.    To learn more about his system check out his new set called “Killer Turtle Attacks.”  There is no shortage of technique here.


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