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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

01 September 2014

01/09/2014 - Teaching | The Back | Maintaining Turtle (Top)

Teaching #190
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 01/09/2014

We have a new position this month, the turtle. To begin, I wanted to cover some of the basics for maintaining the turtle, from the top person's perspective. A good starting point is a wrestling position I learned from Nathan Leverton, the side ride. You are alongside them, with your nearest knee next to theirs, your other leg out for base (but bent, as if it's straight, that hinders your ability to react to their movement). Your same side hand is grabbing their near arm, while your other hand is reaching inside their far hip.

Don't go too deep, just to the level of your wrist, also being careful to keep your elbow out of range: if they can grab your elbow, they can roll you over. To maximise your pressure, keep your head low. I'd also advise keeping your knee off the floor and leaning into them.

You can also move around directly behind them, legs in tight rather than sprawled back (that can work too, but it does potentially provide them with some space to exploit). In that position, put both hands inside their thighs, your knees pressing into their hips, staying on your toes and keeping your weight low. From there, you can switch to the side ride on either side. If they manage to start turning in either direction, always run behind them to their back. If you run towards their stomach as they turn, that can put you in their guard.

Teaching Notes: This is the first time I've taught a class on turtle, so I was looking forward to seeing what works and what doesn't. I think tonight went pretty well, though I can see a few bits I could possibly add in, such as the spiral ride for when they're trying to get up. For that, you basically just thrust your non-hip hand underneath them and past their head, while simultaneously running round. That is meant to flatten them back down, either returning them to turtle, giving your the back, or potentially putting you in side control. At the same time, I don't want to go overboard adding details, as it's important to maintain that balance between useful and comprehensible.

Next time I'll emphasise keeping weight on them and probably add in the spiral ride (although maybe just in drilling, if I see somebody is having trouble because their partner keeps rising up?). I could potentially broaden out the grips, as there are lots of alternatives besides grabbing the arm. However, that could easily lead me to over-complicate stuff. If I went with grabbing the wrist, that would fit in nicely with the crucifix stuff, so I might try that when I teach it next, with a view to teaching the crucifix later on.

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