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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

24 September 2014

24/09/2014 - Teaching | The Back | Turtle Wing Escape

Teaching #201
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 24/09/2014

Essentially, as they try to move to your side from the front of your turtle, all you do is stick out an arm (your 'wing') on that side, thumb pointing down. Hold it around the level of their hip and don't straighten it. That motion reminds me a bit of how Braulio finishes his running escape, though for this turtle escape, your 'wing' is considerably lower. Also, don't try to wrap up their leg with that arm, keep it straight. By this point, they're already by your side, so single leg attempts etc will likely just put your arm in danger of getting attacked.

That outstretched arm acts as a barrier, preventing them from establishing hip-to-hip contact. As with side control as various other positions, if they can't get their hip next to yours (or alternatively, a knee/elbow/hand by your hip), it considerably reduces their control. You can then do the same motion as in that earlier drill, bringing your leg through to establish a hook. Even better, your arm is already in place to immediately become an underhook, meaning you move right into a strong half guard.

Teaching Notes: The main things to emphasise next time are keeping that arm straight, as it is hard to overcome the natural tendency to try and grab the leg as they move around to your side. I thought about adding in the second part of the technique, where you use your leg to counter them as they move from behind you, but I'll save that for next week.

I was super-pleased that there were two women in the class, coming over from the women's class directly before. The main reason I set up a women's class was to provide beginners with an access route into the mixed classes (as per Chrissy's sensible advice: this is how she ran her women's classes too), so hopefully this is the start of a trend. The more women there are in the mixed class, the easier the transition from the women's class. :)

Of course, one of those women was not a beginner, she's a three-stripe purple belt. Which was cool in a whole other way, as firstly it is always brilliant to have high-level visitors, secondly she's a perfect training partner for me, as Rachael is around the same size and more experienced. Yay! I've followed her blog for a few years now: you can check it out here.

We're shifting into mount next week, after a final class on the back on Wednesday. Also next week, we're making an exciting move from our current Staple Hill venue (no change at the original Artemis BJJ location in Bristol Sports Centre, where we've been since the beginning) to Dean's new place in Kingswood: the times at Kingswood will be exactly the same as the current Staple Hill times. I'll be putting up full details on the website once we switch, but I am fairly sure it will be from Thursday 2nd October. I'll check tomorrow at the Staple Hill venue to clarify. :)

Update: Matt Freedman put up a helpful comment, featuring two videos that show a variation of this defence. The difference is they put you on top: I like the sound of that, as I'm much happier on top. Something to try next time, and interesting in the context of Chris' question about single legs and the like.


  1. Relevant: Marcelo Garcia black belt Leo Kirby teaching a takedown variation of the wing escape:

    You can watch me hit this move about 30 seconds into this match (but not successful in consolidating the top position):

  2. Very nice! I like that version better, as it puts you on top rather than on the bottom. I'll give it a go on either Saturday or Monday. Thanks!

    I've heard the name Leo Kirby a few times before, as he's someone Aesopian talked about in the same breath as Jeff Rockwell, but I haven't watched much of his stuff yet. Something I should get round to doing. :)