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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

11 March 2019

11/03/2019 - Teaching | Back | Top Turtle Basics

Teaching #842
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 11/03/2019

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A major subtype of the back is a position called the turtle, where you're on your elbows and knees. 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.

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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.

To regain the back with hooks in, insert your hand by their far hip, so the back of your hand is against their inner thigh. Drop back to the near side, using your hand as a preliminary hook. Roll them over with that, replacing your hand with your leg. To get in the other hook, you can use the Marcelo hip thrust I've shown before, hooking your legs as you simultaneously thrust into the bottom of their spine and pull back with your arms. That should give you lots of space to insert your second hook.

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Teaching Notes: Bum down, base leg bent and slightly forwards. Stay low on them, as too far up and you could get rolled. I forgot to talk about the moving around keeping your head by their hip if they try and roll to guard, meaning you get side control. As part of that, I can talk about trying to go behind, as it's harder for them to follow you with their legs if you do that.

On the roll to the back, continue emphasising that it is a diagonal pull. Also, the elastic band type thing that I think Nathan Leverton mentioned, you're leaving that little gap to pull them into. I wasn't certain there would be enough in this lesson, but I think it works out ok in its current format after all.

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