Grapplers Graveyard

BJJ Turtle Position

bjj turtle
  • Cameron Allen

    Cameron is the Founder of Grapplers Graveyard. He is an entrepreneur, athlete, and life-long learner. His goal is to build businesses that help people become smarter, healthier, and happier. Avid Cold Plunger, Blue Belt, and Tech Sales Professional who has a passion for building websites.

The turtle position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one that is completely defensive. In this potion, the person on the bottom can be vulnerable to attacks but if done right can find easy ways to get to scrambles, into a guard, or take the match to the feet. This is a position I am super comfortable in. Both offensively and defensively, a lot of things open up with this guard. In this article, we will break down the turtle position.

bjj turtle, turtle position, turtle guard basics and turtle guard concepts

What is BJJ Turtle Position

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the turtle position is a defensive position that looks at lot like the position in the image above. Your opponent is in a dominant position to either set up a submission or possibly take you back to score points in the realm of competition. In Turtle, you find yourself on your hands and knees with your head tucked low. Here are some key points you want to be aware of when you get here:

Key Points

  • Understand you have an opportunity to capitalize on people’s laziness here, you are not completely defenseless

  • Stay tight if you do not want people to get their hooks in and take you back. Connecting your knees to your elbows, crossing your wrists to cover your colors to protect your neck from chokes, and keeping your triceps glued to your lats will make your opponent’s time trying to break this hard and frustrating

  • Getting out of this position is about timing. You can get out by turning toward your opponent’s body and going for a half-guard or by standing up quickly.

Here is a video with some key movements to be aware of when finding yourself on the bottom of turtle. Typically, people will be looking for general openings when you find themselves in turtle, being aware of what they are looking to attack helps you understand what you need to do to stop or prevent them from getting what they want.

Attacking a Turtle Guard

Now this is mainly for the people who are in top position in turtle. The bottom-position practitioner’s main focus is to get out of the compromised position they have found themselves in. You, as the person on top, have the luxury of having the world at your disposal as to what you do. At the bottom of this paragraph, we have a video outlined for a great submission setup where you can both take the back and submit your opponent if done properly.

Here are your options for attacking when someone is in turtle:

  • Take the Back

  • Get Hooks in and Start to Control

  • Manipulate legs and start to play a leg game

  • Front headlocks leading to things like darces, anacondas, or guillotine chokes

What we personally like to do is start to take the back (to get points) and start looking for submissions from there. Playing with the lapel or collars and trying to go for something like a bow & arrow choke or a rear-naked choke is our go-to. Everyone’s game is going to be different and through trial and error, you will adapt your own style of play here.

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