Being able to turn away from the guard pass is one of those aha moments for every grappler at a certain point in time, when you realize that your guard isn’t necessarily passed just because you hit your knees during a pass. However, there are considerable complications that need to be taken into consideration. It’s the combination and flow between guard maintenance and defenses from the turtle position that make this powerful and effective maneuver actually work for you.
There are multiple options that exist from the turtle position for reversals and even submissions.The techniques are important, but more important is the mind set: instead of accepting the guard pass, create a scramble and go to turtle!
Being stuck in the turtle can be pretty demoralizing if you don’t know how to defend it properly. If you can defend the position long enough, you can escape it and get into a more advantageous position. Possibly even an effective attack off the escape. But before the escape, learn the points of defense. While in turtle, you have to tuck your chin, and keep your arms and legs tight. Giving any space gives the chance of your opponent to hurt you. Don’t give that space. Once you feel that you can stay tight, now you can work your escape.
This is one escape that you can always go to from the turtle. It is nothing fancy or wild. It is just getting back to a secure position, just getting back to the full guard. While your opponent has you in turtle and is controlling you from a side, you can do this. Take your inside leg and kick it through. Then put your leg behind him. Post your outside hand and push yourself up to get a higher base. Your inside hand will have the job of blocking the close knee of the opponent. Raise your hips up and sit through so you can put your opponent back into the guard. This is the first escape you should know and use.
Another excellent option from the turtle is to turn away (again, focused 100% on keeping your far elbow inside your thigh), and then open up your hips to spin back to guard. This is easiest accomplished if you can build up your far (right) leg as a “tent pole” to support your opponent’s weight, making sure your hips can go up high in the air.
Now, you’re essentially doing a rolling breakfall over your left shoulder, looking away the entire time, until you spin back through to a “double unders” type of guard. From here, the idea is to drop your hips to the ground right away. If you miss the chance to drop your hips, you might consider trying to set up a triangle from double unders.
Once again, perhaps the opponent has you in turtle and is controlling you on the side. With your inside leg, hook the opponent’s inside leg. Then if you can, use your inside arm to also hook the leg. Once those controls are achieved, turn your shoulder away from your opponent and roll on through. You will be able to then easily kneebar your opponent and have them tap before they know it!
The turtle can be a great transitional position, but only know if you know the right escapes and ways to defend. When you do, you will have another spot where you can outwork and out-maneuver your opponent. Danaher black belt, Travis Stevens knows how to escape and fight from the position very well and has a whole DVD dedicated to it!
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