Turtle can be a lot of things, it can be a place you move to in transition, a place where someone stalls the match and catches their breath, or a position you feel safe in.
Take a look at a couple of quick turtle tips to make your time in turtle a bit safer while also giving you some options to escape turtle into a dominant position.
Check out Pritt Mihkelson’s video…
He demonstrates how shrugging your shoulders and connecting your shoulder and chin makes it increasingly more difficult for your opponent to get the appropriate positioning of their arms around your neck buying you time to continue to work the escape.
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In doing this, as you’ll see in the video, Mihkelson’s hands are free allowing you to work towards a two on one grip on your opponent’s wrist preventing them from being able to finish the choke and ultimately allowing you the ability to sit out to guard or work other escapes.
Important note: Keeping your elbows tight to your ribs when you’re in turtle is key to defending the guillotine and not creating other attack opportunities for your opponent such as the darce choke.
If sitting to guard isn’t your style, we have some other options for escaping turtle. Check out Henry Cejudo’s video:
Let’s break down the steps of the escape shown. First, stepping up with your outside leg and rotating away from your opponent with the goal of being directly in front of your them. At this point you should be kneeling with one foot still planted and the ability to obtain two on one wrist control. Now Cejudo uses his opponent as a wall pushing his back against them and using that resistance to stand up. As he stands he remains at a lower level than the opponent and uses a combination of two on one grip as well as level changing to finish the escape by keeping the opponents arms in place and dropping his level to go under the arms. As you see in the video, at this point you have multiple options, Cejudo shows grabbing the single from this point, but there are a number of options depending on the situation and your preference.
In the video above you also saw a variation of the escape when your opponent pushes back and gets heavy rather than allowing you to stand. In this escape we still step up and push into the opponent, however they are too heavy not allowing us to stand.
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At this point we are going to use our arm closest to them to over hook their leg closest to our shoulder. Once you’ve obtained this over hook Cejudo is pushing off of the planted foot and “cartwheeling” over the opponent landing on top of the opponent with his back on their chest. Obviously, we want to gain more control here, Cejudo shows simply stepping over and switching to side control and controlling the hips.
The key takeaways from these videos for me would be controlling the wrist when in turtle with a two on one grip to prevent the choke. Use the opponent as a wall and based on their reaction choose the right escape, if they allow you to stand, stand, if not, you have the option of using that reaction to roll them over and take side control.
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