The Purple Belt Position: The Turtle

Observing different levels of students roll I see common patterns of mistakes in defending the guard.

White belt: I see many instances where the white belts are attacking their opponents without any setup whatsoever.
Let’s use the triangle from the guard in this example.

The opponent can see the attack coming a mile away and easily defends the triangle by posturing up and pulling out of the triangle.
The white belt on bottom refuses to acknowledge that their triangle is not going to work and hangs on to the triangle (that they don’t really have).

The passer then tosses the white belts legs aside and quickly passes to side control.

Blue belt: Many blue belts have stronger guard retention skills and not so easily passed as their white belt counterparts.
However, following a failed triangle, the blue belt will at one point say to themselves “Ok, my guard is being passed : I am going to change to trying to defend and escape side control.”
They more quickly admit and adapt to the fact their guard is being passed.

But they are “accepting” being passed and settling for side control.

Purple belt: The purple belt should be starting to develop the turtle position.

Watch an experienced purple belt as their guard is being passed.
Instead of laying with their back flat on the mat and accepting the pass, the purple belt will instantly go to a tight turtle position.

There are multiple options that exist from the turtle position for reversals and even submissions.
Most commonly, the purple belt will remain in turtle momentarily and then replace the guard in an instant.

The techniques are important, but MORE important is the mind set: instead of accepting the guard pass, create a scramble and go to turtle!

Check out these 2 key techniques for defending the turtle and replacing the guard by Brandon “Wolverine” Mullins.

How to Escape the Turtle and Get Safely Back to Guard

The Sidemount Escape Used Most Often in High Level BJJ

You high blue belts and purple belts out there…do not settle for fighting from underneath side control.
Go to turtle!

read also: Jiu-jitsu Times – Don’t Skip The Details!


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