6 Ways to Take the Back From Turtle in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Updated on March 26, 2020
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Methods for Taking the Back From Turtle

The turtle is a common defensive position in all grappling arts. Although it fell out of favor for a few years in sport BJJ, it has made something of a resurgence in recent years as people have developed ways to avoid being submitted or giving up their back while preventing the guard pass. Here are some basic (and not-so-basic) methods of taking the back anyway from this vulnerable position.

1. Basic "Spiral Ride"

  1. Start on your partner's left side, with them turtled before you.
  2. Create some space on the side nearest you by wedging your left knee in between your partner's elbow and hip area.
  3. On the other side of their body, reach over with your right arm and thread your right hand into a "spiral ride," or a "karate chop hand" position, wherein you can ultimately lift your partner's hips while you move to take the back.
  4. Use your left arm to encircle their head, taking away one "leg of the table" by not allowing them to post.
  5. Off-balance them forward and to your left, and insert your first hook as they tilt to the side.
  6. Hip out if you need to, then insert your second hook.

2. Lapel Grab

A more direct route to getting the back here is to simply insert your first hook before beginning the off-balancing portion of the move. This won't always be available, but it's a great way to expedite the back taken whenever it presents itself.

Before inserting your left hook, be sure to reach over and control their lapel (if it's no-gi, you can use the spiral ride option here as well). The off-balance portion and the tilt are essentially the same, but you only have to worry about getting one additional hook in.

3. Double Unders Entry and Choke

A very common entry into turtle is when you're trying a double under guard pass. As your partner moves to turtle, make sure you stay ahead of them and circle behind, finishing as before. You can use the same lapel grip (or spiral ride) as before, and the same 45 degree off-balance to set up the tilt. If you can't get your second hook in because your partner is defending, you can always attack their neck. This will often get them to open up and allow you to finish taking their back.

4. Olay Back Take

Sometimes, your partner is used to the fundamental back take motion, and has gotten very, very good at defending it. Perhaps they are even experts at how to defend the back take from turtle (ahem). In this case, it might be useful to do something fancy: the "olay" back take.

  1. Keeping your weight on your partner's back, posture up so that you can swivel your right leg all the way around your partner's head (please don't kick your partner in the head), finishing with your hook in on the far side.
  2. Now just execute a basic tilt while ensuring you have the harness.

5. Rolling Bow and Arrow

Still another way to get to the turtle is from a sprawl.

  1. Once you have established a dominant top turtle position, it's once again time to do something fancy. This time, use your right hand (currently controlling their far lapel) to feed to your left hand, just under their chin, right at their collarbone.
  2. Next up, step all the way over to insert your far hook, and then hug your partner's left leg with your right arm.
  3. Instead of a tilt, execute a full forward roll, ending up in a tight bow and arrow choke finish position.

6. Rolling the Other Way

This last option works best when your partner either tries to grab your wrist to do a barrel roll, or else you simply can't hit the tilt described earlier.

  1. Instead, roll all the way over their body, establishing a strong harness grip along the way.
  2. If you grip their wrist instead of clasping your hands together, you'll take one of those "table legs" away.
  3. From there, you will end up on the "wrong side" with no hooks, but you'll still have the harness.
  4. Insert your right hook first, then crawl up on top of your partner.
  5. Once there, sit down once again in order to get the second hook in.

Which way is best to take the back from turtle?

See results


As the turtle position comes back in vogue somewhat, it's a great time to explore both the offense and defense of the position. There's a great deal you can do offensively from the top of turtle, and—contrary to popular belief—there's actually a fair bit you can do from the bottom as well. Try these techniques (and others) out in a playful, exploratory manner, and, as always, let us know how these techniques are working for you!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)