Attacking from the Turtle Position

I’ve been slowly studying the matches of the 2011 Worlds, and was floored by this match:

I’ve never heard of Eduardo Telles before, but after a little research into it, it was clear that I was missing out on one of the most innovative jiu jitsu practitioners out there. He transformed the turtle position from a defensive one into an attacking one.

On a practical level, his instructional on the turtle guard gives me a better understanding of what to do in turtle position. Most academies teach the basics of the closed guard, half guard, side control, mount, etc, but few teach the basics of the turtle “guard”.

It seems that it’s always easier to improve my position by distracting my opponent with sweep and submission attempts. Nowhere is that more useful than the turtle position.

However, in a more general sense, his success in transforming the turtle position has made me realize that it’s possible to develop a complete (defensive and offensive) system around many positions which traditionally are considered to be undesirable. For example, from the butterfly position, it’s generally a good idea to not get flattened out on your back, but more and more, I’m learning that this may not always be true. Depending on the athleticism and body type of my opponent, there are times when I can be more dangerous when I’m flat on my back.

Then again, I’m always skeptical investing time into techniques that I have not seen pulled off successfully at the black belt level in competition. That’s why it’s always exciting to see someone like Eduardo Telles find success with a revolutionary approach to an underestimated position.

Check it out as he pulls and plays turtle guard successfully against Andre Galvao:

0 thoughts on “Attacking from the Turtle Position

  1. Alan

    I love Eduardo Telles. In fact, I attribute my entire turtle game to his instructional DVD. Even though I’m a blue belt, I’ve even caught my black belt instructor off guard with one of Telles’ turtle sweeps (technically a reversal, since it wouldn’t get me any points). He’s one of those competitors who is JUST on the fringe of being elite. He could beat a lot of high level guys, but when it came to the truly elite, he comes up short. Now, at age 35 (I think) his best days are behind him, but I still think he’s awesome!

    Reply
    1. Lex Post author

      I would say he is not on the fringe of being elite, but has made it. He has medaled at Worlds, Pans, or Brasileiro’s 12 times as a black belt. He won Pans in 2007. But you’re right, there is a feeling that he hasn’t quite made it because his name is not that widely known unfortunately.

      Reply
      1. Alan

        I know he’s medaled, but when you look at his matches against someone like Roger, Jacare, Galvao, etc he can’t quite over the hump. He acquits himself quite well, but he falls a bit short. Some of the scoring rules do him no favors (I disagree in about his trademark sweep being considered a reversal, and thus worth no points, for example), which is a shame considering how innovative and dangerous a practitioner he is. Like I said, I’m a big fan. Some of the guys at my club have taken to calling me the Ninja Turtle because of Telles’ influence on my game.

        Reply
        1. Lex Post author

          You’re completely right. He seems to lose on a ton of advantages against the big names. Perhaps he would do very well in a submission-only format.

          Reply

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