Ninja Turtles Would Not Do Well in the UFC

I’m sorry to break your heart but this post is not about the teenage mutant ninja turtles. It’s about the turtle position and its applicability in MMA or “self-defense” situations.

I’ll find myself bailing to turtle from open guard and am able to eventually re-guard (so I never lose points). However, whenever I’m in the turtle position I’m always thinking about the fact that in a real fight it is one of the worst positions you can possibly be in.

In fact, I wish that sport jiu jitsu rules reflected the danger of this position. For example, if someone takes me down into turtle, it’s not a takedown in most cases as far as I understand.

“Bailing” to turtle is a good way to avoid the pass, but I’m going to try to work the tight inverted guard like Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu’s tornado guard, for example, as shown below. It’s definitely a major undertaking, but just the process of working it (even if I don’t bring it to competition) I think will improve my flexibility and general body awareness. And of course, it will make my half guard or open guard that much harder to pass while always keeping the opponent in front of me (which is the major flaw in my view of the turtle position).

0 thoughts on “Ninja Turtles Would Not Do Well in the UFC

  1. Eric

    I agree with what you are saying about the turtle being dangers in MMA and the tornado guard is a pretty cool guard. However, I don’t think the tornado guard would work very well in MMA either. I think the turtle can be used in MMA as a fast transitional position only. Someone is passing your guard, you quickly bail to turtle and in one motion shoulder role and reguard. That is how I see using turtle in an MMA situation. I also agree the point system in BJJ should change, they should give points for reversing a turtle. The problem is most BJJ players don’t recongnize the turtle guard they only see it as a bad position to go into. Consider the situation where one player pulls guard, the top player almost passes, bottom man bails to turtle, top man reverses the turtle and winds up in side control….no points. It never made any sense to me, I always thought giving 3 points for reversing the turtle would completly change the game.

    1. Lex Post author

      Hey, just to clarify, what do you mean by reversing the turtle?

      And you’re right, the logic of this post is not very consistent as the tornado guard may not be good for MMA either. I just saw Cyborg compete a lot, and noone seems to be able to pass his guard.

  2. Eric

    Reversing the turtle = You are on top and your oppenent is turtling, you do something that turns him over and now he is on his back. As opposed to a reversal from turtle. which would be when the person turtling executes a move (perhaps a trap and roll) and goes from being on the bottom in turtle position to being on top in a dominant or perhaps equal position.

    Not only do I think reversing a turtle should be equivalent in points to passing the guard, but I also think if the person doing the turtling is able to resverse the position and come on top they should get 2 points (same as a sweep).

  3. Eric

    As a side note Cyborg beat Xande at the worlds 1 sweep to none last year. He certainly is one of the 10 top competitors in the world right now, maybe even top 5.


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