ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Escaping the back take from turtle - a BJJ Tutorial

Updated on April 9, 2016
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 4th degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Turtle troubles

The longer you train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the more you come to realize that your best opportunities to advance your position lie in transitions. This goes doubly so for escapes. The best time to escape, by far, is when your opponent is transitioning from one dominant position to another. A great example of this is going from the turtle to the back with hooks. In this instance, we're taking a look at the transition from turtle when your opponent already has the harness or over/under position (or at least the underhook side or a lapel grip). For a comprehensive review of options to escape turtle and recover guard before this happens, revisit this tutorial on turtle/guard recovery.

No hooks: the "Granby" roll for BJJ

This position starts when you are turtled and your opponent does not yet have hooks in, but they do have the far lapel grip, or an underhook on your arm, or a "karate chop" grip into your hip. From here, your opponent's aim is to tilt you toward them, using a hook on the back of your knee to aid in the tilt, and then throw hooks. During this transition, the main idea is to allow yourself to rotate rather than fighting the position. However, the monkey wrench you're going to throw in is to rotate just a bit further than your partner wanted you to, namely by walking across your shoulders. From here, just elevate your hips into the air (while basing on both shoulders) until you can hop over your partner's legs. While you might not end up in side control every time, if you time this right, you should be able to effectively nullify the back take and create a neutral position.

Full speed

This second scenario is virtually identical to the first, but your partner has managed to throw their first (near side) hook in. If they've thrown the far side hook in, you can generally escape to deep half easily. The first thing to do here is to attempt to peel their hook off using their forearm. If this works, it's essentially the same scenario as before. Again, if you wait for the hook to be 100% in before you start your escape, times are going to be very tough. Additionally, when you're over the top of your partner's guard here, try switching your hips in mid-air. This will facilitate the guard pass on the way down (technically, your partner doesn't have a guard established, so you likely wouldn't get points if this was a point-scoring scenario, but if it helps you to remember how to complete the position by thinking of this as "passing the guard", more power to you!).

With a hook

This next scenario is different in that the hook is completely sunk in, and peeling it off won't work. Fortunately, the "rolling on your shoulders" idea still works here. While based up on your shoulders, just throw your hips over your partner's far leg by using a "mule kick" motion, making sure that you have cleared the far side hook completely. I recommend proceeding all the way to the "gargoyle" position described in this tutorial. From here, you can either finish a leglock, transition to a Kimura grip and "the trade" position, or take the back with a ninja roll, or switch to a knee cut guard pass. All of these are possible from the backstep position you and your partner have created.

Another look

Here's another quick look at the technique. One thing worth pointing out here is that your initial reaction is multi-purpose; that is, it's viable for either with or without the initial hook thrown in. Here, you can use the same rolling and hip lift motion in order to accomplish either objective. In this video, my partner has a hook in. As I shoot my hips up, instead of passing, it just means I'm going to shoot over for the backstep position. Try drilling both options with your partner and note the similarities in what you do in order to escape.

Which is hard to escape?

See results

Final thoughts

Remember: the key to any good escape lies in the transition, and in the opportunities you and/or your partner create in those transitional moments. Have fun trying out these possibilities, and, as always, let me know if this stuff works for you!

About the author
Andrew Smith teaches gi and no-gi seminars across the country. Check out hisschedule of upcoming seminars and bio here. If you're interested in booking Andrew for a seminar, email him here.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, 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:

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 or 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)