I’m Back, Sorry For The Long Wait, Now The Turtle Guard Training Can Resume

I know I know, what gives?! I haven’t been posting anything related to turtle guard in a while. My excuse: Freaking busy running this martial arts academy. Yeah, it does take it’s toll.

But in the end it’s all good. I’m back in the swing of things with a whole new bag of turtle guard tricks up my sleeve. To be honest I’ve been doing a whole lot of drilling, testing and working on my more advanced turtle guard techniques.

I’ll get into all this new stuff don’t worry. First thing first I need to get my feet back underneath me. Once that happens I’ll film some new videos that are 100% guaranteed to help you kick more asses on the mats (or streets, whatever).

I do plan on releasing a BJJ Turtle Guard DVD Set at some point. I already filmed it, just haven’t moved forward with it. That could be my goal for 2015. Get that flipping turtle guard series out on the market.

Alright so yeah, I’m back in the fold, good stuff coming, that should cover it for today. Stay tuned for new content sooner rather then later.


You Need More Then One Thing For Success In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The other day I was chatting with one of my students. She asked me what I thought was the # 1 technique to use in the turtle guard.

I told her that there really isn’t a “best” technique to use for anything. There’s many techniques that work, it all depends on who you use them on.

In order to have success at the highest levels you’re going to need a wide variety of techniques and skills to pull from.

The reason for this is because not every technique works on everybody. Different builds and skills make for the use of all types of techniques.

Like I know for me, I’ll roll with a taller lankier person much different then I’d roll with a short stocky fellow.

I always tried to work on many different types of attacks in order to deal with any and all comers. One technique will never fit all.

Not only do you need different techniques but at the same time your tactics need to adjust. This might sound a bit much to a beginner but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Since we’re not talking about the best technique to use from the turtle guard I thought now would be a good time to list some of the “best” ones. They are:

Peterson Roll
Rolling Kneebar
Roll Back To Closed Guard

Mix up the use of the above techniques and you’ll have success. Over time you’ll find the ones that work best for you. From that point you add them to your game.

Below is a video of one of the greatest BJJ fighters of our time, Margarita. I always admired Margarita’s ability to adjust tactics and his use of so many great techniques. You’d be wise to study his movements.

The Best Always Test! Finding Out What Works in BJJ

In order to reach the highest levels in the BJJ world you’re going to have to try out a lot of different techniques. Some will work and many will not. The key is finding the stuff that works.

That’s where testing comes in. You need to always be learning new and challenging skills and then going out into the field and putting them to the test.

Through that process you’ll find out what really works.

So how does one test? I’m going to share with you my process for learning and testing new techniques. This process is the same no matter if it’s turtle guard or a back take situation.

First I learn the technique. Either someone shows it to me or i see someone use it on youtube or whatever. Then I drill the technique until i have a basic understanding of it.

After that I take it to the mats and try it during live rolling sessions. I start using it on women and kids, then white belt men, then blue, purple, brown and finally, black belts.

The way I see things, the technique better work on black belts, at least some of the times. If not I won’t use it.

That’s something a lot of students and instructors overlook. They’ll teach a move that’s going to work at the low level but pretty much not at all with guys/gals that know what they’re doing.

I should point out that it’s common for a technique to work for a long time and then all of the sudden stop working for you. That just means that it stopped working on your normal practice room training partners.

It most likely still works. It’s just that your buddies have figured it out…at least for now. That’s why you’ve always got to be adding to the package. More testing!

On the flip side, and this has happened to me a bunch of times, is that you’ll learn a technique, go out and test it and have no success with it…at all!

Then all of the sudden, days, months or even years later out of the blue…BOOM! You start hitting it, having success.

So don’t be too fast to write off a skill that doesn’t work right away in early testing sessions. Give it time. Like I always say, getting good at this whole BJJ thing isn’t going to happen overnight. Slow and steady win the race.

Below you’ll find a killer BJJ match featuring turtle guard master Marco Barbosa taking on butterfly sweep master Victor “Shaolin” Ribero. Check it out, great stuff.

What Does It Mean To Be Tough? The Story of Pedro Brandao

Being tough. Do you remember that time and age when everyday people were tough as nails? Yeah, I don’t either. Sad.

Times are changing. People are softer now. Every one’s a lover, not a fighter. That’s fine, the world needs lovers I guess.

Me on the other hand, I’d rather be a fighter. I’d rather be tough. I mean sure I guess I’m a lover at times, you know, when I’m out to dinner with my wife. Other then that, tough is my road.

I think for you to have success at anything worthwhile you’ve got to be tough. That includes BJJ training. For BJJ, tough is good.

When people ask me what I look for in a student, I tell them he or she needs to be tough. Everyone thinks it’s all about talent. Look, talents pretty much all over the place, toughness isn’t. I’ll take tough over talent any day of the week.

Take me for example. I’m not talented at all. I’m chunky, slow and weak. Pretty much I got dealt a bad athlete hand, haha.

BUT…I did so well in my career because I was tough. I wouldn’t quit and I took a good beating. The key is I could take the beating. So many people can’t. My former trainer, Renzo Gracie, had a great saying he used all the time. It went like this:

“He’s great when he’s the hammer but bad when he’s the nail”. I like that saying.

I won so many matches just by toughing out bad situations and then turning it around and coming on strong in the end.

Now of course, you need more then just tough to win. You need the skills to go with it. But if you put them together…you be a killing machine.

I’ve got a good story about tough and what it really means to fight hard.

Way back in 2001 I was training in Brazil at a place called Gracie Barra, at the time the top BJJ program in the world. I met a kid named Pedro Brandao. We trained together a lot during that trip.

Man if you ever wanted to roll with one tough SOB, this was your guy. It was brutal. He never stopped moving and god forbid he’d tap out or quit.

He worked very hard in the practice room. He would roll with anyone and everyone, no matter how big or what belt they were.

I remember one time I rolled two 10 minute matches with him and man these were brutal matches, back and forth, all over the place. The kind of rolls that really get you tired.

After the timer went off for the second round I was spent. Dead to the world. Pedro…nah, he was ready to go a third.

I was like dude you’re hardcore. No quit in him, all fight and toughness. I’m still in awe of that guy even today as I write this.

They told me a story about Pedro that I thought was cool and inspiring. He was competing at the Pan Am Games back in 1998. He was wrestling with another tough kid in the semi’s of his weight class, which was Pena (147 LBS).

The other guy broke both of Pedro’s wrists with wrist locks…Pedro didn’t quit, tap or stop. He kept going and eventually won the match on points.

He went on to win in the finals too and after he got his gold medal, went straight to the hospital and had both his wrists put in casts. Talk about tough!

This story has a sad ending. Pedro was killed a few years ago during a training exercise with the Army. It’s a shame, the world lost a good person that day.

RIP Pedro. You really were a tough mofo.

So the point of today’s blog post is this: Be tough, fight hard and never give up. That’s how you find success in BJJ.

*Click here to read the link about Brandao and his passing.

Below I threw in a video of Pedro competing. 100% worth a watch. Not only was this guy tough but also super exciting.

Marco Barbosa – The Father Of Modern Day Turtle Guard & Back Take Defense

Everyone wants new new and more new. Who’s the hottest up and coming fighter in the BJJ world. That’s all good and well…

I’ll tell ya what, let’s Forget the young guns for a today. Today let’s do a little throwback and let’s focus on a great “old” fighter by the name of Marco Barbosa. Barbosa is widely considered the father of modern day turtle guard.

Watching him compete was awesome. It really had a big impact on me and helped to shape my turtle guard system.

I first saw Barbosa on a VHS tape way back in the day. Around 97 or 98. It was one of his matches from the Brazilian Nationals tournament.

To be honest I didn’t fully understand what I was seeing. It was that high level. It wasn’t until years later that I got a grip on what I saw Barbosa doing. His level of skill and technique were very high. Particularity from the turtle and dealing with the back take.

Barbosa is in my opinion the best turtle guard BJJ fighter is the history of the style. He uses a lot of unusual techniques that you just don’t see very much. In fact, here at my academy in Maryland we’ve named a few moves after him.

Don’t think for a second that he’s all turtle however. He’s got some nasty Judo throws and passes the guard with unbelievable pressure. He weighs 140 pounds but when he passes the guard he feels like 500!

Barbosa is also known for being a very good teacher and coach. His students win world titles at different belt levels each and every year.

If you really want to learn and get better at the turtle guard then you should watch the videos I posted below. Really cool Marco Barbosa matches that are action packed and heavy on technical insight.

Marco Barbosa is truly a legend in BJJ. I’m honored to get the chance to write about him. Below the videos you’ll find a link to a website with Barbosa’s full bio and below that a picture of the man himself.

Click here to read Marco Barbosa’s BJJ Bio.

Sweeps from the turtle guard

Marco Barbosa is the Fellow to your right.