Turtle Power- The Evolution of Turtle Guard

Anyone 6 months into jiu jitsu is probably familiar with using the Turtle position actively. And yet some don’t realize it’s nascence began with Eduardo Telles, who was a successful BJJ and MMA fighter in the early 2000s and coach at Blackhouse MMA, where Silva and Machida trained.

We’ve had Telles for seminars and not only is his jiu jitsu unique, but his attitude is as well. Unlike much of our compartmentalized community, Telles is inviting and radiates a lover-of-life attitude. I’m obsessed with what we’ll call minimal exertion jiu jitsu so I’ve obviously been a huge fan of his style for years.

This year, many people who weren’t familiar with a particular protégé of his became so as he conquered a ton of gi and nogi tournaments. This students name is Sergio Rios and often flies under the radar, though most high level BJJ guys I know know who he is. He’s definitely one of the best pound for pound Masters competitors (if not the best) on the planet. And he wins a ton of stuff at Adult still as well. What’s crazy about Sergio is that is just as good with and without the gi.

Anyway, this year at Nogi Worlds I watched the craziest match I’ve ever seen in my life between him and Xande Ribiero. Sergio essentially ended up winning because of his masterful use and evolved form of the Turtle Guard. It’s such an awesome demonstration of how the pupil becomes the master. Watch this:

Rather than reiterate everything I demonstrated in the video I’m including a breakdown flowchart of what ties together Telles’ Turtle Guard and Sergio’s evolutionary advancement:

If we look side by side we can even see the similarities in movement:

Let’s not forget to watch out for those hooks! Here you can see Sergio adjusted by pinching his knees and backing out.

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