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Defensive Tactics From The Turtle With Travis Stevens

Defensive Tactics From The Turtle With Travis Stevens


Whether you are doing Judo or Jiu-Jitsu, having a strong defense from the turtle is an absolute necessity. Regardless if you are defending a strong throw attempt or avoiding a guard pass the turtle is a great temporary option to transition to your next option. There are plenty of resources out there on the turtle but Travis Stevens offers a unique perspective since he has a black belt in both Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. 


Travis has a simple tip to apply anytime you are in the turtle. That is the chin rule. By tucking his chin and planting his head into the floor he is able to simultaneously defend the choke attempts while offering a strong pivot point when movement is needed.

 A solely defensive turtle will eventually get cracked. Travis points this out at the 1:50 mark of the video. By dedicating a hand to the non-threatened side of the neck you limit what you can do from the turtle. Instead your free hand should be tracking what your opponent’s other hand is doing. When you use this cross arm defense you will be able to ‘unwind’ your opponent’s position and find an opportunity to come out on top. 

Spending time in the turtle is the key to becoming proficient at it. A habit many people find themselves doing is JUST turtling up, without offering any offense escape or possibly reverse the position! A good starting point would be to try and apply this cross arm defense that Travis demonstrates. 

Check out more Turtle Tips from Travis Stevens! Click Learn More

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It’s important to not hang out in the turtle because the chances your opponent will have to launch successful offense increases. By following the ching rule you can immediately get to moving. This will at the very least limit the amount of options your opponent will have because they will constantly have to adjust to your movement. In that transition is where you will find the opportunity to escape. 

Certain situations will lead to an opponent attempting the rolling armbar from the turtle. This can be quite troublesome to defend because of the power of this technique. Thankfully Travis Stevens once again has a solid strategy for us to follow, let’s check it out. 


If your opponent is able to insert their leg they can start to initiate the rolling arm bar. As this happens Travis immediately puts his hand inside his thigh to offer the first line of defense. It’s small details like this that can provide the time needed to defend this aggressive technique. 

Travis’s next line of defense is to flatten his leg out so he can put his opponent’s leg between his. From here he forces a roll to come up into a stronger position to defend. By keeping his opponent’s leg trapped Travis can switch his base and start to retract his arm. If you want a more indepth look at what Travis has to offer check out his instructionals available at BJJFanatics, and of course JudoFanatics!

If you are looking for a good place to start when learning from Travis Stevens, The Judo Academy is a safe bet. This instructional checks a lot of boxes in terms of what you want from an instructional. Not only do you get Travis’s input but also the great Jimmy Pedro! The Judo Academy covers ne waza, techniques for both same side and opposite side stances, and much more. Get an indepth look at the concepts and strategies that will lead you to victory. 

The Judo Academy by Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens
The Judo Academy by Jimmy Pedro & Travis Stevens is a 4 part instructional that gives you the foundations of two of the most accomplished Judokas in the U.S. Cover the ins and outs of grip fighting, ne waza, and of course Top-Tier Throws!