No points for turnovers?


I'm talking about turning over the turtle

I know BJJ is all about taking the back and putting the hooks in but it seems that turnovers are really neglected in BJJ. Considering that a turnover leaves you in a really strong position, generally the side or north south i can't see why it shouldnt garner points.

Considering that in ADCC and negative points for guard pulling the turtle is becoming quite popular and almost a loop hole where it is used to avoid guard passes etc. if it rewarded it might increase the dynamism of BJJ.

Would it increase stalling and what effect do you think it might have it it was rewarded.

What are your opinions on this matter

is this a taboo subject or does no one have an opinion?

The BJJ point system was designed to award points for positions that give you clear advantage in a street fight.  There are not many positions more dominante than having someones back in a streetfight.  In MMA the position is a lot less dangerous since most organizations have disallowed elbows to the back of the head or neck.  I have seen some people that were great at hanging out in the turtle and some even wait and attack from there.  It's a weird game but can be effective especialy if they get control of one of your hands. I personally don't see that much of an advantage in turning someone over to award points.  You go from attacking the back to usually having side control. 

OK then, but in that case shouldn't I get points for getting someone in the turtle position?

If side control is not better than turtle, then why do I get points for passing the guard to side, but no points for passing and he turtles up?

Andrew Yao makes a good point

Sport BJJ is no longer a street fight situation, people should give up the ghost and just let it evolve as a sport. I do beleive that at least in NOGI grappling turnovers should be rewarded considering the greater wrestling influence on it. Practically its still a BJJ tournament.

The NHB element is important aswell and involves different philosophies.

IMO it will all seperate out just like the many different forms of wrestling give points and emphassis on different aspects of the game



all have different philosophies, restrictions and points awarded. Two of those forms have submissions but they are mainly wrestling orientated.

BJJ (imo what it should seperate out to):

Sport BJJ (mundials),
NHB BJJ in a GI - like the lumax cup,
Submission grappling (ADCC),
NHB grappling,

Andrew makes a very good point. I never thought of it that way.

"Sport BJJ is no longer a street fight situation, people should give up the ghost and just let it evolve as a sport"

The problem with that is that the whole point of sport bjj IS to train you toward the best stradegies in a street fight. If we all just wanted to do a sport for the hell of it, we could go join a karate point tournament or play basketball, because hey it's just a sport. I don't see the point of awarding points for something you wouldn't necessarily even want to do in a real fight. Letting things evolve on a sport standpoint is how you grind them down to being a lot less useful than they originally were. bjj is meant to be useful, not just to be a sport. Sport matches are something to be used as a training tool, and the farther you get away from that, the worse of training tool it becomes. Basically, you'll get a bunch of highly specialized sport bjj guys who can only flop guard get their asses handed to them in any fight where that may not be a great idea.

FreestlyeJJ has just drank from the pure waters of correctness. 

The original question is good, but lets look at it very basically...

In pure grappling, having someone in side control IS much better than having them in the turtle. From the turtle there are more movement options than from the bottom of the dominant positions (mount, back, side, N/S, etc).

BJJ basically awards points for ADVANCING towards a dominant postion (ie. takedown, guard pass, sweep) or ATTAINING one of the MOST DOMINANT fighting positions (MOUNT, BACK, Knee on stomach).

So turning the turtle over would fall into the ADVANCING towards a position category. Something like a sweep or guard pass. Basically from on top of the turtle you can do three things and still be considered winning in a grappling frame of refrence: 1. Attempt a submission (no points for this) 2. Take the back (4 pts usually if you get this) 3. Break down the turtle and put him on his back, not landing in his guard. So you could say that to increase the profiency in this area we will start awarding points for a clean turnover. It would fit in OK with BJJ logic.

However, being turtled "in the street" or in NHB may have different consequences, but the fact of the matter is that in grappling, it will always be a semi safe place. I don't think turtling is even all bad for NHB, as we see people transition to their knees and move quickly from there all the time. I guess if you are concerned about misusing your BJJ in an NHB context, then train that way and you will be less likely to develop those habits.

Also we have established that someone who does only sport BJJ will be very effective over someone with no training, or limited martial arts training. More recently we have established that someone with modern well rounded MMA will be better off than someone with just BJJ. I don't think this is the question. What's wrong with being a specialized sport BJJ guy if thats what you want to be? Is it any more wrong than a highly specialized boxer who can "only" punch, but is clueless about the ground.

If sport BJJ isn't giving you what you want, then why don't you just train a method that does instead of trying to tamper with the limitations inherent in a grappling sport. You can't confer a meaning on the activity greater than simply the activity itself. The point of sport BJJ is to get better at sport BJJ. Any "streetfighting" skills gained during the process can be considered a bonus.

Whether or not you think turtle is better or worse or equal to side control, the rules are inconsistent.

if (top turtle >= top side control) then

    passing guard to get top turtle should get points

    and turnovers should get no points.

if (top turtle < top side control) then

    passing guard to get top turtle should get no points

    and turnovers should get points.

In the current rules, neither gets points.

So there does not exist a case where the rules are logical.

"if top turtle top side control then
passing guard to get top turtle should get no points and turnovers should get points. "

I don't think it's as simple as that. You have to look at the intentions of the exchange and how the rules effect them. The rules of bjj are meant to shape the martial artist competing in it. Judo rules do this too, and possibly wrestling(I haven't picked up on a shaping philosophy in wrestling, but maybe it's there).

  If someone is passing your guard and you can't shrimp back to your guard, sometimes going to your knees tempararily to transition back to guard, or do single leg or sweep or something else is a very good idea rather than letting them consolidate a sidemount. The guard pass is effectively neutralized when this happens. This does seem to be a loophole that is abused in the rules, but if you can't advance your offense because of it, did your guard pass really mean anything in a real fight anyhow?

 This backfires sometimes and instead of creating a transition, the person gets on top of you. This does mean anyone has taken the advantage yet, but if the top person secures their hooks in, they do get rewarded for advancing their way toward possibly finishing the person. If they turn them over, they can still get full mount points.

 My problem with changing the rules regarding this is that if you give points JUST for getting on top of the turtle, the shaping aspect of the rules will cause people to be less willing to use the turtle as a temparary transition position which is a very useful tool to have when you're fighting/grappling. If you award them points for turnovers, people will start doing that instead of securing backmount. So it's not a discussion of top turtle vs. sidemount, but whether you want to train people to take backmount or sidemount when given the choice, and I think most people would agree, you take backmount given the choice.(edited for spelling)

Isn't it the IGJJF rules that just gives points for positions? NOt how you managed to get it. So there is no point for passing the guard per-se, but you do get points for gaining sidemount, so if you pass to sidemount you get points.

I've always found it strange that if somoene is UNDER in sidemount and manages to turn it around so he ends up in sidemount, you get no points. As it was explained to me it does not give points because it was meant to discourage giving points to "wrestling" moves and thus giving the advantage to the traditional BJJ player. I don't know if there's any truth to that, but i think it's bullcrap that you don't get any points for it. personally i prefer staying in sidemount then the mount, find i have many more attacks and easier to keep position from sidemount, so i don't agree that only mount should give points as a dominant position.

"What's wrong with being a specialized sport BJJ guy if thats what you want to be? Is it any more wrong than a highly specialized boxer who can "only" punch, but is clueless about the ground. "

Yes, I think there is a problem with that. The difference in your comparison is that at least the boxer knows how to properly punch. That's what his thing is supposed to be teaching him and he knows how to do it. If you're aiming to be just a highly specialized sport bjj guy, and not in a way that you can most efficiently use it in a fight, abusing rules, and training certain ways only because of the rules of the sport, then this will become problematic if we let the rules go off in some odd direction because "it's just a sport". Right now, it's not too bad, but the potential for the sport being watered down and the "specialized sport people" becoming less and less effective at using their skills in a street fight is very great. If you're going to learn bjj, even if just as a sport, the rules must be maintained to at least shape those competitors to be able to actually do bjj correctly. The boxer knows how to punch, but to keep it somewhere near reality, you don't tell him he can only use his left hand.

All I know is that I feel a bit worse under the side mount than in the turtle. It's harder to breathe under the side mount, for sure.

I think they should give the points for that as they should for bridge-n-rolls from side or scarf and getting to side (not mount though). The turnover from turtle is the same as passing the guard and should receive equal points - then people would start working on the turnovers more also. I do not think it will discourage people from getting the back - everyone will continue trying to do both and the game would be with wider options. And I cant see how turning over the turtle would be bad for reality training in sport bjj - quite the contrary I think.


I've been grappling (no pun intended) with BJJ's rules for years: relative to competitive Judo rules they seem so vague and flexible in their implementation.

Then, about a year ago, it kind of clicked: the whole point game is realy incidental to the submission game. Whilst in Rio this year discussing similar issues, I kept hearing the same thing i.e. "Who cares". Sure it sucks if the game is lost because of inconsistent point application, but at it's essence the 'game' is about securing one submission not accumulating hundreds of points.

As for the turtle debate: my view is that a guard pass that is defended by turtle is reward in itself - there are many opportunities for the non-turtled player to proactively dictate the continuation of the game. However having ones opponent in turtle doesn't equate to the same degree of 'domination' as side-control, knee-ride or mount, so there's no reason to reward the same with points.

From the CBJJ Rules (used at the Mundial etc):

B-) PASSING THE GUARD: Is when the athlete that is above his adversary or in between his legs, moves to his opponent’s side, establishing a perpendicular position over his adversary’s trunk, dominating him and leaving him no space to move or to escape the position—if even is on his side, back, or facing down. NOTE: if the athlete that is underneath avoids the move by getting to his knees or standing up, the initiative will not be awarded 2points but will be awarded an advantage.

I don't think passing someones guard and him turtling up should count as a guard pass. Being in turtle is WAY better then being under in sidemount, and a part of passing the guard is keeping control of your opponent so he's still there once you get past his feet (namely keeping the underhook on the far side).

can we get back to the question, why are there no points for turning over the turtle when it clearly gives you a strong position to progress the fight?

You're right it provides you with a strong position to progress the fight, HOWEVER the person turtling, until they are hooked and/or swept into another postion,(e.g., side control) isn't in real danger of being submitted given their relative mobility.

Points aren't awarded for achieving strong positions for future progression, rather they are awarded for progression.

The pass-evasion-into-turtle scenario would (depending upon the rules of the competition) be awarded an Advantage, but the crux of the matter is the person who is turtling DID evade if not neutralise the intial attack.