BJJ / Grappling / MMA DVD review: UFC coach Nathan Leverton Super Grappling Seminar - The Turtle

Nathan Leverton is a great grappling and MMA coach with several fighters from his team, Leicester Shootfighters representing on a scale of MMA shows from local events to the UFC.

I was recently contacted by Nathan to review his latest product:  A DVD instructional on the turtle position, which is a huge part of grappling, jiujitsu and MMA so I was more than happy to oblige. As I am very busy with school at the moment, I told Nate it'd go in the queue and I finally got an hour or two free so here it goes.

You can download Nathan's Turtle Top MMA curriculum here.

Here is a great example of Nathan's MMA / grappling coaching skills: Here he is teaching the Front Headlock - 3/4 Nelson - Darce Choke chain.

In the DVD / instructional, Nathan leads the room like Eddie Bravo or John Will by deciding which way everyone should face when drilling. This is a great tactic to quickly scan the whole seminar and check that everyone is on the same page.

The seminar theme is the turtle top position:

Position: He spends a long time explaining how exactly to hold the position of side ride correctly while citing his inspiration for each part of the position.
Nathan then gives the participants time to try out the position for themselves.

Technique 1: Strikes from turtle top.
The hook punch
The hammerfist
The inside uppercut
Nathan explains what he is doing, how he does it and why.

You can download Nathan's Turtle Top MMA curriculum here.

Technique 2: Movement side to side via the back ride
Nathan explains how to first shift his weight (and why) before moving to the rear and from there to the other side. Nathan make sure to review the details from the original instruction of how to hold the side ride position. At this point, Nathan gets a couple of great "What if" questions which he addresses.

Technique 3: The spiral ride
As the opponent starts to stand up, Nathan shows GSP's spiral ride he used against Nick Diaz to keep him down. The level of detail is fantastic. Not many teachers will give that much attention to the positioning between you and the opponent to this level of detail.

Technique 4: Sensitivity drill from the back ride to read which hip the opponent will drop to and how to completely avoid getting put back in the guard. This is an alive drill and Nathan does not overwhelm the attendees with positional details.

You can download Nathan's Turtle Top MMA curriculum here.

Technique 5: 3/4 Nelson
Nathan's explanation of the 3/4 nelson is amazing, sharing that the details were taught to him by Billy Robinson from the catch wrestling fame. Excellent details on the grip, positioning and movement.
"Synching in grappling is two things: pulling towards you and pinching your elbows in"

Technique 6: The Darce / Brabo choke from the 3/4 Nelson turnover
Nathan starts this instruction with an excellent treatise of how to squeeze chokes and why do it in that way. Then, he moves to angle and position. He shows a great detail called the "short arm" as a transitional position before synching in the full Darce grip.

"There are two views on the crank v choke. You either work to perfect the choke element, or just treat the tap as a tap"

Technique 7: The Sit-Thru Darce choke (i.e. without the turnover)
By making a couple of adjustments, Nathan shows how the technique can be used against an opponent without taking them down.
Here Nathan discusses how to synch any technique and explains how and why he believes that grapplers should squeeze with the arms first and then with the body or else they would be fighting their own body.

You can download Nathan's Turtle Top MMA curriculum here.

Technique 8: Crucifix
Diving the near knee into the gap and cupping the biceps, Nathan shows how a snappy shuck will give him access to insert his far foot in for the crucifix set-up position and a quick americana submission that you can sometimes find.
After, Nathan shows us two different way to dominate the opponent's posture in a full crucifix position: Folding them forwards and rolling across their back.
I felt Nathan's first method (folding them forwards) was a little rushed compared to the level of detail he had spoiled us with thus far. Nonetheless, after watching the clip a few times I think I got all the details I needed.

Technique 9: Attacks from the crucifix
Nathan starts with how to properly and efficiently enter and attack with a single arm rear naked choke and how the opponent's bridge attempts leave them open to a simple back take.

Technique 10: Guillotine
If you feel the arm you're hugging slip away, place your hammer-fisting arm against their throat and follow them up the top . Nathan shows how strikes feed into submissions from such a dominant position.

Technique 11: The Tilt
Switching from the back ride to sitting on your bum, Nathan shows the correct way to take the back via one of two routes:
-Harness followed by hooks
-Release the pressure so they sit up, follow with a hook and (often) attack for the rolling armbar
Nathan also explains that we can always take the opponent half way to a seated position and feet strikes in

At 1hr 3min Nathan summarises the curriculum he taught that day and links all the positions into clear gameplans and gives the seminar participants good advice on how to drill them and what objectives to take with them. He also talks to the participants about how to play jiujitsu against wrestlers and how to wrestle jiujitsu fighters. The DVD ends on the 1hr9min45sec mark.

Initially, I thought the visual quality of the seminar was very good but the sound quality would suffer from the setting (at a gym not a studio) but as soon as Nathan started talking, I found myself listening and hanging on every word he said. His voice is very clear and his instruction very concise and to the point. If you are looking for inspiration in your turtle top jiujitsu / grappling / MMA game, this is the product for you.

You can download Nathan's Turtle Top MMA curriculum here.



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