Entrance to X-Guard from Half Guard with Tom DeBlass
For anyone that follows the career of the inimitable Tom DeBlass, you know that he is most well-known for his No Gi competitive grappling, winning three ADCC North American Trials and multiple IBJJF titles. But he also has a solid foundation in gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a longtime member of Team Renzo Gracie, earning his black belt from the legendary Ricardo Almeida.
One of his favorite positions is half guard, from both the top and the bottom. It is a position that Tom has been working on and developing since he was a blue belt over 15 years ago. In the video below, DeBlass shares a unique entry to the X-Guard from Half Guard that leads to the class 'taking out the trash' sweep.
To learn more about how Tom DeBlass makes use of a the half guard to counter pressure, check out this article from BJJ Fanatics here.
Cross Grip in Lapel
The first step is to secure a cross grip on the lapel to be able to stop the opponent's forward pressure. This is also a very common grip that won't necessarily reveal the ultimate plan which is to divert their bodyweight away from you instead of on top of you.
Secure Grip on Knee
By securing a grip on the knee and pairing it with the lapel grip you will be able to set up the diversion of their body.
Direct Opponent Away Not On Top
Unlike a classic sweep where you want to get your hips directly underneath of your opponent, this entrance to X Guard and eventual sweep utilizes the cross grip in the opponent's lapel in combination with the grip on the knee to divert their energy to the side and away which opens up space to adjust the hips and bring the legs into play.
Bottom Leg to Hip (Do Not Reap)
Once the opponent has been moved to the side, the necessary space has been created to allow you to bring your outside leg up over their thigh and hip, making sure to keep foot pressure in the hip and not to cross the leg with your leg and reap the knee which is typically an illegal position in most gi tournaments, namely IBJJF.
Use Opposite Hand from Lapel Grip to Pull Foot Close to Your Head
You will then pull the foot of the leg you are controlling to your head to continue creating space.
Free Leg Pushes Thigh to Create Space
The leg that is not wrapping the thigh comes in to pressure the the opponent's leg and base.
Foot on Hip Becomes Top of X
The foot that is controlling the thigh and hip then comes into to finish the X claiming the top position and securing the X Guard. You are now able to begin extending and complete the sweep by extending the legs, standing up in combat base with the opponent's leg on your shoulder and chasing them should they turn away, controlling their hip and taking them to the ground.
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