How to Shut Down Single Leg X
Shut Down The SLX with Ease!
Single Leg X, aka Ashi Garami, is a form of open guard in grappling that has gotten popular over recent years due to the ability of guard players to transition to leg locks quickly and effectively. The guard is also an excellent tool for sweeping, controlling a standing opponent, and transitioning to other guards like standard X-guard. As a result of its comprehensive efficiency, almost all grapplers, from white to black belt, are learning and utilizing the various techniques from this guard.
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Single Leg X guard is also a great tool because it is difficult to defend against. Often times when standing opponents begin the defensive motions, they expose themselves to various transitions are based exclusively on how they react. For example, pushing the outside leg can result in the guard player transitioning to X-guard, a position significantly more difficult to defend.
Before attempting to defend single leg X, it is important to learn and understand some important concepts that can be used to diminish the power of the guard while also preventing transitions. As with any guard, pinning and controlling the hips of the guard player should be of utmost priority. This can be done against single leg X using the trapped leg by rotating slightly and pushing one’s knee forward and down. The following video by Lucas Lepri displays defenses to the single leg X utilizing this concept.
Anytime you are defending single leg X, you must constantly be wary of the transition to X-guard. Personally, I would rather be stuck in single leg X than standard X-guard because in the latter, the guard player has control over both of my legs. After pushing the outside leg off, maintain a low, strong base and keep the other leg forward to prevent this transition.
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Another important piece of advice when defending this guard is to be wary of how much you rotate. The greater one rotates here, the greater the amount of heel exposure. When heel hooks are allowed in the ruleset, a lot of heel exposure can be dangerous. In fact, guard player will begin to force the rotation so as to get the heel.