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Is X-Guard For Beginners?
The question of whether or not you should learn a new guard should always just be answered with a simple yes. Anytime you have an opportunity to learn something new take advantage because it will help your overall Jiu-Jitsu. Seems like a no-brainer.
Some people will argue whether or not certain positions are worth learning at the beginning stages of Jiu-Jitsu development. There definitely is some truth to this. A day one student might be better served spending time on closed guard vs. rubber guard. That said, variety is the spice of life. If your goal is to focus on fitness and having fun learning new techniques and strategies by all means. If you are a week out from your first competition, probably focus on your A-game.
When you approach the initial positions in Jiu-Jitsu you will probably come across x-guard. X-gaud can be somewhat difficult to utilize for a newbie because it lacks that total body control feeling that other positions can offer with less effort, for instance closed guard. Foot positioning and stress to your opponent’s base are two crucial factors when starting to practice X-guard. Like most positions it just requires a little knowledge and a lot of effort to implement that knowledge.
Bruno Malfacine is a name you will most likely encounter when studying X-guard. Through a mixture of butterfly guard, back takes, x-guard, and overall savagery Malfacine has become one of the most accomplished names in the art. He has amassed 10 World titles. You read that right, ten times this guy was at the top of the heap on the biggest stage in Jiu-Jitsu.
Here Bruno shares with us a staple of his game, a strong inside trip using the x-guard. He starts off utilizing a butterfly hook and collar grip to elevate his opponents base. This is a very important technique that crosses over into many other strategies used in Jiu-Jitsu. The more you can create space the easier time you will have with the initial leg pummel into x-guard. As we pointed out earlier foot positioning is crucial to creating that controlling feeling needed to be successful with the position.
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Now that we’ve established a strong foundation for our x-guard with feet in strong controlling positioning and our opponents leg trapped to our head with our arm. This can serve as a starting hub for many x-guard techniques. First, Bruno transfers the leg across to the other side of his body. He does this with a strong pant grip to elevate the leg as the other hand swims inside as the leg crosses his midline.
Through action and reaction the sweep becomes available. Once the leg has transferred over the opponent will feel a lot of stress within their base. This will create the movement Malfacine is shooting for allowing him to push his legs away, shifting his partner’s base to the opposite direction. He creates a tipping pressure on his opponent which makes them shift their base in the desired direction.
To finish the sweep Bruno continues the momentum created with his x-guard into the inside trip. He places his inside leg to the back of the opponent’s based leg. As the momentum continues he is able to uproot his partners base with the inside leg. This allows Malfacine to come up into a strong leg drag to complete the sweep/pass combination.
Take time to practice the action/reaction of this technique because otherwise it will feel disjointed. The better you can utilize your opponents reaction the more momentum you can create to finish the sweep.
Malfacine has the accolades and battle tested techniques he has designed specifically with a larger opponent in mind. Act now and manipulate your opponent’s weight and come out on top!