Principles of X-guard
X-guard is one of the best guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. X-guard is predominantly used in sport Jiu Jitsu and is an excellent tool for sweeping opponent’s in competition. Although this guard is not the best for submitting, it has a multitude of benefits and recently we have seen an explosion in popularity of lower body attacks. The X guard is an excellent gateway to attacking the lower body.
X-guard is one of the best guards for controlling your opponent, and sweeping them. Popularized by the great Marcelo Garcia, X –guard has been utilized at the highest levels of competition for years. Many black belt world champions have used this guard to win titles over the years.
As we see a transformation in bjj to attacking the lower body more, with it, we see a whole new system of X guard emerging. The x guard has long been one of the best guards because you are completely underneath your opponent, add leg locks to the equation and things just get better.
X-guard for Control
X-guard gives you unbelievable control over your opponent. Many traditional passes do not work well against the X-guard, so just putting your opponent in the position will throw them off initially. If you have succeeded in putting your opponent in X-guard you can never be complacent. You have the ability to move your opponent forwards, backwards, left, and right. To help you with developing your X-guard, check out our article “fastest way to improve in bjj.”
Once you have succeeded in getting X-guard, you can start to teeter totter your opponent so that you compromise their balance. If you get into X-guard and just sit there, your opponent will have time to think and start passing. Don’t give them time to think and constantly off balance them. Also, pull your hooks apart so that they are stronger and keep your knee’s wide.
Many people that play X-guard tighten their knees and bring them closer together because they think it makes your hooks tight, but you actually want to open your knees and pull the hooks in different directions. Another important element of playing X-guard is to have your opponent’s leg all the way on your shoulder, not on your bicep, and to control their knee.
Perhaps the most important detail of having a good X guard is going to be the fact that you need to move fast. You do not want to get into X guard and say "wow, I'm in X Guard." You want to get into the position and immediately attack a submission and start to move. Check out this entrance to X-guard form half followed by a sweep.
X-guard for Sweeps
X-guard is one of the best guards that you can use to sweep your opponent. Our theory is that if it works at the highest levels of competition, it will work anywhere. Many of the greatest competitors have used X-guard to sweep their opponents. Some of those include Marcelo Garcia, Leandro Lo, Buchecha, and many more. To learn a cool new entrance to X-guard, check out our article “X-guard entrance with Tom Deblass.”
Why is it such a powerful guard for sweeping? It is because of how unorthodox it is you will nullify many of your opponent’s passes just putting them in X-guard. That being said, you need to move fast. Getting into X-guard is like getting 50% of the way through a sweep. There are many sweeps and trips from X-guard that are all high percentage; you just need to hit them fast.
One of the best sweeps from the X-guard is the sit-up sweep. With this sweep, you extend your legs as you come up to your elbow. Then you take your top hook off and come to your hand, after that you do a technical stand up all the while keeping your opponents other leg tight to your shoulder. This is one of the best sweeps from X guard. Another excellent sweep is the X-guard trip. This is very simple; you drop your bottom hook to your opponent’s ankle, and pull your hooks apart. Check out this sweep from X-guard with Marcelo Garcia.
X Guard for Lower Body Attacks
Now that we have seen so many sub only tournaments come about like the fight to win pro, Eddie Bravo Invitational, Polaris and others we have seen people become obsessed with lower body attacks. One of the best positions to engage the lower body attacks from is the X guard. this is because you are completely underneath your opponent and can begin to go for various leg locks like the knee bar, toe hold, ankle lock, and heel hook.
There are even excellent ways into the dreaded reap from the X guard. The X guard works well in conjunction with the single leg x guard or ashi garami. Single leg X or Ashi Garami may be the foundation of all leg locks. It is the most important guard to learn if you want to be able to do lower body attacks successfully. That being said, one of the best ways to get into the single leg X is to get there from the X guard.
The X guard can also offer you a lot of other leg lock entanglement entries like the saddle, the outside ashi, cross ashi, and so much more. Not only is the X guard an excellent position to get into leg entanglements from it is also one of the best ways to avoid getting your legs attacked. When you are in the X guard it is almost impossible for people to attack your legs as long as you do the principles of X Guard like we spoke about above. The rule of thumb to protecting your legs is to have the "inside position." This can be achieved a multitude of ways and one is by playing X guard.
If you want to add some X-guard to your arsenal of attacks and some X-guard passes, check out JT Torres 4 DVD set, “passing, back takes, and more.”