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Single Leg X Guard

Single Leg X Guard

When it comes to playing guard or going for leg locks, one of the best positions to get good at is the single leg x. What is single leg x? For those familiar with x guard, it is a version of that guard, using a leg in a singular manner. For leg lockers, it is almost a standing ashi garami. The position is so useful because it can be used to set up a variety of leg attacks or sweeps to get on top. Another beneficial aspect is that it transcends styles. It can be used in gi or no gi, which is useful. There are some awesome techniques from single leg x. Let’s take a look. We also have another article "Single Leg X Overview" with even more on this position, give it a read when you're finished here. 

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My personal most used attack from single leg x, is the simple standing sweep into ashi garami and finishing with a heel hook. If you play butterfly guard or De La Riva, you can easily transfer to single leg x. Once you go to the position, you can get a secure connection with your inside knee connecting to your outside foot. The inside knee connection will direct your leg out towards our partner’s other leg. You can throw your hips up, and very simply sweep your opponent over. From there, you can finish with whatever leg attack you like, with mine being the outside heel hook. Check out this single leg X entrance and sweep below!

One of the best BJJ and Submission Wrestling competitors ever to step onto the mats, Marcelo Garcia also used the single leg x with much success. Marcelo played a lot of butterfly, which caused his opponent’s always to lift a leg to attack. As they would post a leg, Marcelo would enter into single leg x. If he didn’t get a leg lock, he would use it to sweep on top. He would control his opponent’s hand that was trying to control his neck, pull it aside and sweep him over. Once again, it is a simple, yet very effective technique.

As I mentioned earlier, the single leg x also works in gi. Two of the world’s best gi competitors, Lucas Lepri and Leandro Lo have used hybrid versions of the single leg x to beat many opponents. Lucas Lepri, frequently uses a mix of single leg x and spider guard called the one x-spider to easily sweep over opponents, get on top and play their world class top games. The spider hooks off balance your opponent and control his upper body while your single leg x gives you a secure control of the lower body. Working together, the one x-spider is one of the most effective guards to play to gi, if you like to play off of your back to get on top. Here is a video from the best grappler today, Felipe Pena showing an entry to 50/50 but this same entry can be used for Single leg X.

Single Leg X for Lower Body Attacks

Single leg X has also quickly become one of the most popular guards that we see today due to the prevalence of leg attacks from this position.  The sinlge leg X is also referred to as Ashi Garami.  If you are following bjj these days then you know that submission only tournaments have exploded with popularity recently and as a result, so have leg locks.  We see more leg locks than we have seen before in the past. 

Competitions like Fight To Win Pro, Eddie Bravo Invitational, Polaris, and all of the other submission only events have lead to an evolution in bjj.   Many of us are familiar with the dreaded Danaher Death Squad.  If you are not, it is an elite group of athletes who implement the famous John Danaher Leg Lock system.  Garry Tonon, Gordon Ryan, Eddie Cummings, and Nicky Ryan are just some of the names that this team is comprised of.  All of these athletes have an absolute mastery of the single leg X position.  

The reason they have so much success with lower body attacks is because of how much knowledge they have on the single leg X.  The single leg X is like the closed guard of lower body attacks.  It is the position that everything else is developed from.  You can do ankle locks, heel hooks, estima locks, toe holds, and more.  

If you want to learn how to do leg locks, your starting point should be the ashi garami, AKA Single leg X.  With all of the sweeps we showed you above, you notice that you end up in the perfect position to attack the leg.  Many people try and learn how to finish the leg locks without ever having drilled the single leg X or learning the intricacies of the position. Single leg X is the MOST important guard for leg locks.  

One thing we cannot forget about the single leg X is that it is a GUARD.  Single leg X was utilized by the best grappler ever, Marcelo Garia and he never went for lower body attacks.  He just used this position to control his opponent and sweep them. 

You will see single leg x a lot in competition. It is IBJJF legal, but also used by the best leg lockers in the submission only world. It is the best of both worlds. It is universally legal in pretty much every tournament, yet it also can set up many “banned” techniques such as heel hooks and toe holds. If you’re looking for a controlling and applicable guard, single leg x might be the one for you. The rising Australian superstar, Craig Jones, who submitted Leandro Lo at ADCC 2017 in Finland just released a DVD Set "Down Under Leg Attacks with a lot of attention and techniques on Single Leg X.  It is a great resource and tool to learn single leg x entries, sweeps, and finished from. 

And if you are familiar with leg locks at all than you know the name John Danaher, and unless you are living under a rock, you know that he just released the most anticipated leg lock instructional ever, you can check it out below and work on your single leg X.