The X Guard: Where to Start
Does X -guard intimidate you? I can recall a mini seminar one of my instructors was giving only a few months after I started training. I saw the advertisement at my academy and immediately I was scared by the term. X-guard. It had to be some alien form of technique where extra hands and legs were required to make it possible. Of course, I attended.
I was pleasantly surprised. Once I understood what x-guard was, and put myself in the position several times, I actually started to love it. It’s just plain fun. As with any position in BJJ there’s been some serious innovation since I was first exposed to the x-guard, but there’s good reason why the x-guard has stood the test of time.
Not sure where to start? There’s a classic sweep from x-guard that I would consider the perfect jumping off point. Don’t give yourself too much to think about. Before you play with entries and transitions, simply lay down on your back, have your partner stand over you, and get into the position. Learn the proper placement of the feet and hands and begin from there.
In this video Stephen Kesting demonstrates the exact technique I’m referring to, and it’s broken down in a way that’s very easy to understand. Give it a look.
After you’ve put some time into this sweep, begin exploring the other sweeps, transitions, and submissions the x-guard has to offer. I think you’ll be surprised at its versatility and ease of use once you get familiar with it’s magic!
PRO TIP: Do not under any circumstances perform this sweep in the presence of Professor Tom DeBlass without the detail of keeping your top hand above the knee. Just trust me.
For more guard instruction, check out Leandro Lo's "Lo Guard and Matrix Passing" insructional available from BJJ Fanatics.